Uh Oh

Sorry for the delay in posting, but just got into a bit of a Twitter spat with Jonathan Martin of Politico after tweeting that I was unafraid of Jeb Bush as Mitt’s running-mate.

In any event, whilst this was going on I stumbled on an awe-inspiringly vicious and thorough takedown of Tucker Carlson by Alex Pareene at Salon. As one of those Journo-Listers whose off-the-record quotes got taken wildly out of context in the Daily Caller’s signature exposure of the Vast Left-Wing Medica conspiracy, I can’t say that I shed any tears over Pareene’s evisceration of ol’ Tucker. But then I came across this line (warning: non-family-friendly content ahead!):

Like every other raging asshole who goes into journalism, Carlson idolized Hunter Thompson.

Now I was never much one to admire, much less emulate, Thompson’s–er, ah–“lifestyle choices,” and stopped reading him altogether way back in the 1980s when he pretty much became a parody of himself. But sorry, Alex, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 remains one of the best political books ever written, and made a positive difference if only because it blew up the Teddy White genre of “insider” campaign journalism once and for all (at least until Richard Ben Cramer’s What It Takes briefly and partially rehabilitated it, and then Game Change brought it right back).

In any event, I’ll assume Alex would agree that while all “raging assholes” may idolize Hunter Thompson, not everyone who idolizes Hunter Thompson is a “RA” his or her own self, and leave it at that.

And for those of you who are puzzled by this post because you haven’t read Thompson, or just know him as the inspiration for Garry Trudeau’s Uncle Duke (a development that Thompson himself blamed for ruining his career by making him a bigger celebrity than the politicians he was trying to write about), then go read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 and get back to me.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.