« Owl Farm NORML Party for Hunter | Home | Albert Einstein and Elizabeth Taylor »

The AntiFreedom

            Hi! It’s been a while. I’ve been under the weather but feeling much better now.  A journalist named Andreas Rosenfelder came from Germany yesterday to spend the afternoon with me at Owl Farm to do an interview for German Vanity Fair. It was great to spend the day talking about Hunter. Andreas was well versed in all of Hunter’s work and also read the advance copy of the Gonzo Way thoroughly. So it was a pleasure.

            I wrote in my book that  in my view, the bond that Hunter and Jack Kerouac shared, more than anything, was their love of freedom. I talked about how I think that Hunter decided as a child to become a writer not just because he was good at it, but because it is the profession that would offer him the most freedom. Jack and Hunter understood that you can go anywhere, at anytime and do anything, as long as you write about it.  I also wrote that b/c Hunter was so obsessed with freedom, he figured out at a young age what is it in life that could restrict your freedom. What is the antifreedom?  I think he figured out it must be fear.  Fear is the antifreedom.  I’ve never met anyone who learned to conquer fear better than Hunter.  How did he conquer it?  He studied it.  Hell’s Angels is a perfect example. 

            Anyway, it was good to talk about these things with Andreas.  VF also flew in a photo crew who took a zillion photos. We even went out into the fields to take a photo of me sitting Buddha style on a shotgun keg. It was fun but a little exhausting. The photographer, Jack Coble, came back today to take some stills of the kitchen and living room – he’s in there now, taking photos of the cats in the kitchen. I put a sheet of Hunter’s stationary in the typewriter for the shoot.  It was great to hear the typewriter humming again. There was nothing like the sound of Hunter’s fingers on those keys.

            Today’s wisdom comes from the beginning of the second chapter of Hell’s Angels. He lead the chapter with the following:


The daily press is the evil principle of the modern world, and time will only serve to disclose this fact with greater and greater clearness.  The capacity of the newspaper for degeneration is sophistically without limit, since it can always sink lower and lower in its choice of readers.  At last it will stir up all those dregs of humanity which no state or government can control. 

Soren Kierkegaard  The Last Years: Journals 1853 – 55

The best thing about the Angels is that we don’t lie to each other.  Of course that don’t go for outsiders because we have to fight fire with fire.  Hell, most people you meet won’t tell you the truth about anything.

         Zorro, the only Brazilian Hell’s Angel.


It was part of the cover story.

         Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., explaining why he wrapped the press with a bogus explanation of the Bay of Pigs invsion.


             Politicians, like editors and cops, are very keen on outrage stories, and State Senator Fred Farr of Monterey County is no exception.  He is a leading light of the Carmel-Pebble Beach set and no friend of hoodlums anywhere, especially gang rapists who invade his constituency.  His reaction to the Monterey headlines was quick and loud.  Farr demanded an immediate investigation of the Hell’s Angels and all others of that breed, whose lack of status caused them to be lumped together as “other disreputables.’  In the cut-off world of big bikes, long runs and classy rumbles, this new, state-sanctioned stratification made the Hell’s Angels very  big.  They were, after all, Number One – like John Dillinger.

            Attorney General Thomas C, Lynch, then new to his job, moved quickly to mount an investigation of sorts.  He sent questionnaires to more than a hundred sheriffs, district attorneys and police chiefs, asking for information on the Hell’s Angels and “other disreputables.’  He also asked for suggestions as to how the law might deal with them. 

            Six months went by before all the replies were condensed into a fifteen-page report that read like a plot synopsis of Mickey Spillanes’ worst dreams…

            The report was colorful, interesting, heavily biased and consistently alarming – just the sort of thing to make a clanging good item for the national press.  There was plenty of mad action, senseless destruction, orgies, brawls, perversions and a strange parade of innocent victims that, even on paper was enough to tax the credulity of the dullest police reporter.  The demand was so heavy in newspaper and magazine circles that the Attorney General’s office had to order a second printing…

            …by the time the dust had settled, the national news media had a guaranteed grabber on their hands.  It was sex, violence, crime, craziness and filth – all in one package. 

            …The Hell’s Angels shuddered with perverse laughter at the swill that had been written about them.  Other outlaws shuddered with envy at the Angel’s sudden fame.  Cops all over California shuddered with nervous glee at the prospect of their next well-publicized run-in with any group of motorcyclists.  And some people shuddered at the realization that time had 3,042,902 readers.

            …part of the report stated that of 463 identified Hell’s Angels, 151 had felony convictions.  This is the kind of statistic that gives taxpayers faith in their law enforcement agencies…and it would have been doubly edifying if the 463 Hell’s Angels had actually existed when the statistic was committed to print.  Unfortunately, there were less than 100. 

         Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angles.

Until next time, your friend, not afraid of the Hell’s Angels,

Anita Thompson





Email this to a friend

Email this entry to:
To prevent misuse of this service, only one recipient is allowed per email

Your Name* : required
Your Email* : required

* This information is used for the sole purpose of identifying you in this email you are sending. We at Owl Farm hate spam just as much as you do, and will never sell or give out any of your personal information to third parties. Ever.