Hey Rube Blood sport, the bush doctrine, and the downward spiral of dumbness

Hunter S. Thompson

Book - 2004

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2nd Floor 796.0973/Thompson Withdrawn
New York : Simon & Schuster 2004.
Physical Description
xxi, 246 p.
Main Author
Hunter S. Thompson (-)
Review by Booklist Review

Thompson is, of course, the author of several New York Times best-selling books, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972), which is perhaps his most readily recognized one. He is the great and famous practitioner of so-called gonzo journalism, which means, at least by the definition set here in his latest collection of journalistic pieces, commentary in which his ruminations go far past the thought-provoking into the realms of the audacious, preposterous, and outrageous. Specifically, what is collected here are Thompson's popular ESPN.com columns; more specifically, the essays are about sports events and figures and what sports means in today's society, but he uses the broad subject of sports to launch into commenting humorously, fiercely, and quite intelligently on politics and sex. He calls being a politician living in Public Housing ; he sees the death of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt as being publicly perceived as a message that something is wrong with the machinery of the American nation ; and he avers that the world situation has become so nervous and wrong that disasters that would have been inconceivable two years ago are almost commonplace today. Readers may disagree with Thompson, but he's hard to ignore. --Brad Hooper Copyright 2004 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

This collection of rants and reflections, taken from the king of gonzo journalism's new sports column at ESPN.com, displays an energy and humor lacking in some of his more recent collections and should please both his old and new fans enormously. Thompson has admitted being as much a sports fanatic as a political junkie, and these columns offer many hard-hitting but indisputable sportswriter insights, such as how a Sports Illustrated cover on Boston Red Sox star Nomar Garciaparra featured a "cynically homoerotic image." A sidebar on "New Rules for Baseball" ("Eliminate the Pitcher") is not only funny but also an astute critique of how boring he believes baseball has become. But Thompson never loses sight of his bigger picture: "The only true Blood Sport in this country is high-end Politics." His view of George Bush-"a half-bright football coach who goes into a big game without a Game Plan"-can sometimes be repetitious. But he hasn't lost his skill as a reporter: e.g., his description of the "exact moment" when he knew Gore would never win Florida-when the Bush family appeared on TV "hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world" that they would let Florida slip away. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Thompson, the gonzo king, might not be every reader's cup of tea. Some might take offense at his first-person references to sex, drugs, and sundry shady activities. Others might feel that their brains are inside a pinball machine as they try to track his scattergun flow of ideas. Readers wanting more tightly woven stories should try someone else, but Thompson can coin a phrase, as in his comparison of Presidents Clinton and Bush II: "Clinton was a congenitally Lewd man who is evil in a way that seems Charming; Bush is a charming man who was born Evil." As the latter suggests, this collection of Thompson's ESPN.com "sports" columns from November 2000 to late 2003 deals only tangentially with sports (and then most often in the context of gambling) and as much with politics and the author's own Weltanschauung. Thompson's fans will like it, though. Recommended for larger public libraries. Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

War and football have this in common, quoth the ascended master of gonzo journalism: "They are both profoundly violent and cruel and utterly unforgiving, and they both require public brutality by people wearing elaborate uniforms." Football has been much on the mind of the good Dr. Thompson (Kingdom of Fear, 2003, etc.) for decades, and especially now that he's reassumed his erstwhile role as sportswriter, this time for ESPN's Web site. ESPN is to be commended for bravery, even if its editors take pains in this collection of columns to distance themselves from Thompson's views--for, aside from his trademark championing of the use of adult beverages and pharmaceutical treats, he has also had war on his mind since the ascendancy of George W. Bush, whom Thompson calls "a baffled little creep" and worse. This is about sports in the same way Lolita is about sex: which is to say, not much and not often, and then mostly as an obsessive undercurrent in a discourse given over to other things. Sports fans should take interest nonetheless in Thompson's rants about the decline of the NFL ("There are too many teams and not enough quality players"), sportswriters ("a rude and brainless subculture of fascist drunks"), pitchers ("pampered little swine with too much money and no real effect on the game except to drag it out and interrupt the action"), and sundry other athletic topics. Thompson's real constituency, which may care little for events on the playing field, will revel in the same intemperance directed to matters set on a larger stage, ranging from war and its consequences ("American troops are killing journalists in a profoundly foreign country, for savage, greed-crazed reasons that most of them couldn't explain or understand") to the surreal consequences of drug-fueled conversations with film celebrities, as with Thompson's weird fugue involving Sean Penn, a Saudi princess, and Homeland Security--a piece worth the price of admission all by itself. A treat for Thompson's many fans, though guaranteed not to earn him many admirers among the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld believers. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.