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May 4, 2012 8:54 AM   Subscribe

"The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved" - Noted as one of Hunter S. Thompson's finest pieces of writing, it has recently been given the Paris Records treatment with a new album of Bill Frisell music, Hal Willner production, Tim Robbins as HST, and Ralph Steadman performing as himself. (Recent interview with Paris Records owner Michael Minzer)
posted by CNNInternational (13 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite moment was when Thompson promises Steadman that the spectators' drinking will be such that "the aisles will be slick with vomit".
posted by Trurl at 9:02 AM on May 4, 2012

Ah, here we go: Grantland just posted the entire original HST article.

Who you work for?"

"Playboy," I said.

He laughed. "Well goddam! What are you gonna take pictures of — nekkid horses? Haw!

posted by CNNInternational at 9:38 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

No treatment of this story can possibly come close to the experience of just reading it. That's what I love about HST's writing: it's more vivid than life itself.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:40 AM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Exactly, kinnakeet. Nobody does a better radio play with HST's voice than my own brain.
posted by basicchannel at 10:03 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Clearly, Hunter never attended the Preakness.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:22 AM on May 4, 2012

Scanlan's Monthly was a short-lived monthly publication, which ran from March 1970 to January 1971. Edited by Warren Hinckle III and Sidney Zion, it featured politically controversial muckraking and was ultimately subject to an investigation by the FBI during the Nixon administration. It was boycotted by printers as "un-American" by 1971. According to the publishers more than 50 printers refused to handle the January 1971 special issue "Guerilla War in the USA" because it appeared to be promoting domestic terrorism. The issue was finally printed in Quebec.
posted by Trurl at 10:23 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Yah … well, okay … let's just figure we fucked up about equally on that one," I said. "But from now on let's try to be careful when we're around people I know. You won't sketch them and I won't Mace them. We'll just try to relax and get drunk."

"Right," he said. "We'll go native."

Oh, Hunter, you do make me laugh at the most inappropriate things.
posted by dglynn at 10:26 AM on May 4, 2012

Hunter got remains shot into space. Derby Day continues without him and it remains the same and still a delight to those who love it.
posted by Postroad at 11:14 AM on May 4, 2012

Things haven't changed much.

One of my clearest memories of that vicious time is Ralph being attacked by one of my old friends in the billiard room of the Pendennis Club

OMG, I walk by that place on my way from my part-time teaching job to my regular freelance gig. Was in there for a wedding reception once.
posted by Mcable at 11:20 AM on May 4, 2012

HST was taken from us just when we needed him most. I'd love to read some HST about the Great Recession.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:40 PM on May 4, 2012

When Thompson was at his best, he took on subjects that seemed to require respect and then discovered what happened if you didn't respect them. He never provided much context: it was OUR job to know what we were *supposed* to think about a given topic (presidential elections, Las Vegas), and his job to subvert that knowledge. Because I was around then, I can understand his stuff when I read it now, but can a younger generation? Do they just think drunkenness is inherently funny, or do they have enough history independent of this article to understand what was supposed to be the point? I'm not criticizing young people (as long as they stay off my lawn), I'm criticizing Gonzo journalism. You'd practically need an annotated edition of this to make it make any sense to someone who didn't already know about what the Kentucky Derby stood for in the 1970s.

Or not? I'd be interested to hear what people who weren't around when Hunter S. Thompson was writing think about his writing.
posted by acrasis at 6:58 PM on May 6, 2012

This instance of the Kentucky Derby article on the illustrator's site includes the illustrations mentioned in the article.
posted by Listener at 6:19 PM on May 15, 2012

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