Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson (1988) Subtitled: Gonzo Papers, Volume 2: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80's. I felt compelled to read some soothing words from the unmistakable voice of Hunter S. Thompson after last year's presidential election, thinking it would maybe help, or at least put things in perspective. This book is made up of SF Examiner columns, and is mostly about politics, Reagan, the Iran-Contra Affair, Oliver North, etc., leading up to the 1988 election. It does kind of put things in perspective, but I don't know if it cheered me up as much as made me feel more hopeless. I guess the one thing you could take from remembering that time period is that things don't change that much, they just run in cycles, and if anything we just keep raising the bar on greed and stupidity. Personally, in order keep getting up day after day, I have to believe that human beings are slowly, if not always surely, advancing in terms of humanity, at least, but that's often a hard position to support when you look at the whole world, and very deep into any society. But then, what I think, anyway, matters little, except maybe to me. My favorite parts of this book, and any of Thompson's writing, is when he talks less about politics and more about some crazy adventure he's been pulled into, with well-drawn portraits of bizarre individuals that you know, from experience, are only slightly exaggerated. I always liked the title, too, “Generation of Swine”—I'm not sure when that generation ends, exactly, and if he came up with a name for the even more heinous successor.
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