Something very interesting must be outside that window…

Aaaaaannnnnnnd we’re back! Sorry about the week long silence, faithful reader. I’ve just been stuck trying to figure out what the hell I was going to next. With all the I Know What I Like posts, this thing was in danger of becoming solely a music blog, and I can’t have that. Not just yet. So I’ve decided to go full speed ahead on an idea I’ve had rattling around my head for the last couple of months and rip-off Todd Alcott.

For those of you who have no idea who I’m talking about, Todd Alcott is a screenwriter living in L.A. (I know, that statement was an oxymoron; what other city would even accept screenwriters?) He (according to IMDB) is one of the three writes responsible for one of my favorite childhood VHS staples, Antz, and for that I’ll be forever thankful to him. He’s also a man who’s been blogging at least since March 2006, writing brilliant articles about superhero movies, film in general and recapping episodes of The Venture Bros. when he has the time. Go check him out; he’s a far better writer than I’ll probably ever be.
Now the reason I mention the good Mr. Alcott is that I want to shamelessly suck up to someone far more popular than I he always starts his analyses of films (multi-part epics in their own right on the internet) with one simple question: what does the protagonist want? It’s both the first fundamental question of screenwriting (hell, of all fiction writing) and the tagline for his site.  It’s a simple enough question that has to be answered at some point; what force gets the protagonist out of bed that morning and ” I’m a go do this thing.” To that end let us look at Raoul Duke, main character of both the infamous book and infamous cult film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Why? Well, why not I say. Duke seems like an interesting enough fellow for a rambling jackass like me to talk about.
He seems very happy about the prospect of some amateur making facile analyzing of his character
What does Raoul Duke (and, by extension, Hunter S. Thompson) want? To hear him tell it he wants to find The American Dream. And I do believe that he does want to do that, or at the very least a part of him does. But looking at the character, his “misadventures” in Las Vegas during 1971 and see something else. Somewhere underneath all the damn drug trips, violent outbursts and generally manic behavior lies an unspoken want. A need that has not, and probably never will, be fulfilled. Well, two needs actually: the need to believe in something and the need to belong.
And he found that place in the San Francisco in the middle ’60’s. He was part of something then; some grand transformative force that though-no,believed deep in their souls-that they could take on and change the world with just they’re energy. They were high-powered freak, running rampant and mad across the world. to paraphrase the madman himself, he could drive down to anywhere and just know, for certain, that there were people as high and wild as he was.
Then it all came crashing down. The movement self-destructed, turned into a violent mess and he was left out in the wilderness; to fend for himself in the terrible, heartless and dull world of Richard Nixon’s America. He was able to find others, fellow “lost seekers”, but they could never gather as they did for those mad, mad, mad couple of years. But he won’t find it in the 70’s. This realization, I think, crushes him immensely and causes, to him, a unique kind of depression. Not the depression of knowing that the party’s over, but the depression of knowing that the dream of a better future is dead and no one had either the will nor the power to revive it.
So Thompson (nee Duke) cannot belong to the world as it is and he cannot change it. He cannot fulfill his central desire.   So he goes the only way, in his eyes. he can: get as high as humanly possible (or perhaps beyond humanly possible) and avoid reality like it’s an old high school acquaintance you don’t care to talk to, Ned to Duke’s Phil Connors. It threatens to catch up with him (the increasing number of crimes and public disturbances couldn’t go unnoticed forever) but never does for him, at least in story. I suppose that’s a decent enough consolation prize.
That’s all I’ve got, honestly. If you have something else or you think I’m a complete and utter moron who doesn’t truly understand the story and how dare I even think I could, go on ahead and write your own look at Hunter Stockton Thompson aka “Raoul Duke”. This, as are all things on this blog, is just my say on the matter.

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