Saturday, February 14, 2009

"The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved"

I just finished finished reading "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson. So I googled "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved," the first time Thompson explored what was to become his signature style: telling a story by writing about outrageous experiences in the first person. (Gonzo journalism.) It's still a real joy to read even though it was written in 1970. These few sentences are among the best, but they're much better when read in the context of the entire piece. If you have time check out the full article. I think it may make you smile.

He had done a few good sketches, but so far we hadn’t seen that special kind of face that I felt we would need for a lead drawing. It was a face I’d seen a thousand times at every Derby I’d ever been to. I saw it, in my head, as the mask of the whiskey gentry–a pretentious mix of booze, failed dreams and a terminal identity crisis; the inevitable result of too much inbreeding in a closed and ignorant culture. One of the key genetic rules in breeding dogs, horses or any other kind of thoroughbred is that close inbreeding tends to magnify the weak points in a bloodline as well as the strong points. In horse breeding, for instance, there is a definite risk in breeding two fast horses who are both a little crazy. The offspring will likely be very fast and also very crazy. So the trick in breeding thoroughbreds is to retain the good traits and filter out the bad. But the breeding of humans is not so wisely supervised, particularly in a narrow Southern society where the closest kind of inbreeding is not only stylish and acceptable, but far more convenient–to the parents–than setting their offspring free to find their own mates, for their own reasons and in their own ways.


Fugublowfish said...

Mmmm, that's a fun analogy. And you have to wonder how that affected royal families back in the day. Their tenacious drive to rule would become excessive and irrational, penchants for sexual fetishes eventually so addictive as to ruin countries and livestock... Yay for mix breeds!

Say, anyone here have a copy of Curse Of Lono?

Galspanic said...

Damn you know I have no idea where my copy went. i think Rob Schulz has it.

odori said...

Did you like Curse of Lono? I've been a little afraid to read it because I was worried there was a good chance Thompson might have misinterpreted Hawaii in an arrogant mainlander kind of way... Or in a "Hawaii's so beautiful and the natives are so lovely" kind of way. Do you know what I mean? It happens so often, I figure even Thompson was susceptible.

Anyway, would you recommend reading Curse of Lono?

Galspanic said...

Hehehhe Thompson stays true to form in 'Lono Raving paranoid, convinced everyone is morally bankrupt and out for his throat. It's great, in taht horrible way.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely.
If for anything, for the part where he goes deep sea fishing.

Mr. Pony said...

Hawaii is beautiful and the natives are lovely.

odori said...

"Oh, yeah?" she snarls. :)