Hunter S. Thompson · 481 pages
Rating: (17.3K votes)
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.”
“With the truth so dull and depressing, the only working alternative is wild bursts of madness and filigree.”
“Live steady. Don't fuck around. Give anything weird a wide berth -- including people. It's not worth it. I learned this the hard way, through brutal overindulgence.
...Back to Chicago; it's never dull out there. You never know exactly what kind of terrible shit is going to come down on you in that town, but you can always count on *something*. Every time I go to Chicago I come away with scars.”
“People who claim to know jackrabbits will tell you they are primarily motivated by Fear, Stupidity, and Craziness. But I have spent enough time in jack rabbit country to know that most of them lead pretty dull lives; they are bored with their daily routines: eat, fuck, sleep, hop around a bush now and then....No wonder some of them drift over the line into cheap thrills once in a while; there has to be a powerful adrenalin rush in crouching by the side of a road, waiting for the next set of headlights to come along, then streaking out of the bushes with split-second timing and making it across to the other side just inches in front of the speeding front wheels”
“So much for Objective Journalism. Don't bother to look for it here--not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”
“and he would probably not agree with my conviction that a sense of humor is the main measure of sanity. But who can say for sure? Humor is a very private thing.”
“If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.”
“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.”
“A lot of blood has gone under the bridge since then, and we have all learned a hell of a lot about the realities of Politics in America. Even the politicians have learned – but, as usual, the politicians are much slower than the people they want to lead.”
“The whole framework of the presidency is getting out of hand. It's come to the point where you almost can't run unless you can cause people to salivate and whip on each other with big sticks. You almost have to be a rock star to get the kind of fever you need to survive in American politics.”
“I felt a strange tightness coming over me, and I reacted instinctively – for the first time in a long, long while – by slipping my notebook into my belt and reaching down to take off my watch. The first thing to go in a street fight is your watch, and once you’ve lost a few, you develop a certain instinct that lets you know when it’s time to get the thing off your wrist and into a safe pocket.”
“How many more of these stinking, double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote FOR something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?”
“The importance of Liking Yourself is a notion that fell heavily out of favor during the coptic, anti-ego frenzy of the Acid Era--but nobody guessed back then that the experiment might churn up this kind of hangover: a whole subculture of frightened illiterates with no faith in anything.”
“Live steady. Don't fuck around. Give anything weird a wide berth--including people. It's not worth it. I learned this the hard way, through brutal overindulgence.”
“Nonetheless, I felt like I knew him well enough so that we did not have to do much talking. From the very beginning I had felt a definite contact with Yeoman, a kind of tenuous understanding that talk is pretty cheap in this league and that a man who knew what he was after had damn little time to find it, much less to sit back and explain himself.”
“Just the other day the AP wire had a story about a man from Arkansas who entered some kind of contest and won a two-week vacation--all expenses paid--wherever he wanted to go. Any place in the world: Mongolia, Easter Island, the Turkish Riviera . . . but his choice was Salt Lake City, and that's where he went. Is this man a registered voter? Has he come to grips with the issues? Has he bathed in the blood of the lamb?”
“How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?”
“Liberalism itself has failed, and for a pretty good reason. It has been too often compromised by the people who represented it.”
“McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for.
Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?”
“Some book reviewer whose name I forget recently called me a 'vicious misanthrope' . . . or maybe it was a 'cynical misanthrope'. . . but either way, he (or she) was right; and what got me this way was politics.”
“The two keys to success as a sportswriter are: 1) A blind willingness to believe anything you're told by the coaches, flacks, hustlers and other "official spokesmen" for the team-owners who provide the free booze ... and: 2) A Roget's Thesaurus, in order to avoid using the same verbs and adjectives twice in the same paragraph.
Even a sports editor, for instance, might notice something wrong with a lead that said: "The precision-jack-hammer attack of the Miami Dolphins stomped the balls off the Washington Redskins today by stomping and hammering with one precise jack-thrust after another up the middle, mixed with pinpoint-precision passes into the flat and numerous hammer-jack stomps around both ends....”
“The only thing I ever saw that came close to Objective Journalism was a closed-circuit TV setup that watched shoplifters in the General Store at Woody Creek, Colorado.”
“That gin-soaked little Nazi from the Gazette got pissed off when you didn’t doff your hat for the national anthem,” Burgin explained. “He kept bitching about you to the guy in charge of the press box, then he got that asshole who works for him all cranked up and they started talking about having you arrested.” “Jesus creeping shit,” I muttered. “Now I know why I got out of sportswriting.”
“Every now and then you have to get away from that ugly Old Politics trip, or it will drive you to kicking the walls and hurling AR3's into the fireplace.”
“I’ve spent enough time in jackrabbit country to know that most of them lead pretty dull lives . . . No wonder some of them drift over the line into cheap thrills once in a while; there has to be a powerful adrenaline rush in crouching by the side of a road, waiting for the next set of headlights to come along, then streaking out of the bushes with split-second timing and making it across to the other side just inches in front of the speeding front wheels.”
“At the stroke of midnight in Washington, a drooling red-eyed beast with the legs of a man and a head of a giant hyena crawls out of its bedroom window in the South Wing of the White House and leaps fifty feet down to the lawn...pauses briefly to strangle the Chow watchdog, then races off into the darkness...towards the Watergate, snarling with lust, loping through the alleys behind Pennsylvania Avenue, and trying desperately to remember which one of those fore hundred identical balconies is the one outside of Martha Mitchell's apartment....Ah...Nightmares, nightmares. But I was only kidding. The President of the United States would never act that weird. At least not during football season.”
“The importance of Liking Yourself is a notion that fell heavily out of favor during the coptic, anti-ego frenzy of the Acid Era—but nobody guessed, back then, that the experiment might churn up this kind of hangover: a whole subculture of frightened illiterates with no faith in anything.”
“I feel The Fear coming on, and the only cure for that is to chew up a fat black wad of blood-opium about the size of a young meatball and then call a cab for a fast run down to that strip of X-film houses on 14th Street… peel back the brain, let the opium take hold, and get locked into serious pornography.”
“There is a sense of muted desperation in Democratic ranks at the prospect of getting stuck—and beaten once again—with some tried and half-true hack like Humphrey, Jackson, or Muskie… and George McGovern, the only candidate in either party worth voting for, is hung in a frustrated limbo created mainly by the gross cynicism of the Washington Press Corps. “He’d be a fine President,” they say, “but of course he can’t possibly win.” Why not? Well”
“The root assumption here is that neither party would nominate a man more than 20 percent different from the type of person most Americans consider basically right and acceptable. Which almost always happens. There is no potentially serious candidate in either major party this year who couldn’t pass for the executive vice-president for mortgage loans in any hometown bank from Bangor to San Diego. We”
“MUTTER COURAGE Mir scheint, ich hab zu lang gehandelt.”
“Of course he could see only blackness, such was the treachery of fire, which iluminated small circles by darkening the entire world.”
“Love is all the small moments. It is what fills the quiet.”
“She’d found it was always best to live in the here and now rather than waste time with past events or what she couldn’t have and what could have been. Mind you, living in the here and now wasn’t always easy, but she did her best.”
“There's never any warning that something extraordinary is about to happen, is there?”
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