"Which is worse? The wolf who cries before eating the lamb or the wolf who does not."— Leo Tolstoy

Friday, July 22, 2011

www.OpenCulture.com: 275 Cultural Icons: Great Artists, Writers & Thinkers in Their Own Words

This video is from the Open Culture, an independent website operated by faculty and students from Stanford University. The website offers a great selection of free content including course lectures that are similar in quality to the videos sold by NYU in their Great Courses series. There are also a good selection of e-books and assorted ephemera like the 1965 video below which features a Hells Angels member who rides onto the stage and confronts Hunter S. Thompson about his recently published book Hells Angels. Thompson was clearly surprised by the HA member's appearance and seemed a little frightened, as if he expected a repeat of the beat down he describes at the end of the book. He engages in no eye contact and remains seated throughout the exchange. The HA member wins over the audience and Thompson comes off looking like a twittering mouse.

Videos like this remind me of dinosaur fossils. You look at them and ask yourself did this really come from this planet? I'm referring to the section near the end of the clip where the Hells Angels member says that you have to beat your wife every now and then to keep her in line, and was greeted with cheers of approval from the California audience. I'ld like to think if someone made that kind of statement to a television audience today, even if it was on the Jerry Springer show, they would be greeted by boos instead of cheers. It is interesting to note that Thompson's mumbling is just about as incomprehensible in 1965 as it was later in life when it was attributed to lifestyle issues. Here he is, Hunter S. Thompson, as you've likely never seen him before.

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine who knew Thompson well (I'll tell you who it was privately) told me that in the 1990s Thompson's ability to speak was so impaired that he needed someone with linguistic training to translate for him.