FEAR AND LOATHING IN JOURNALISM

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To Jack Scott, Vancouver Sun

October 1, 1958

57 Perry Street

New York City

Sir,

I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time Magazine did on The Sun this week. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I`d also like to offer my services.

Since I haven`t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I`l have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn`t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I`m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley. By the time you get this letter, I`ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I`ll let my offer stand.

And don`t think my arrogance is unintentional: it`s just that I`d rather offend you now than after I started working for you. I didn`t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he`d tell you that I`m “not very likeable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That`s a direct quote he sent to the publisher.) Nothing beats having good references.

Of course if you asked some of the other people I`ve worked for, you`d get a different set of answers. If you`re interested enough to answer this letter, I`ll be glad to furnish you with a list of references–including the lad I work for now.

The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It`s a year old, however, and I`ve changed a bit since it was written. I`ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, and learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession. As far as I`m concerned, it`s a damn shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you`re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I`d like to work for you.

Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews. I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on reasonable salary, and don`t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations. I would rather be on the dole than for a paper I was ashamed of.

It`s a long way from here to British Columbia, but I think I`d enjoy the trip. If you think you can use me, drop me a line. If not, good luck anyway.

Sincerely,

Hunter S. Thompson

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Hunter S. Thompson was a very angry man. A quivering human pole of bile, dislike, contempt and outrage at anything, and anyone, who didn`t meet his benchmark of what it takes to get through life on your own terms. He was outraged at being surrounded by stupidity, incompetence, obfuscation, deceit and the utter irrelevance of modern (so called) moral values, which were generally enforced by intellectual, special needs fuck–wits, in urgent need of a lobotomy to put them out of their below zero IQ misery. He was also a great, highly perceptive, and original writer, who looked upon the world he unfortunately inhabited with lower life-forms; decided it needed some special attention of the Hunter S. Thompson variety of acerbic insight and razor sharp wit,  and let loose with both heavy duty barrels blazing at the beating heart of the interminable, indestructible lunatic asylum called Planet Earth. Humanity was not his favourite life form, but it served his considerable need to vent his spleen over it`s seemingly, chaotic existence, and infinite capacity to side-step logic at every turn, rather than do the right thing, and just let others live their own lives, and butt out of his. Of course, in the end, his anger overwhelmed him, and he ended his final chapter on a note of desperate exasperation. His last word was left to a single bullet, but his genius lives on in his amazingly colourful, entertaining, and inventive prose which will, I`m sure, render him immortal. 

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