Ralph Steadman – The Whole World’s Watching

From RalphSteadman.com :

I wrote to my soul sister, Anita Thompson recently: From over here the stakes look weird and unexpected.  Many wanted Hillary and it looks like, in the most perverse way, that Palin woman could win for McCain- in spite of 8 years of the most hideous presidency in living memory- a stumbling economy and a divisive Foreign Policy for the dumbest and the silliest. I wouldn’t have known two weeks ago that you could get to here from there.  It is almost like a conjuror’s Illusion and you look twice to see how the transformation took place. Beware the fickle!   It’s as though party strategists have kept Palin’s ass cool on some floating iceberg up there in Alaska and produced her like a rabbit out of  a hat. That’s entertainment and that is exactly the knack she has. It’s a trick but it’s a neat one. And incidentally, has anyone noticed that PALIN is an anagram. LAPIN is the french word for rabbit.

Speaking as a bloke- albeit a Welsh one!  I don’t find it hard to imagine armies of heavy-breathing guys from Maine down to Alabama and west across to Sacramento, ogling, guffawing, letching and already shifting their earlier resolve to get the Republicans out once and for all and instead saying the Hell with it. That’s for me and you can bring the old ‘un along too.  He’s got a couple of years left in him and he can teach her as they go. Politics goes straight out the window- or maybe that IS the new politics. Politics and Sex!   Sex as Patriotism.  American flag as Bikini. The riots in Chicago in 1968 were, I guess, the first inkling in modern times, to the fatuous  lie called ‘the American Dream’, realised only as Vietnam transformed some Americans from Isolationist do-gooders into thinking protesters.  Just a few thoughts as I watch this Capitol Hill Circus regroup and change the shape of what was, up to last weekend, a ruinous Hurricane. There are still over 50 days to go so even more alarming things can happen. I am so sorry that Hillary and Barack wasted so much time and energy on egos.

Surely, it is enough damning evidence to know that while Sarah Palin was Mayor of a town called Wassila, Alaska, she tried to get the local Librarian to remove certain books from the shelves, including The Origin of Species. This is damning dumbness rearing its head as glamour. Courage is toting a gun and invoking God as some patron saint of compassion for the chosen few. God is a private and personal matter and we should be allowed to imagine him, it or her, or not,  in whichever way we choose. God as nature is a mean sonofabitch and all are witness to some of the worst examples of its power and have been victims to it since a life supporting atmosphere allowed organisms to crawl around and feel at home. And man evolved and learned from this meanness and ‘humanity’ was born.  In my book, ‘THE BIG I AM’ I imagine a scenario and course of events to ‘explain’ how it all came about.  But that had to be entertainment just as politics has always been.  Now I am lost and hold no compelling convictions.  America is lost too, but this election is making a theatrical stab at something while carrying along in its baggage some of the worst, most reactionary bullshit from its blinkered past, into this new century.

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Hunter S. Thompson on 9/11

It was just after dawn in Woody Creek, Colo., when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City on Tuesday morning, and as usual I was writing about sports. But not for long. Football suddenly seemed irrelevant, compared to the scenes of destruction and utter devastation coming out of New York on TV.

Even ESPN was broadcasting war news. It was the worst disaster in the history of the United States, including Pearl Harbor, the San Francisco earthquake and probably the Battle of Antietam in 1862, when 23,000 were slaughtered in one day.

The Battle of the World Trade Center lasted about 99 minutes and cost 20,000 lives in two hours (according to unofficial estimates as of midnight Tuesday). The final numbers, including those from the supposedly impregnable Pentagon, across the Potomac River from Washington, likely will be higher. Anything that kills 300 trained firefighters in two hours is a world-class disaster.

And it was not even Bombs that caused this massive damage. No nuclear missiles were launched from any foreign soil, no enemy bombers flew over New York and Washington to rain death on innocent Americans. No. It was four commercial jetliners.

They were the first flights of the day from American and United Airlines, piloted by skilled and loyal U.S. citizens, and there was nothing suspicious about them when they took off from Newark, N.J., and Dulles in D.C. and Logan in Boston on routine cross-country flights to the West Coast with fully-loaded fuel tanks — which would soon explode on impact and utterly destroy the world-famous Twin Towers of downtown Manhattan’s World Trade Center. Boom! Boom! Just like that.

The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.

It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy. Osama bin Laden may be a primitive “figurehead” — or even dead, for all we know — but whoever put those All-American jet planes loaded with All-American fuel into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon did it with chilling precision and accuracy. The second one was a dead-on bullseye. Straight into the middle of the skyscraper.

Nothing — even George Bush’s $350 billion “Star Wars” missile defense system — could have prevented Tuesday’s attack, and it cost next to nothing to pull off. Fewer than 20 unarmed Suicide soldiers from some apparently primitive country somewhere on the other side of the world took out the World Trade Center and half the Pentagon with three quick and costless strikes on one day. The efficiency of it was terrifying.

We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for WAR seem to know who did it or where to look for them.

This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won’t hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.

Good luck. He is in for a profoundly difficult job — armed as he is with no credible Military Intelligence, no witnesses and only the ghost of Bin Laden to blame for the tragedy.

OK. It is 24 hours later now, and we are not getting much information about the Five Ws of this thing.

The numbers out of the Pentagon are baffling, as if Military Censorship has already been imposed on the media. It is ominous. The only news on TV comes from weeping victims and ignorant speculators.

The lid is on. Loose Lips Sink Ships. Don’t say anything that might give aid to The Enemy.

– Hunter S. Thompson

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