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November 30, 2008

Stating the Obvious: Don’t Be Caught Dead At Wal-Mart

MANHATTAN – Landing at La Guardia last night after Thanksgiving at home in the Rockies, was as tense a scene I’ve witnessed in the 3 years studying in the city. The taxi line was out of control as the supervisor nearly came to blows with a father who refused to get into the cab of a screaming driver. More people in line started to shout and I managed to jump into a nearby taxicab, whose driver was clearly agitated as he sped off, screeching around the corner, pinning me and my backpack against the opposite door of the back seat. He let off the pedal after I managed to climb upright to ask him to PLEASE CALM DOWN.

It’s getting tense and going to be a long winter, I thought. Yes, the headlines are dominated by a failing economy, the tragic attacks on Mumbai — another wave of violence by a nebulous enemy and uncertainty as to where the next attack will be.

But I must admit, the news that has haunted me most was the mob violence at a Wal-Mart store a few miles from Manhattan.  I’m not a sociologist or a psychologist, so can anyone explain how you can continue to shop after a man has just been trampled to death?  When your children unwrap that Nintendo on Christmas morning (or Eve if you’re Catholic) do you say "Yes dear, we got a great deal on that! We ran like hell to get to it before anyone else.  Sorry that poor man got in our way."

Please help me answer this question on Huffpo:

Your friend,

Anita Thompson

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November 07, 2008

Annie Mae Rosemond, 105


Annie Mae Rosemond, 105, wears her "I Voted" sticker after casting her vote at the YWCA in Greenville, South Carolina .  I just had to post this photo, as it is one of the most moving images I’ve ever seen.

Annie Mae was born under Jim Crow laws. That same year W.E.B DuBois, one of America’s most important intellectuals, published The Souls of Black Folk, explaining that the colorline is the  problem of the 20th century. 105 years later, Annie Mae cast her ballot for the first black president. Res Ipsa Loquitur.

Anita Thompson

p.s. The photo was taken by Mary Ann Chastain for the Associated Press.

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November 05, 2008

Across The Bay Of Bengal

The election of Barack Obama is indeed exhilarating, historic and an honor to be a part of. I’m not an Obamabot with eyes glazed over , but I am thrilled  to see the happy and grateful faces on the TV screen and students/faculty around campus. The American Studies department at Columbia is already in a tizzy to figure out what this all means. Is Obama’s election a fluke in the style of a beloved Jimmy Carter, who had a hostile congress at his throat? Or do we actually have the making of a new era? I think the latter.

Regardless, let’s relish the moment. There is so much work to be done, that it will take an exceptional leader to show us how to unite and bring some peace, civil liberties, general freedom and fun back to our lives. And Barack Obama has met the challenge already. John McCain certainly joined Obama in the job of uniting the country last night, and I was moved. Avanti.

Here’s one of my favorite passages that was Hunter’s original Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas  introduction, which he didn’t publish it at the time. He is writing about being part of a moment in history when it was possible, which makes this election that much more exceptional to me:

Yeah…maybe so, and if that’s the way it happens…well, at least I’ll know I was there neck deep in the madness, before the deal went down, and I got so high and wild that I felt like a two-ton Manta Ray jumping all the way across the Bay of Bengal.

It was a good way to go, and I recommend it highly — at least for those who can stand the trip.

Hunter S. Thompson, The Great Shark Hunt

On that beautiful note, I just want to mention that I’m checking out for a while. I have piled my plate up with the last month of studies for this semester, including a major paper on W.E.B. Du Bois, final edits on the Interview Book, "Ancient Gonzo Wisdom," LSAT preparations and Woody Creeker projects. (My heroic friend Jerri Merrit has started a template to bring the Woody Creeker online!).  Eventually, I’ll have regular columnists and articles from past and present for you to keep in touch with the gonzo family in Woody Creek, which stretches from Lenado to Kent, England, to Australia and god knows where — if you love Hunter, you’re included.

I’ll still be posting on Huffington Post, and Talkleft I’m sure. And will check in here periodically. If you have quotes from Hunter’s work you’d like me to post, email them. But for now, I have to tend to other priorities. This blog has been a saving grace for my spirit, and I can’t thank you enough for your support and emails over the last few years. I’m not going anywhere, just a quiet preparatation for a month or two or so. Check in for Hunter’s wisdom as often as you’d like. Hope to catch up with you soon. Lots of love to you.

Until next time, your friend,

Anita Thompson

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November 04, 2008

President Obama!

The title says it all, really.  Hooray!

I’m still not sure which I’m cheering for more, Obama’s election or the fact that this marks the end of the political ads and phone calls…

– A very tired (but still ecstatic) Peter B

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The Winds of Change

Hello on this early morning at Owl Farm. It’s crisp and cloudy with the first major snow storm on the way. I arrived late Thursday hoping to make it for the Patti and George Stranahan’s going away party. You may have heard they sold their ranch, and have moved to warmer climes, 30 minutes down valley to Carbonale. They tried to move in 1984, but Hunter wouldn’t let them. My initial reaction was denial and tears, but I’m happy for them now and wish them all the best.  Besides, I don’t mind the drive down Highway 82, especially now that I have a car!

So, indeed here we are, on Election Day, feeling the winds of change. Good lord, the high frequency vibe that may or may not end this evening is breathtaking.

Voting early on Friday,  at county clerks office, I didn’t realize I’d have to stand at the same counter where Hunter and I were married one early morning at about this hour. Standing at the EXACT spot on voting day made me rewind, like a movie, all the events to election day 2000, when Hunter & I, and probably you too, didn’t talk about anything but politics for months. My god. Nobody could have scripted such a miserable beginning to a New Century. But sometimes it takes a while to get the kinks out when you start something new, they say…

Feeling very much alone standing next to that now vacant spot at the marriage license counter, I almost bolted. Then I saw the sweet face of young Mathew Goldstein. His mom, Chris, had stood right there as a witness on that wedding morning. Bizarre. Mathew Smiled and talked about his application process to college. And as he talked, I connected the dots enough to remember, once again, that it’s the young people that are key to our future, right?  Hunter communicated with young and old on a level that only a child at heart can do, and thus, Hunter’s spirit was indeed there in the room with us. So, with a lifted spirit, I stuck it out at the counter.

My vote? I simply filled in the mark for Obama — twice. The paper almost soaked through with double marker ink.  Ditto our beloved neighbor and county commissioner Michael Owsley who also got Hunter’s, and my vote, through my marker.

And, our gonzo angel from across the pond, Ralph wrote this morning a personal note, and included a message for all us Americans. Ralph put his money on Obama from the very start (with a few ups and downs along the way) and was, as always the most welcome voice to read this morning.  

Here is Ralph Steadman writing to you from Kent, England:

America- GO FOR IT!! and bring about the change that will also change the world. Exercise your native intelligence. Lead, if you have to, but remember that you will be demonstrating that real democracy can only work if basic decency fuels the journey.  PLEASE AMERICA!!  DON’T CHEAT AGAIN!!!

Thanks Ralph!

I’ll be landing at Laguardia tonight, and will be holding my breath the entire flight. The TV screens at the NY terminal will be showing blue blue blue across the map with sweet Doug Brinkley’s face on CBS explaining the historic day! I can see it. And, wherever you are Hunter, I know you can see it too.

Your friend,

Anita Thompson

P.S. It’s such a pity that John McCain let himself be hijacked by the Republican party. I think he is a decent guy and it’s a bummer that someone with a good spirit has to lose. (Well, hopefully has to lose…)

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