Hunter S. Thompson: The Father of Fake News, Part 6James J. O'Meara
6. Gonzo: Paleocon, Neocon, or Just Con?
I had just begun to doubt some of my strongest convictions when I stumbled upon [Colin Wilson’s The Outsider]. But rather than being wrong, I think that I just don’t express my rightness correctly. — Hunter S. Thompson
As always dealing with these cultural icons, I feel the need to determine — as a service to you, the Counter-Currents Reader — when the subject can be construed belonging to our own, alternative cultural lineage. Was he, then, “one of us”?
Among his literary influences, Hemingway of course was a pinko, while the jury seems to still be out on Fitzgerald. Thompson’s lodestone, The Great Gatsby, is now notorious for its Jewish gangster, Meyer Wolfsheim, while Wolfsheim’s Swastika Trading Company reflects an innocent pre-Nazi use of the symbol, even by Jews, and villain Tom Buchanan (exactly the sort of social toff Thompson hated) “endorses the book The Rise of the Colored Empires by a cross between Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard.” More recently, Douglas Mercer has reviewed the evidence and concluded that Fitzgerald was Based rather than Woke:
So was F. Scott Fitzgerald a “racist”?
Another way of putting that is: Was F. Scott Fitzgerald a good old-fashioned American interested in preserving the old America, in preserving European Civilization, and preserving the European peoples? Was he fully in favor of White ethnic self-defense against the rabid onslaught of the rising tide of color? With regard to the world of color, did he think that we had to, in the words of one of the book’s characters, “beat them down”?
You bet he did, and you bet he was.
I suppose in the process of all that retyping and daydreaming he may have assimilated some of Fitzgerald’s sentiments, as he despised the rich in general and the local gentry of Louisville and Aspen in particular, and shared Fitzgerald’s Ivy League fetish; perhaps most importantly, they shared the sense of nostalgia for what Mercer calls “the old America,” as seen in Fitzgerald’s “Green Light” and Thompson’s “Wave” passages.
Perhaps due to his pre-Boomer status — PC not having stripped the library shelves and college reading lists — there are a surprising number of then-contemporary, even bestselling, Rightist figures who crop up in Thompson’s literary discoveries.
In high school, Thompson, like many a loner, read The Fountainhead, which “helped shape his interest in the notion of individuality as superior to collectivism.” While in the Air Force, he read Colin Wilson’s The Outsider, which — not surprisingly — provoked a sense of recognition. He even recommended it to his mother, so that “after reading that book, you may come closer to understanding just what lies ahead for your Hunter-named son.” According to Rory Patrick Feehan,
[The Outsider] really was the key influence . . . because it allowed him to kind of see how this persona, this type of figure, this type of character, kind of transcended all popular forms of creative expression. It’s a part of our mythology and it resonated with Hunter and he saw “Well, maybe there’s a way into literature here where I can actually write about myself or even create myself in that mold.”
Speaking of characters, another contemporary bestseller (but of the “underground” type) would have more influence on Thompson’s writing and, more deplorably, his character: J. P. Donleavy’s The Ginger Man.
The book is a kind of updated and dumbed-down Ulysses, with everything except the “good parts” (i.e., the supposed dirty stuff) left out; rather than the mopey poet Stephen Daedalus, the central character, Sebastian Dangerfield, is an Irish-American using a fellowship at Trinity College and a rich wife to finance a life of violent debauchery. Wills succinctly describes Dangerfield thus: “His actions throughout the book are utterly deplorable as he lies habitually and ruins people’s lives.” Like Ulysses, though, all this is rendered in a “high-brow” style:
The novel is also bizarre in how it is written. Donleavy frequently alternates between first- and third-person narrative perspective, sometimes changing twice within a single paragraph. Half of the sentences in the book lack a subject and many lack a verb, leaving fragments of ideas that function instead as a chaotic collage, where nothing is certain.
Moreover, the “sudden, unexpected violence” of the story “is intended to be shocking to the point of humor, much like Thompson’s later work,” or indeed, like his life, early or late.
Already in his first, unfinished novel, Prince Jellyfish, Thompson began to emulate Donleavy’s style: “I’m using the narrator-participant technique — à la Gatsby,” he wrote at the time, but to Wills “it sounds more like The Ginger Man.” For one thing, “the protagonist is very similar to Sebastian Dangerfield in as much as he is a drunk and a liar.” Stylistically, “Just like Donleavy, he occasionally dropped the subject of a sentence and put the verb into its present participle form.” Thompson also “liked to double down on his images, layering detail upon detail like Donleavy,” and the book also “features some typical Hunter Thompson language, like ‘lousy bastard’ and ‘pervert’ and ‘crazy.’”
Wills later gives an extended analysis of Thompson’s use of these techniques in the first Gonzo article, “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved.” In this single article, “there are five instances of Thompson simply wandering off into imagined scenes,” such as when Thompson tells Steadman what’s about to happen in the clubhouse:
Thousands of raving, stumbling drunks, getting angrier and angrier as they lose more and more money. By midafternoon they’ll be guzzling mint juleps with both hands and vomiting on each other between races. The whole place will be jammed with bodies, shoulder to shoulder. It’s hard to move around. The aisles will be slick with vomit; people falling down and grabbing at your legs to keep from being stomped. Drunks pissing on themselves in the betting lines. Dropping handfuls of money and fighting to stoop over and pick it up.
Wills demonstrates how Thompson uses Donleavy’s techniques here to modulate from reality to fantasy:
It starts subtly and the reader is drawn into the fantasy and left slightly disorientated, eventually realizing that this is satire rather than a faithful account of real events. He carefully uses verb tenses to switch between present and imagined future, employing the present participle, sometimes without a subject, like Donleavy had done in The Ginger Man, to merge the real and the imagined. We can assume the first sentence is intended as a bridge between what is happening and what could happen, with the use of the future continuous and then future simple tenses following as the author includes more fantasy. This switches to subject and present participle and then by the final line the subject is gone. This is intended to convey a sense of disorientation, mimicking the inebriation of the crowd . . . It functions as comedy but also highlights in an effective way the propensity for sloppy drunkenness within these people.
Less happy is the effect on Thompson himself. In true sociopathic fashion, he took Dangerfield not as a comic buffoon but as a role model; “he looked to Sebastian Dangerfield as a sort of hero”:
Dangerfield was the ultimate rebel — a mixture of Howard Roark and Holden Caulfield, but amped up to another level entirely. His actions throughout the story are utterly abhorrent and indefensible, yet somehow Thompson saw this as a sign of his independence and an admirable, steadfast refusal to bow to social conventions.
Thompson quoted and talked about The Ginger Man obsessively throughout his time in New York, emphasizing the parts that highlighted Dangerfield’s resistance to being domesticated and forced to go against his natural instincts. . . . This was permission for Thompson to pursue characters who were unrepentant losers, totally lost in their own intoxication and eager to lead their lives on their terms even if it meant seriously hurting others. Yet, oddly enough, in both Donleavy’s and Thompson’s books, this would work as a form of brutal humor rather than tragedy.
Maybe there was some reason, other than being prudish and “not with it, man” to ban books like The Ginger Man.
Considering his enthusiasm for The Outsider as well as The Ginger Man, it’s interesting to reflect on Wilson’s disdain for the latter, despite having a personal liking for the author; having struck up a friendship with Dunleavy, Wilson
determined to make another attempt to read The Ginger Man, which I had bought in Paris. My first attempt had stalled at the scene where Dangerfield punches his wife in the face and tries to suffocate the baby, which I found as upsetting as Jimmy Porter’s beastliness to his wife in Look Back in Anger — in fact, more so since Jimmy Porter never actually hits her.
There was another problem with The Ginger Man. Much of it is clearly unrealistic. No man could really sit on a train unaware that his penis is dangling out.
No sensible person can read The Ginger Man without feeling that he is trying to make a virtue of behaving like a spoilt child. To actually live like that would be to invite disaster.
It’s really all there: the personal brutishness, the fake reporting and fantasies, and above all the determination to live like a spoiled child, and the ensuing “disaster.”
Wills notes other more transient influences of a more or less Rightist flavor:
Thompson credited Kerouac as being a pioneer of “personal journalism,” something he would pursue himself a little later. By this, he meant the innovation of throwing oneself into a story and recording it in a book that lay somewhere between fact and fiction, essentially allowing the author to improvise upon reality.
Thompson would look to George Orwell’s first book as inspiration for what he called “another down-and-out assignment.”
The punctuation tells us that [the opening of Hell’s Angels] was meant to be read aloud as it guides the breath rather than being used in any true grammatical sense, with the ellipses demarcating a shift in image as well as a pause in breath — much like Louis-Ferdinand Céline in Death on the Installment Plan.
Like John Dos Passos, whom he admired and studied as a young man, Thompson litters the first half of [Hell’s Angels] with quotations and excerpts from documents.
Joseph Conrad was another of Thompson’s “great literary heroes,” and when Thompson tried to find an epitaph for Hell’s Angels he couldn’t find anything more appropriate than Kurtz’s last line in Heart of Darkness: “The horror! The horror! . . . Exterminate the brutes!” Wills later notes that this “odd combination of exclamation marks and ellipses is something Conrad used extensively in The Nigger of the Narcissus.” Thompson has a character in The Rum Diary read the story to get inspired to write, but finds the preface so discouraging that “he abandoned all hope of ever being anything but a failure,” due to what Wills calls Conrad’s “impossibly high standards.” This also links him to Fitzgerald, who had the same experience.
While living in Glen Ellen, California (which he describes as “the Brazil of America”), Thompson writes a scathing account of a local tavern famed (falsely, he finds) as a favorite hangout of Jack London, a writer “on whose books he had been raised.”
The name “Lovecraft” doesn’t appear in Wills’ book, and I myself don’t know of any time when Thompson mentions the name or alludes to his tales. Yet, I think that what Wills does say shows a remarkable congruence, at least, between the two men, worthy of its own excursus:
Excursus on Lovecraft
Of all the Rightist figures Thompson could be compared with, the most striking is, oddly enough, H. P. Lovecraft. Both men, scions of the shabby gentility of the North and South respectively, became downwardly mobile when they lost their fathers at an early age, yet stubbornly retained a “gentleman’s” attitude to writing for pay, saying (in a job search letter!) that he’d “rather starve to death” (as indeed, Lovecraft himself could be said to have done). Both men published their own newspapers as a teenager — Lovecraft would continue to engage in “amateur journalism” for years — and both would miss out on an Ivy League education, which would rankle both for the rest of their lives.
Even as a teenager, Thompson’s “mind conjured up things that were so weird that they either shocked you into silence or sent you into raptures of laughter”: a pretty good summary of Lovecraft’s effect on the reader.
As for the writing itself, Constant Readers will recall how I have frequently emphasized how Lovecraft’s “cosmic horror” depended on minute, even obsessive attention to detail and scientific accuracy, against which horror became strangely more believable; Thompson’s wild flights of fancy took the same form:
“If I’m going to go into the fantastic, I have to have a firm grounding in the truth.”
Thompson knew that verisimilitude was a function of details; when helping a young writer edit his Playboy interview, he told him “not to mention that the price of his beer was twenty-five cents, but to change it to twenty-four cents. It was the sort of fine detail that made an image more real.”
Both men mastered existing magazine genres — journalism and weird tales — and created entirely new genres — Gonzo and cosmic horror — that were so unique that they are, as Wills says of Gonzo, essentially “one-man genres”; no one else is more than an imitator.
Both genres worked best in relatively short pieces — articles, “tales” — or, but more negatively, neither was capable of writing a novel-length work (although Lovecraft’s efforts were the more successful of the two). In both cases the main hindrance was an inability to create real characters; in lieu of that, both developed the habit of creating personae, doppelgängers, who were merely stand-ins for the author himself. Another device was the use of authoritative sources that were actually fictional — in Lovecraft’s case, most famously the apocryphal grimoire, The Necronomicon — and the use of an initially trustworthy narrator who gradually becomes unreliable: or is he?
Above all, both authors spent long apprenticeships taking on the personae of various favored authors, while struggling to find their own voices; as Lovecraft lamented, in a letter from 1929 Lovecraft laments: “There are my ‘Poe’ pieces & my ‘Dunsany’ pieces — but alas — where are my Lovecraft pieces?”
In this spirit, the theme of becoming what you investigate would become a Thompson trope, as with Lovecraft — see the denouements of The Shadow Over Innsmouth or “Pickman’s Model.” Indeed, the ending of Lovecraft’s first “Lovecraft piece,” “The Outsider”:
. . . I became suddenly and agonisingly aware of the nearness of the carrion thing, whose hideous hollow breathing I half fancied I could hear. Nearly mad, I found myself yet able to throw out a hand to ward off the foetid apparition which pressed so close; when in one cataclysmic second of cosmic nightmarishness and hellish accident my fingers touched the rotting outstretched paw of the monster beneath the golden arch.
For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men. This I have known ever since I stretched out my fingers to the abomination within that great gilded frame; stretched out my fingers and touched a cold and unyielding surface of polished glass.
. . . could almost be a template for the famous climax of the first piece of Gonzo, “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved”:
I barely heard him. My eyes had finally opened enough for me to focus on the mirror across the room and I was stunned at the shock of recognition. For a confused instant I thought that Ralph had brought somebody with him — a model for that one special face we’d been looking for. There he was, by God — a puffy, drink-ravaged, disease-ridden caricature . . . like an awful cartoon version of an old snapshot in some once-proud mother’s family photo album. It was the face we’d been looking for — and it was, of course, my own. Horrible, horrible . . . 
Wills enables us to drill down a bit deeper: Both men loved adjectives, with Thompson “stuffing at many adjectives and adverbs into a sentence as possible,” often “doubling up” on them and “bringing concrete details to passages by replacing nouns and adding adjectives, resulting in phrases like ‘berserk sleaziness,’ that have a peculiarly Gonzo feel”:
Hemingway was careful to leave ideas unsaid and avoided the overuse of adjectives, while Thompson took the exact opposite approach.
In this paragraph, we can see Thompson’s use of long sentences, punctuated with em dashes, layering image upon image by prefacing most nouns with at least one strong adjective in order to make his point, creating an eruption of ideas that bombards the reader.
And a penchant for bizarre, outré vocabulary that was easily parodied but never used as effectively. As Thompson said about himself, “I’m a word freak. I like words”:
This structure (ADJECTIVE + AND + ADJECTIVE + NOUN) was another of his quirks, and often the first of those words was “strange,” just like the subtitle for his first book, “A Strange and Terrible Saga.” [Arguably, almost every Lovecraft tale could bear that subtitle] This was another allusion to Fitzgerald, who included the phrase “strange and terrible” twice in his 1922 novel, The Beautiful and Damned, and it became a feature of Thompson’s writing that was often imitated and parodied.
Wills keeps track of “words that would become hallmarks of his writing,” such as “king-hell,” “hellbroth,” and “geek”; “atavistic,” “swinish,” “doomed,” and of course the phrase “fear and loathing.” In a single article he has “cheap,” “greed,” “thieves,” “hustlers,” “quacks,” and “gimp mentalities.” He also likes to take two words and jam them together, such as “swineherds,” or into an ugly, offensive new term like “greedhead.”
Eventually, it would harden into an empty habit, even self-parody, just as the same has been said of Lovecraft:
His propensity for reusing words and ideas made his writing quite repetitive, especially in collected editions of his work.
By this point, the music was long gone from his once lyrical language. There is little sense of rhythm and often there are careless repetitions, with certain words appearing far too often, even in the same sentence.
He began by capitalizing very important words but by the end of his career he was capitalizing totally at random.
Perhaps even more remarkable is that both men were not only voluminous but immensely talented letter-writers, which “often seemed like trial runs at longer pieces of writing.” Like Lovecraft (“Grandpa Cthulhu”), Thompson “had always sent letters to friends boasting about his weird habits or shocking behavior [and had] frequently written about his unconventional appearance, actions and attitude.”
As for their enduring value, Wills calls his letters — where “he concentrated his full literary powers on writing witty, sarcastic, or angry diatribes that were in turns clever and shocking” –“as fine as any in the English language,” and Thompson himself realized “that people would rather read my letters than my work”; in the same way that the leading Lovecraft scholar and editor, S. T. Joshi, has speculated that Lovecraft’s place in literature may be secured less by his tales than the collected volumes of his enormous correspondence.
Sam Francis even seems to have anticipated some of these resemblances, without mentioning Thompson at all; consider this reflection on Lovecraft’s weaknesses:
Moreover, throughout his tales character development is weak: indeed, there are precious few characters at all. The protagonists of his stories are usually thinly disguised doppelgangers of Lovecraft himself, [as we’ve seen, Thompson was notoriously unable to develop real characters, and eventually developed the technique of creating personae to insert into his stories], scholarly bachelors of good family but dim prospects [like Thompson] who encounter events and beings that defy natural explanation and which usually end in the horrible, dreadful, frightening, gruesome, mind-chilling death or dismemberment of the protagonist or other characters, or at least in their insanity [as in the typical Thompson narrative]. There are virtually no female characters, little story development (Lovecraft’s plot devices often consist of diaries, letters, and various documents from which a narrative is reconstructed) [Again, a pretty close description of the way Thompson would construct a Gonzo narrative from notes, tapes, newspaper headlines, etc., often creating a false sense of verisimilitude].
* * *
Ultimately, the “one of us” aspect of Thompson’s writing lies with Nostalgia: “his prose was usually infused with a slight air of nostalgia, with allusions to a paradisiacal, possibly mythical past.” Already, as a journeyman journalist in 1963, he had “a signature style”:
The theme running through much of his work is the loss of values or of innocence, as the past is invariably contrasted with the fast-paced, mechanized modern world. As one of his editors later remarked, “All his writing was about the loss of some mythic world that he may once have inhabited.”
Ironically, even “Dr. Slow,” an article supposedly about a cross-country train trip that was largely faked and might very well have been plagiarized in parts, which resulted in the severing of his relations with The National Observer, was nevertheless “the prototype of a Hunter S. Thompson story,” being “part mad-dog screed at the foibles of modern life,” as Thompson “bemoans the fact that everything has changed since the days of The Great Gatsby.”
Like Harry Smith, Bob Dylan, and the hippies, he thought something important had been lost back there, before the transition from the Old Weird America to the postwar empire and thence to GloboHomo, a land as foreign to today’s SJWs, NPCs, and SWPLs as it is to neocons, Conservative Inc., and Europeans big brains from Evola to Dugin.
Like the National Socialists, or pre-war Americans like Theodore Roosevelt or Madison Grant, Thompson’s nostalgia was not merely a sentiment but took concrete form in a concern for the environment: “a major area of concern in Thompson’s life, was that of land development or human abuse of natural landscapes.”
In that early piece on the fake Jack London tavern, Thompson “was not exactly enamored of the area, calling Glen Ellen ‘the Brazil of America,’” yet he decries how “busloads of tourists that come to see how weird it is are destroying the area”:
This was fast becoming one of the main themes in his writing. As with so many of Thompson’s articles, this is about the changing of the times and contains a slight lament for what the world has become.
Indeed, the most “conservative” aspect of Thompson, the man, was his deep attachment to his home in Woody Creek, Colorado (inevitably described on dust jackets as a “fortress” or “armed compound”) and his attempts, from letters to the local papers (mostly signed “Martin Bormann”) to running for local Sheriff, to save it from the predations of outsiders — mostly rapacious developers — and preserve it as a “retreat from a fast-moving world.”
That he ran for Sheriff on the “Freak Power” ticket was largely another attempt to shock and outrage the Establishment — meaning the newcomers and greedy locals — but he did, perhaps naïvely, think the hippies were at least trying to look beyond the present system that was, indeed, part of the problem; sentiments shared by the Dissident Right today.
Thompson was vehemently anti-Republican, but at the same time he was far from being a Democrat. Ever since 1968, he had hoped the Democratic Party would tear itself apart and that out of its ashes new parties would form, returning America to its Jeffersonian roots rather than a crooked duopoly.
This once again links him back to Fitzgerald, as Mercer notes that Fitzgerald also lamented the loss of the Old America:
But that perfect Anglo world, that nation of villages, was the perfect creation of Thomas Jefferson. He warned that once wealth and people were concentrated in the big city then the country, the homeland, was dead. Cosmopolitanism was a trap, a descent into Hell.
He was correct.
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 See John Morgan, “A Heroic Vision for Our Time: The Life and Ideas of Colin Wilson”; Sir Oswald Mosley, “Colin Wilson’s The Outsider”; and Jonathan Bowden, “Bill Hopkins and the Angry Young Men”, as well as my own “Neville & the Rebel: Reflections on Colin Wilson & Neville Goddard,” reprinted in my Mysticism After Modernism: Crowley, Evola, Neville, Watts, Colin Wilson, and Other Populist Gurus (olac, Victoria, Australia: Manticore Press, 2020).
 One would think this was because of the violence and obscenity, but apparently it was all a misunderstanding. “Donleavy’s friend and fellow writer Brendan Behan . . . told Donleavy about Olympia Press, a Paris-based English-language publisher that had produced works by Samuel Beckett, and Donleavy succeeded in getting the book published by them, but was angered when he discovered that it had done so under its pornography imprint. In his 1994 autobiography The History of the Ginger Man, Donleavy wrote, “I smashed my fist upon its green cover format, published as it was in the pseudonymous and pornographic Traveller’s Companion Series, and I declared aloud, ‘If it’s the last thing I ever do, I will avenge this book.'” Nevertheless, “The Ginger Man has sold 45 million copies worldwide and has never been out of print. It was named one of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century by the Modern Library in 1998. The book was reprinted in 2001, and republished on 29 July 2010 by Grove Press.”
 “There is also his reference [at the end of the article] to “the journalist.” This is something Hemingway used but the switch in perspective from first to third is something Donleavy did constantly throughout The Ginger Man. Perhaps this was a subtle reference to two of his great influences.”
 Another archetypal American sociopath: “A toast, Jedediah, to love on my terms. Those are the only terms anybody ever knows: his own.” — Orson Welles, Citizen Kane. Didn’t Kane, like Hearst, dabble in fake news as well? “You provide the prose poems, I’ll provide the war.” And of course, “Fraud at Polls: Kane Loses.”
 Curiously, Dunleavy himself seems to have done all right for himself (dying at 91 in 2017); he may be one of those Pied Pipers who leads others to disaster while having a high old time himself: mad, bad, and dangerous [to read]. Personally, I always found him unreadable (so I escaped disaster), though the pretend-guide The Unexpurgated Code: A Complete Manual of Survival and Manners (Dell, 1975) has a few amusing moments, if you can “decode” its preciously idiosyncratic syntax. But The Ginger Man I found and continue to find loathsome, making me feel rather embarrassed to be an Irish-American.
 For Kerouac as a Rightist, see Jack Kerouac and the Decline of the West by “Semmelweis” (Rogue Scholars, 2020), which “shows the ignored, reactionary side of Kerouac. Kerouac the patriot, Kerouac the devout Catholic, Kerouac the anti-communist and despiser of the 1960s counter-culture that claimed him, against his will, as an inspiration.”
 I’ll count this as a reference to John Milius as well, screenwriter of Apocalypse Now, as well as such Hollywood Right films as The Wind and the Lion, Conan the Barbarian, and Red Dawn.
 For more Rightist views of the book, see Raymond E. Midge, “White Fragility & Joseph Conrad’s The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’”. Wills deplores Thompson’s use of the word and details some battles over its use in stories, back when it could appear at all; on the other hand, he fearlessly allows the title to appear in his own book, without any pearl-clutching of his own. Thompson, characteristically, defended himself thus: “I’m what they called a ‘multi-bigot.’ . . . A unibigot is a racist. A multibigot is just a prick.”
 Wills does note that E. A. Poe was “one of Thompson’s favorites.”
 Sam Francis described Lovecraft’s “bizarre . . . personal philosophical and political beliefs — he was at once a militant atheist and a ‘mechanistic materialist’ as well as an extreme reactionary and racialist, if not an outright Nazi, who ardently admired Franklin Roosevelt as well as Hitler and Mussolini.” I would note that while many “conservatives” denounced FDR as another Hitler or Mussolini, Lovecraft admired him precisely as such. The title of Francis’ review of S. T. Joshi’s H. P. Lovecraft: A Life and Lovecraft’s Miscellaneous Writings, “At the Heart of Darkness,” nicely brings together Lovecraft and Conrad; he senses “a strong parallel between Lovecraft’s cosmology and that of Joseph Conrad.”
 “Despite later claims about writing purely for money, he was usually unwilling to do work that he considered beneath him, regardless of pay.”
 Either from poverty, an overly delicate palate, or a strange delight in devising menus that would provide food for as little expense as possible, Lovecraft ‘s bizarre dietary habits must have contributed to his death from cancer of the lower intestine, age 48. You can experience the Lovecraft Diet here: “Lovecraft spent the majority of his life at or below the poverty line, so the Lovecraft Diet Challenge requires you to forgo lunch in order to save money and experience a little bit of the hunger pains that HPL undoubtedly had for much of his life. . . . And even though the namesake died of stomach cancer, you really have nothing to worry about.”
 See, for example, the essays collected in The Eldritch Evola . . . & Others: Traditionalist Meditations on Literature, Art, & Culture; ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2014).
 Possibly another trick learned from Donleavy: as Dangerfield imagines that reading an American business magazine makes him feel “like I’m making sixty three thousand big bucks a year,” the author apparently intrudes this aside: “Odd three thousand makes it more authentic.” Or as Thompson says about his Golfing Douchebag, it “smacks of authenticity.”
 Some might suggest Thomas Ligotti as the first to perhaps equal Lovecraft in the genre; see Christopher Pankhurst’s “True Detective & The Conspiracy Against the Human Race.”
 H. P. Lovecraft, Selected Letters, 1925-1929, ed. by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei (Sauk City, Wisc.: Arkham House, 1968), II, p. 315. Discussing Thompson’s first failed novel, Prince Jellyfish, Wills concludes that “It has elements of the different writers Thompson was reading at the time but what is missing is his own voice, and Thompson was well aware of that.”
 Thompson provides Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with this epigraph from Dr. Johnson: “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”
 An echo of Kurtz’s “The horror . . . the horror!”? As the piece winds to a close: “’Shit,’ I said. ‘We both look worse than anything you’ve drawn here.’ He smiled. ‘You know — I’ve been thinking about that,’ he said. ‘We came down here to see this teddible scene: people all pissed out of their minds and vomiting on themselves and all that . . . and now, you know what? It’s us . . .’”
 Greil Marcus, The Old Weird America (Picador, 2011; published in 1997 as Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes. Marcus describes the white and Negro performers whose work Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Music preserves as “cut off by cataclysms of the Great Depression and the Second World War and by a national narrative that had never included their kind, they appeared now like visitors from another world, like passengers on a ship that had drifted into the sea of the unwritten.”
 For the National Socialist perspective, see R. Walter Darré’s A New Nobility of Blood and Soil (Quakertown, Pa.: Antelope Hill, 2021). The Introduction by Warren Balogh references an interesting example of Thompsonesque “fake news” from 1940: a supposed “secret speech” by Darré which the editors explain thus: “Even if it was not delivered exactly as recorded, here, it might have been.” (op. cit., p.xix)
 A proto-Dissident Right trope that would be enough to get him cancelled today.
 The Old Weird America.
 A more traditional “conservative” might rather agree with Thompson’s first target, Mayor Guido Meyer, that the real problem was the damn dirty hippies. Amusingly, Wills notes that when Thompson had local pro-hippie lawyer Edwards run against Meyer, Edwards lost by six votes, but would have won “if all the absentee ballot papers had gone out on time.” In another modern touch, Thompson, when it looked as if he might actually be elected Sheriff, “planned to act as a ‘sociologist-type ombudsman’ and then hire an experienced person to take up the traditional duties of Sheriff,” a more sensible proposal than the “defund the police and hire social workers” approach of the Soros-funded district attorneys today. Describing his campaign in his first article for Rolling Stone, “The Battle of Aspen,” he says he would disarm the police, but they would be allowed to use “high power explosives and trained wolverines.”
 Mark Frauenfelder, “The Proto-Hippy Nature-Boys of Southern California”: “Hippies can be traced back to a late 19th century German naturmenschen countercultural movement that embraced nudity, paganism, and natural foods. Gordon Kennedy wrote a good photo-filled book about the movement called Children of the Sun.”