Category:Book ReportsPaper Title:fear and loathing in las vegasText:Finding the American Dream in Sin City:What I got out of Fear and LoathingWhere do I start ? This book left me with so many questions and so manythingsto think about. Was this journey real? Was Hunter S. Thompson drawing offreal lifeexperinces to create this strange and insightful journey? If this was striclya fictional storythis is obivoiusly written by a man who had alot of experince with drugs andthere effects.I don not want to focus on the drugs because I think there is more to thisbook and if youjust focus and the outlandish number of drugs ingested by Raoul Duke and hisattorneyyou will miss it. The book bills itself as “A savage journey to theheart of the AmericanDream.” That is exactly what it is.
We see america through a man whoseems to haveseen what America could have been only to see it come crashing down to theharshrealties of what it is. He was not alone in this feeling he makes it clearwhen he remarksthat Nixons term marked the popularuty of downers. The whole country was in adownmood it seemed that everything had failed and the people that were left afterthe smoke ofthe sixties cleared felt dislousined and out of place like Raoul Duke. Theonly feeling hehad left to cling on from this time was the drugs and even the highs didn’tseem the same.Take for example when he was describing being in San Francisco during theAcid Wavehow carefree and innoceent his high nights seemed compare this with theconstantparnonia that plagued him throughout his five day romp through Vegas. Hishighs alongwith america had lost a sense of innocence All that was left was a feeling offear andloathing.
I also belive that the choice of Las Vegas as the hunting ground for theAmercianDream was extremely important. I think that for many Vegas especially circa1971embobied all that was right and very wrong with American Culture. The tackyglitz of thestrip, out of work entertainers pefroming for middle americans in thetwilight of their lifegambling away penisons and savings and two bit gamblers hoping that they tocouldstrike it rich and become geniune rags to riches story. Vegas with its lureof the instantHoratio Alger story seems to me to repersent the Amercian Dream over lasthalf centuryand I think Hunter S.
Thompson saw this too. Then there was the Mint 400 andthe drugconfrence both I think were used as vehicles to see American culture fromoppositespectrums. There was the racers and fans for the Mint 400 a rough and tumblebunchsome would call them rednecks, bikers or rebels. These were the people whoseemed tobe living the American Dream on their own terms. On the opposite there waspeopleattending the drug convention a cross section of middle american lawenforcementpeople. To these people a free trip to vegas was the vaction they and themisses had beenwaiting for.
They seemed so out of place in the glitzy lights and fancycasinos but in asense I feel they fit right in. They were the target market for vegas. Richpeople and hipyoung Americans don’t travel hundreds of miles to see Tom Jones do medleysand eat badbuffet food.
To me the convention attendees, Mint 400 fans, casino vistorsand RaoulDuke all resprsented diffrent aspects of one idea, The American Dream. Rauoland hisattorney had at one time found there American Dream and had lost it alongwiththousands of others who thought the sixties really would mean a change forthe better.The Mint folks had found theirs and as mindless and backwoodish as it mightseem tomany it fit them and I don’t think they gave a damn what anyone thought.
Theconventionpeople they represented the masses grinding it out everyday 9 to 5 living theso called”Honest American Way” oblivous to the way thing were beyond their own front lawns.Book Reports