Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Gonzo Patriotism is coming
My 16 year old daughter has discovered the work of writer, journalist and gun-owner Hunter S. Thompson in earnest.
Together we watched the documentary "Gonzo" about Hunter's live (recommended!!), and I fell into a dizzying state of mournful remembrances.
That magical moment seemingly outside of time and history --the Sixties-- which shaped so many of us in one way or another, has dimmed and perhaps faded forever. The sense of infinite possibility, the promise of love, of communion in peace with other cultures through music and expression, the fascination with nature and consciousness, etc. etc. --they all died under the boot of corporate militarism and megalomaniac control fantasies.
No matter how much my teenage child is trying to find joy and innocent adventures, I can see a deep sadness in her eyes, and in that of her generation. A broken heartedness. They subconsciously know that something as big as anything was stolen from them --their future-- leaving them with a ungraspable sense of loss and defeat -- even before they can articulate that or have entered adulthood.
(...this is one of her paintings 3' X 5'
--click on it for enlargement)
Obama's promise of "Change" has thus far proven nothing else than one more generational betrayal: his words have become hollow within a year, while the twilight darkens. Granted that "Change" was kind of like a Rorschach inkblot -- but after years of Clinton's sellouts and Bush' wars, and against the background of Global Warming, what can "Change" mean other than stopping torture, stopping war, nuclear disarmament, universal healthcare, alternative energy, racial equality and economic justice ? Everyone understood Obama's "Change" that way. It even motivated a new generation to become politically engaged and work for Obama -- but none of this is happening in the Obama administration --quite the opposite--.
Many, in particular the young, now feel a loss of trust, because they sense that they have been bamboozled by a juggernaut of corporate and military interests, which found in Obama a person of great oratory and ability to communicate -- who at the same time was willing to do the arcane dirty work of Empire, and pull the wagon of State into the abyss of "corporacracy" -- a 21 century type fascism in the footsteps of Mussolini.
This kind of betrayal seems to have been at the heart of the conflicted life of Hunter Thomson himself and I think that is why my daughter suddenly is interested in him: she recognizes the tragedy.
Whereas Hunter's arch-nemesis Nixon, clothed himself in the mantle of middle class American moralism, nationalism and patriotism while committing all his atrocious crimes (particularly the brutal Vietnam war), "vile immoral outlaw" writer and journalist Hunter Thompson pushed the boundaries of freedom of expression and consciousness. Hunter understood those values to be at the heart of the American dream and constitution. In that sense all of his outrageous, occassionally bizarre misbehaviors and irreverent tearing at the mask of the power elite, were in their own way acts of patriotism.
If it is this kind of desperate Gonzo Patriotism that is striking a chord and resonates in the children of the children of the sixties........Now What ?