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McGovern, Nixon and Columbia University

Hi there.  I’m happy to be back in touch with you after an action packed week.  George McGovern sends his love.  He was in town for a board meeting. Seeing George of course put me in the mood for Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail… Here’s a great image of the man who was the exact opposite of the Senator:

… and it is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character almost every other country in the world has learned to fear and despise. Our Barbie doll President, with his Barbie doll wife and his box-full of Barbie doll children is also America’s answer to the monstrous Mr. Hyde. He speaks for the werewolf in us; the bully, the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable, full of claws and bleeding string-warts, on nights when the moon comes too close. . . .

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 four hundred identical balconies is the one outside Martha MitcheIl’s apartment. . . .

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72



So I started my first week of classes.  Columbia is an elegant place where each class is like going to see a guest speaker — one who assigns an ungodly amount of reading — but the payoff is huge.  And yes, everywhere I turn, I’m reminded of Hunter, who walked these halls and sat in these classrooms (of course before he moved to Big Sur where he discovered guns, and before he moved to Woody Creek, where he discovered guns as a way of life –whether the gun was a 12 gauge or an IBM Selectric typewriter.)  
          Anyway, Columbia REALLY IS all it’s cracked up to be.  The staff and administrators are wildly impressive, and what I’ve seen so far from the students is that they are actually exited to be in class and learning from some of the best professors in the country. The same goes for the dashing President Bollinger who happens to teach my Constitutional Law Class on the First Amendment. He considers it a privilege to teach the course and it shows. That attitude might explain the massive waiting list for this class of 150 students. 

How about Fun? You ask?  In addition to the initial INTIMIDATION and FEAR, yes, I’m indeed having FUN.  That’s my job.

Until next time, your friend buried in books,
Anita Thompson 



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