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Better than sex : confessions of a political…

Better than sex : confessions of a political junkie (original: 1994; edição: 1995)

de Hunter S. Thompson

Séries: The Gonzo Papers (4)

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935817,399 (3.46)1
Thompson delivers a mind-bending view of the 1992 presidential race, packed with all the horror, sacrifice, lust, and glory that made this campaign so utterly fascinating.
Título:Better than sex : confessions of a political junkie
Autores:Hunter S. Thompson
Informação:New York : Ballantine Books, 1995.
Coleções:Non-Fiction, Sua biblioteca

Detalhes da Obra

Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie de Hunter S. Thompson (1994)


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This is Hunter Thompson's coverage of the 1992 U.S. Presidential campaign and elections, with some flashbacks to his own 1970 campaign for Sheriff of Aspen County in Colorado.

As usual, he jumps right in as a participant as well as a reporter, so nothing he writes is even remotely unbiased, an lots of probably fictionalized incidents. In this case, he brings a group of Rolling Stone editors to Little Rock to meet with Bill Clinton and from there on refers to Clinton's campaign as "we" including himself and continually gives them advice on how to beat Bush.

The book is filled with written narrative, including many tangents into other subjects, plus lots of pages of faxes sent back and forth between him and his editors and him and Clinton's campaign.

Between the middle and the end he contradicts himself, as to whether the Republicans will stop at nothing for Bush to win and later that the Republican leaders threw the election, since the economy was bad and times were bad and they wanted a Democrat in the White House for four years to take the blame so they could come back stronger in 1996.

Some things he wrote were certainly dated, knowing now how the 1996 and 2000 elections turned out, and knowing Clinton's later scandal in the Oval Office, although Thompson practically predicted that...

At the end is a late addition to the book, Thompson's vicious, nasty obituary of Richard Nixon, who died after he finished the book.

Overall it's entertaining, almost like being in the campaign, but not nearly as good as his 60's and 70's work, including his campaign classic "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972".

The last page of the book is a fake newspaper clipping "Dr. Hunter Thompson announced to a cheering crowd of editors, brokers and elite political professionals in Chicago today that 'politics is not better than sex'". ( )
  KevinRubin | Aug 11, 2020 |
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”

The title of this book refers to the author’s addiction to politics, and this time around he’s deep into the 1992 presidential election. George H.W, Ross Perot, and of course, Bill Clinton. He skewers all of them, and continues his strong hatred of Nixon, which is ironic of sorts, because Nixon is dead by the end of this book, and Hunter has this, amongst other things, to say about the former president, "Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest. But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand.
By disgracing and degrading the presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream."

Thompson also says this about “... the “Regan Revolution,” which ushered in eight years of berserk looting of the federal treasury and the economic crippling of the middle class.” “That was the feeding frenzy of the New Rich,...” Man, I wish Hunter was around now in the disastourous era of Trump. He'd be amazing, and a much needed voice on insanity in this horrible time of U.S. history. A president worse that Nixon? Boy, would HST have a field day!

Interestingly, I read the first 200 pages of this book while the “Race for the White House” documentary on CNN was on the large screen television in the lobby of the DoubleTree Hotel in Rohnert Park. Many of the faces mentioned on these pages flashed on the big screen as I read. It was weird. And right.

Dang Hunter, I wish you were here right now. We still needed you.

“Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

Ye gods. ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Mar 2, 2020 |

One of the classic accounts of American politics, not quite as remarkable as Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 because the election of 1992 was much less remarkable, and also frankly because Thompson's own style was becoming much more self-indulgent. Thompson's drug-fuelled raging stream of consciousness writing comes over now as rather white and male. He picks up on the importance of Hillary Clinton, but fails to really interview her. The one African-American who is mentioned in passing is Roosevelt Grier, who he utterly unfairly blames for the death of Robert F. Kennedy. He fumes about the fundamental evil of George H.W. Bush without really proving the case.

And yet there are moments of sheer genius. It starts with a flashback to the failed McGovern campaign which is basically the set-up for a punchline:

Another thing I still remember from that horrible day in November of ’72 was that some dingbat named Clinton was said to be almost single-handedly responsible for losing 222 counties in Texas—including Waco, where he was McGovern’s regional coordinator—and was “terminated without pay, with prejudice,” and sent back home to Arkansas “with his tail between his legs,” as an aide put it.

“We’ll never see that stupid bastard again,” one McGovern aide muttered. “Clinton—Bill Clinton. Yeah. Let’s remember that name. He’ll never work again, not in Washington.”

A passing reference brought me to H.L. Mencken's obituary of William Jennings Bryan, which makes it clear how much Thompson's style owed to Mencken's writing:

Bryan was a vulgar and common man, a cad undiluted. He was ignorant, bigoted, self-seeking, blatant and dishonest. His career brought him into contact with the first men of his time; he preferred the company of rustic ignoramuses. It was hard to believe, watching him at Dayton, that he had traveled, that he had been received in civilized societies, that he had been a high officer of state. He seemed only a poor clod like those around him, deluded by a childish theology, full of an almost pathological hatred of all learning, all human dignity, all beauty, all fine and noble things. He was a peasant come home to the dung-pile. Imagine a gentleman, and you have imagined everything that he was not.

There is a hilarious passage describing Bill Clinton's supposedly odd behaviour at his first interview with Thompson, later explained by a mutual friend as the effect of Thompson's eerie resemblance to Clinton's childhood nemesis (way too good to be true, alas). I had also completely forgotten that Ross Perot's excuse for dropping out of the 1992 presidential election was that the Republicans were planning to spoil his daughter's wedding by distributing fake compromising photographs of her. Yes, really.

The book ends with a postscript written after the death of Richard Nixon, Thompson's old nemesis, in 1994. For all that Thompson says he hated him, there is evidence of some respect between the two:

Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.

Nixon laughed when I told him this. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I, too, am a family man, and we feel the same way about you.”

Anyway, I should get hold of the better, earlier books of the Gonzo Papers. It's a little sad to get the sense from reading that Thompson's powers were waning, and that he knew it. ( )
  nwhyte | Aug 27, 2019 |
Went back to the well of HST. It's Clinton time again and HST did Bill back in the last century with this book. HST would have been with Trump this time around, both of them spouting and mouthing off.

I have aged (maybe HST as well, now that he is long dead in Colorado) And can only take him in small doses. It took a month to read the book. Probably took him a week to write it, the week spread out between drinks and drugs and guns. But it gives an inside view to the damage done to all by letting assholes run the world and journalism too. ( )
  kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
The Basics

A non-fiction (well mostly) account of the 1992 presidential election. With emphasis on Thompson’s perspective.

My Thoughts

I’m not a politically-minded person. I know no one likes to hear that, and I don’t like saying it, but I’ve never really understood having an obsession with politics. Even Thompson, in this book, bemoans the fact that it’s an addiction he’d like to kick. Really it’s because it’s depressing, and I think Thompson got to the root of another reason why politics doesn’t sit well with me: the illusion of control. In so many words, he says that, and I realize that’s some paranoid fodder right there, especially when you take the fact that Hunter said it into account. But it feels true to me.

That’s why this book appealed to me. A big part of it anyway. Because I feel like it got to the root of why the subject kind of unnerves me. Also, it was hilarious and very readable. And even the portions where you find yourself asking, “could it have really happened that way?”, and then answer yourself with, “probably not”, it’s so entertaining. Maybe Clinton didn’t howl like a mad beast right before shoving his face into a basket of fries like a starving dog. It still creates a mental image I’ll never unsee, and that’s very funny to me.

It’s full of faxes and letters he sent to politicians and celebrities and friends that are all exactly what you’d expect from him. I giggled a lot. If you want a 100% accurate portrait of events as they transpired at that time, read a history book. If you want Thompson’s unique stamp (and if you have a fun bone in your body, you do), then read this.

Final Rating

5/5 ( )
  Nickidemus | Sep 18, 2014 |
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Thompson delivers a mind-bending view of the 1992 presidential race, packed with all the horror, sacrifice, lust, and glory that made this campaign so utterly fascinating.

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