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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Generation of Swine", Dr. Gonzo vs. Reagan

Generation of Swine. Tales of Shame and Degradation in the 80's. The Gonzo Papers Vol. 2- Hunter S. Thompson

Of course, I couldn't go the States and not read Dr. Gonzo. It's a MUST DO thing for me. This collection of articles, his weekly columns for the San Francisco Examiner have a bit of everything, but what makes this book recommendable is clearly Hunter's analysis of American politics, covering the last years of Reagan's presidency, and the pre-campaign for the 88's elections.

Luckily, the political chronicle occupies by far the biggest part of the book. In pure Hunter's style. His trademark's fire-powered prose, fierce sarcasm and relentless will to shake readers minds by saying, without any fear, things "by its name". That, in the 80's, meant shouting out loud how miserable and despicable were Reagan and his cohort of politicians, aka as The Generation of Swine.

These Generation was evil indeed. Along with the equally abject Margaret Thatcher in UK, under Reagan's presidency the United States of America wrote some of their more shameful pages: the Iran-Gate, Nicaragua, their friendship with Saudi Arabia or the Afghan Talibans, and the spread of the worst form of capitalism, on its wildest, merciless and stupid version, the one that destroys millions of jobs, ruins lives everyday, mortgages the future... all in the name of privatization, speculation and the "holy" market (umm, how familiar). I have no doubt about it: is thanks to the "Reaganomics" and its British counterpart that economy ate politics, and as a consequence, we have a world that today is a chaotic jungle.

Hunter reveals himself as a surprisingly accurate political analyst and a noteworthy social commentator (his attack to TV preachers and the role of the media is brilliant). Behind all the hallucinated vision (but don't expect "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", nothing like that here) there's a devoted journalist to his task, give his thoughts about was going on in the States, foremost with regards to politics, always with his unique way of writing, but with a very clear message: Republicans are terrible beasts, but don't expect that much of Democrats, either. Politics in America are depressing. Yet there is space for cynicism and laughing in front of the doomed situation (from Oliver North's trial to Bush I run to presidency to how the democrat candidates keep self-destroying themselves) but even Hunter can't hide a feeling of defeat and disappointed resignation. The defeat of the American Dream, replaced by the greed of a few.

Unfortunately, there are two important "issues" that make the book rating lower that what it should for me. Well, the first is really my fault, because "Generation of Swine" demand you to know quite a bit of American politics, many secondary political actors appear or discussed about so the non-expert reader could feel a bit lost sometimes. The second one has to do with the "other" articles, that in my opinion aren't that interesting, working simply as random thoughts and very personal adventures, but lacking the punch our favourite Doctor used to have.

In any case, another remarkable work of the Doctor. How much do we need (in America, in Spain, in every part of the world) more Gonzo journalism, brave enough to reveal how ugly is the truth! We miss you badly.

SCORE: 6,75/10

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