Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is arguably the greatest chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever written. The novel first appeared as a two-part series in Rolling Stone magazine in 1971, was printed as a book in 1972. Unsurprisingly, this tale of a long weekend road trip has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.
Famed for lurid descriptions of illegal drug use, its early retrospective on the culture of the 1960s, and its popularization of Thompson’s highly subjective blend of fact and fiction, it is a classic of example of what later become known as gonzo journalism. But even more than that, as these seven priceless quotes show, it’s a timeless guide to living life in the fast lane, Hunter S. Thompson style.
“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”
“Good people drink good beer.”
“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas … with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”
“Take it from me, there’s nothing like a job well done. Except the quiet enveloping darkness at the bottom of a bottle of Jim Beam after a job done any way at all.”
“The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits- a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.”
“No cop was ever born who isn’t a sucker for a finely-executed hi-speed Controlled Drift all the way around one of those clover-leaf freeway interchanges. Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. Your normal speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side when he sees the big red light behind him… and then we will start apologizing begging for mercy. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop-heart. The thing to do when you’re running along about a hundred or so and you suddenly find a red-flashing CHP-tracker on your trail what you want to do then is accelerate.”
“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
“We must ride this strange torpedo out until the end.”