Talkin’ about the Government

I’m on the pavement talkin’ about the government.” — Bob Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” 1965.

Half a century ago, we took to the pavement.

We saw the military fighting a badly managed war, the Pentagon lying about that war, universities engaging in racial discrimination, the White House spying on dissenters, a president committing misdeeds and lying to cover them up and the IRS targeting political opponents.

All of this government wrongdoing did produce great music. Bob Dylan put our protests to song and became the musical poet of the age. Insofar as government is concerned, he anticipated the next age, too.

Because government got no better.

Weirdly, however, we stopped protesting. In the war between the people and government, the people quietly surrendered.

Many even switched sides and became the establishment conformists that they once loathed. After protesting The Man for years, they became him.

Let’s listen to Dylan again.

“So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.” — “All Along the Watchtower,” 1968.

At least 24 times the president promised the American people that “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. Period.” The nonpartisan fact-checker PolitiFact called this the “Lie of the Year.”

“Ain’t it hard when you discover that he really wasn’t where it’s at after he took from you everything he could steal?” — “Like a Rollin’ Stone,” 1965.

The Wall Street Journal reported that White House records show Obama knew, for years, that Continue reading

More Fear and Loathing

Hunter S. Thompson — gonzo author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and keeper of dynamite in the basement and toxins in the refrigerator — was the last of the Aspen undomesticated types.

In my recent column, I lamented the substitute poseurs who are more interested in conventional socialism than unconventional socializing.

Indeed, as I noted, we’re now so lacking in fearsomeness and loathsomeness that the sane and sanitized readers of Travel + Leisure voted Aspen their “favorite town.” Ugh. Readers emailed me, called me and even stopped me on the street to add names to my growing list of extinct and endangered exotica. So here are a couple more:

Meet Claudine Longet. Born in Paris, this winsome woman danced in Las Vegas well before Thompson arrived. One day, she had the good fortune of her car breaking down — because her rescuer was one Andy Williams. They married a year later when she was 19.

By age 21, Continue reading