Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

Mimsy Review: Generation of Swine

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, June 17, 2001

Watching TV becomes a full-time job when you can scan 200 channels all day and all night and still have the option of punching Night Dreams into the video machine, if the rest of the world seems dull.

The “Tales of Shame and Degradation” are mostly the Bush-Dukakis presidential race (from the primaries to the bitter end) of 1988, not a good platform for gonzo journalism.

RecommendationPossible Purchase
AuthorHunter S. Thompson
Length336 pages
Book Rating5

This one is categorized “nonfiction/journalism”, which must give Thompson one hell of a laugh at times if he even reads his own work, which he probably does.

Subtitled “Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ‘80s”, these are the Reagan years, the generation that faced Armageddon and decided that Oliver North was the man for the job. These are also the second volume of the “Gonzo Papers”, the first since “The Great Shark Hunt” back when Carter smiled his way into the Pig Palace. The Reagan Revolution was not a good time for the anti-Swine, what with the Republicans cranking out brown-shirts in the midnight hours and the Democrats falling all over themselves to co-opt the right wing.

And at the end of it, the Reagan empire devolving onto paid stooges and back-street bureaucrats.

The Reagan Revolution was beginning to look like a second-hand Studebaker with bald tires. The awkward truth is that three times in the last 20 years one of the two major parties has put forth presidential candidates who were so utterly crooked and publicly corrupt that they had to be removed from office for dark reasons... and two of them were re-elected to second four-year terms by massive popular acclaim.

It sounds like Bill Clinton, too--except that Clinton could not even manage popular acclaim for his second term, even against a Bob Dole.

The meat of this book is the 1987-88 presidential campaign, with vice president George Bush fighting for his life against Republican competitors like Al Haig, Pat Buchanan, and Pat Robertson. While Michael Dukakis fought off the likes of Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson and won mostly by being the last person standing.

The story is also about television, about cable TV into every home (except Woody Creek) with a hundred channels, and satellite TV into Woody Creek with hundreds of channels, the porn pendulum swinging back from “the golden age of porn” in the seventies, going from “Deep Throat” and “The Story of O” to “Thunderthighs” and “Hot Nazis” playing 155 weeks in San Diego. And the rise of CNN, 24 hours of mainline news.

Generation of Swine” is not one of Thompson’s best works. But it stands as a brilliant light beckoning through an otherwise Dark Age.

Generation of Swine

Hunter S. Thompson

Recommendation: Possible Purchase