Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey To The Heart Of The American Dream is one of the most hectic, drug-addled and hilarious books ever written.
The bedrock of the genre known as Gonzo journalism, it follows the attourney Dr. Gonzo and his client Raoul Duke (a thinly-disguised version of Thompson himself) as they cover two events – the Mint 400 motorcycle derby, and a police conference on narcotics. Well, sort of.
We’ve dipped between the giant lizards and grapefruits to dig out the best pearls of wisdom the book has to offer.
“Every now and then you run up on one of those days when everything's in vain…”
“The mentality of Las Vegas is so grossly atavistic that a really massive crime often slips by unrecognized.”
“Good people drink good beer.”
“In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride.”
“In a scene where nobody with any ambition is really what he appears to be, there's not much risk in acting like a king-hell freak.”
“Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for f*ckoffs and misfits -- a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.”
“1) Never trust a cop in a raincoat.
2) Beware of enthusiasm and of love, both are temporary and quick to sway.
3) If asked if you care about the world's problems, look deep into the eyes of he who asks, he will never ask you again.
4) Never give your real name.
5) If ever asked to look at yourself, don't look.
6) Never do anything the person standing in front of you can't understand.
7) Never create anything, it will be misinterpreted, it will chain you and follow you for the rest of your life.”
“Any officer apprehending a suspected marijuana addict should use all necessary force immediately.”
“Take it from me, there's nothing like a job well done. Except the quiet enveloping darkness at the bottom of a bottle of Jim Beam after a job done any way at all.”
“My attorney has never been able to accept the notion - often espoused by reformed drug abusers and especially popular among those on probation - that you can get a lot higher without drugs than with them. And neither have I, for that matter.”
“There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge.”
“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a b*stard from Hollywood to Las Vegas … with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”
“After a while you learn to cope with things like seeing your dead grandmother crawling up your leg with a knife in her teeth. Most acid fanciers can handle this sort of thing.”
“After five days in Vegas you feel like you've been here for five years.”
“The thing to do – when you’re running along about a hundred or so and you suddenly find a red-flashing CHP-tracker on your trail – what you want to do then is accelerate. Never pull over with the first siren-howl. Mash it down and make the b*stard chase you at speeds up to 120 all the way to the next exit. He will follow.”
“Psychedelics are almost irrelevant in a town where you can wander into a casino any time of the day or night and witness the crucifixion of a gorilla - on a flaming neon cross that suddenly turns into a pinwheel, spinning the beast around in wild circles above the crowded gambling action.”
“In Las Vegas they kill the weak and deranged.”
“[In Vegas] the only bedrock rule is Don't Burn the Locals. Beyond that, nobody cares. They would rather not know. If Charlie Manson checked into the Sahara tomorrow morning, nobody would hassle him as long as he tipped big.”
“It's not often that a man gets a chance to run terminal experiments on a virgin Cadillac and four brand-new $80 tires.”
“North Vegas is where you go when you've f*cked up once too often on the Strip, and when you're not even welcome in the cut-rate downtown places around Casino Center.”
“There is no formula for finding yourself in Vegas with a white Cadillac full of drugs and nothing to mix with properly.”
“People like Sinatra and Dean Martin are still considered "far out" in Vegas.”
“Denver is a national clearing house for stolen Dobermans; they come from all parts of the country.”
“If you have any trouble you can always send a telegram to the Right People.”