BOOK REVIEW- Originally written in December 2007
Hey Rube, Hunter S. Thompson, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2005
Make no mistake the late, lamented Hunter Thompson was always something of a muse for me going way back to the early 1970's when I first read his seminal work on California outlaw bikers, The Hell's Angels. Since then I have devoured, and re-devoured virtually everything that he has written. However the present book leaves me cold. This is a case where `greed' (on whose part I do not know, although the proliferating pile of remembrances of Thompson may give a hint) got the better of literary wisdom. This compilation of articles started life as commentary on the ESPN.com, part of the cable sports network. And perhaps that is where the project should have ended. Hey, this stuff has a half-life in cyberspace so not all would have been lost.
So what is the basis for my objection? Part of Hunter's attraction always has been a fine sense of the hypocrisy of American politics. Although we marched to different drummers politically I have always appreciated his ability to skewer the latest political heavyweight-in-chief, friend or foe. That is missing here although he does get a few whacks in on the current child-president George W. Bush. But this is not enough. What this screed is really about is the whys and wherefores of his life long addiction to sports betting and particularly professional football, the NLF.
A run through the ups and downs of Thompson's previous seasons' (2000-2003) gambling wins and loses, however, does not date well. Hell, I can barely remember last week's bets. But the real problem is that, as in politics, we listen to different drummers. I am a long time fan of `pristine and pure' big time college football and would not sully my hands to bet on the NFL so his whining about the San Francisco 49'ers or the Denver Broncos is so much hot air. However, I will take Ohio State and 3 points against LSU in the 2007 college championship game. That's the ticket. I miss Hunter and his wild and wacky writing that made me laugh many a time when I was down and needed a boost but not here. Enough said.
Postscript: May 15, 2008. Needless to say there is a strong difference between my uncanny powers of political prognosis and the rather mundane ability to pick college football champions. Obviously, only a fool would have bet on the Buckeyes of Ohio State against a real SEC team like those Cajun boys from LSU. Right?