"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Fear and Loathing, Where Have Ye Gone?

Congrats to the Pack, in what turned out to be a close game.

But man, watching the Super Bowl tonight in all its crass glory made me pine for ol’ Hunter S. Thompson. Rolling Stone has an excerpt from a piece Thompson once wrote about the big game (the cover is from another Thompson story):

There was a time, about ten years ago, when I could write like Grantland Rice. Not necessarily because I believed all that sporty bullshit, but because sportswriting was the only thing I could do that anybody was willing to pay for. And none of the people I wrote about seemed to give a hoot in hell what kind of lunatic gibberish I wrote about them, just as long as it moved. They wanted Action, Color, Speed, Violence…. At one point, in Florida, I was writing variations on the same demented themes for three competing papers at the same time, under three different names. I was a sports columnist for one paper in the morning, sports editor for another in the afternoon, and at night I worked for a pro wrestling promoter, writing incredibly twisted “press releases” that I would plant, the next day, in both papers.

It was a wonderful gig, in retrospect, and at times I wish I could go back to it — just punch a big hatpin through my frontal lobes and maybe regain that happy lost innocence that enabled me to write, without the slightest twinge of conscience, things like: “The entire Fort Walton Beach police force is gripped in a state of fear this week; all leaves have been canceled and Chief Bloor is said to be drilling his men for an Emergency Alert situation on Friday and Saturday nights — because those are the nights when ‘Kazika, The Mad Jap,’ a 440-pound sadist from the vile slums of Hiroshima, is scheduled to make his first — and no doubt his last — appearance in Fish-head Auditorium. Local wrestling impressario Lionel Olay is known to have spoken privately with Chief Bloor, urging him to have ‘every available officer’ on duty at ringside this weekend, because of the Mad Jap’s legendary temper and his invariably savage reaction to racial insults. Last week, in Detroit, Kazika ran amok and tore the spleens out of three ringside spectators, one of whom allegedly called him a ‘yellow devil.’”

16 comments

1 matt b   ~  Feb 6, 2011 10:16 pm

From that same piece, I love this cynical bit about sportswriters:

"There is a dangerous kind of simple-minded Power/Precision worship at the root of the massive fascination with pro football in this country, and sportswriters are mainly responsible for it. With a few rare exceptions like Bob Lipsyte of The New York Times and Tom Quinn of the (now-defunct) Washington Daily News, sportswriters are a kind of rude and brainless subculture of fascist drunks whose only real function is to publicize & sell whatever the sports editor sends them out to cover....

Which is a nice way to make a living, because it keeps a man busy and requires no thought at all. The two keys to success as a sportswriter are: 1) A blind willingness to believe anything you're told by the coaches, flacks, hustlers and other "official spokesmen" for the team-owners who provide the free booze ... and: 2) A Roget's Thesaurus, in order to avoid using the same verbs and adjectives twice in the same paragraph."

2 matt b   ~  Feb 6, 2011 10:19 pm

Odd that I logged in as matt b. and not Matt Blankman - but whatever. Also, don't you think Diane would love to get her hands on that Burroughs/Bowie piece?

3 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 6, 2011 10:51 pm

2) A Roget’s Thesaurus, in order to avoid using the same verbs and adjectives twice in the same paragraph.”

Classic.

4 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 6, 2011 10:54 pm

[1] Love that passage... captures much of how I feel about the NFL's alleged popularity.

5 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 6, 2011 10:57 pm

[1] (tsk) That's what I've been saying for the longest! Well, no, but I agree.

[2] Maybe a little more than wanting to spell zyzzyva on a triple word score on the last round in Dallas, maybe not... >;)

6 Matt Blankman   ~  Feb 6, 2011 11:04 pm

Thoughts on Dr. Thompson from Tom Wolfe. Nice piece:

http://www.skypilotclub.com/gonzo.html

7 thelarmis   ~  Feb 6, 2011 11:17 pm

Just Fair - sorry, bro.

LET'S GO YAN-KEES!! !!!

(man, it feels good to type that again...)

8 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 7, 2011 12:04 am

[7] Eight daze to itchers and scratchers...

9 thelarmis   ~  Feb 7, 2011 12:15 am

[8] ewers & molinas!

10 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 7, 2011 12:34 am

[9] beibers and beanballs!

11 thelarmis   ~  Feb 7, 2011 12:42 am

chutes & ladders!

(wait...that doesn't make any sense.)

12 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 7, 2011 12:55 am

[11] It doesn't have to, baseball's coming 'round the mountain!

13 RIYank   ~  Feb 7, 2011 7:27 am

Nobody has commented on Christina Aguilera's garbling of the words to "The Star Spangled Banner".

Here's a suitably somber report. (The columnist pretty clearly doesn't know what the words of the song mean.)

14 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 7, 2011 9:45 am

[13] I am sure most people don't know the words or their meaning.

Also, in defense of Aguilera, of whom I am not a fan, I think he misuse of the word "watched" (instead of hailed) early in the song caused her to skip the ramparts line, which does include "watched".

15 RIYank   ~  Feb 7, 2011 9:48 am

I think most people know the words, but almost nobody understands the syntax. It's impenetrable.
Still, one might hope that a commentator would bother to find out what 'ramparts' means, if she didn't already know.

16 The Mick536   ~  Feb 7, 2011 10:50 am

I am in the Lea Michele category. What a stupid mess she made of that song. I thought it was over when it wasn't over. Who sold her that melody and intonation? It must have been the same people who did the Dorito commercials, which, though I am not homophobic, would have been more appropriate, in my case, if the consumer of the chips had been either of the singers and if they promoted Victoria's not so secret, secret.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver