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January 13, 1984 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-01-13
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Insanity
reigns
The Curse of Lono
By Hiunter S. Thompson
Bantam Books
160 p.p., $9.95
By Glen Young
P ICTURE, if you will: Upon arrival in
Hawaii to cover one of the biggest
marathons of the running season, you im-
mediately establish yourself as a menace
to the local population, and a threat to the
safety of the pre-race super-joggers.
When the day of the big event arrives, you
and your suspect friends establish a com-
mand post in a friend's yard near the finish
line. You stock-pile your garrison with the
likes of cases of beer, whiskey, TV sets,
beach umbrellas, loud music and wild
women. After you've had the opportunity
to throw down a couple quick belts of your
favorite Wild Turkey, the racers begin ap-
pearing. Now the real fun. As the dazed,
and vicious corpses drag themselves by,
you begin yelling encouragement.
"You're doomed, man, you'll never
make it."
"Hey, fat boy, how about a beer?"
"Run, you silly bastard."
"Lift those legs."
"Eat shit and die."
Then one has the strength and the
audacity to bark back, "I'll see you on my
way back." ,You refuse to give up your
ground and belch in reply, "No, you won't.
You'll never make it back. You won't even
finish! You'll collapse." A bit harsh you
say? Maybe, but not if you are decadent
journalist/novelist Hunter S. Thompson,
world-renowned doctor of the Fourth
Estate.
Our twisted friend the good Doctor is on-
ce again alive and well; his new work, The
Curse of Lono, which is centered in the
Hawaiian island of Kona, marks the first
novel the Doctor has published since that
1976 masterpiece of hodge-podge The
Great Shark Hunt. And the man is back
with a vengeance.
The marathon the Doctor agreed to
cover is the revered Honolulu Marathon, a
most sacred event in the hearts and minds

of these "body nazis" who run for religion.
Running magazine commissioned the
Doctor to come out of retirement and use
his keen perception of the human condition
to explore the whys of the running faithful.
As he offers in his first correspondence to
demented artist extraordinare Ralph
Steadman, the Doctor sees the invitation
as a wonderful excuse to spend some time
shaking up the locals on some Pacific
island four thousand or so miles from the
confines of his front porch in Wody Creek,
Colorado. Insanity reigns from the outset.
Men in airplanes who ram their arm hits
deep into the bowels of the flyingjmachine's
toilet to retrieve unmentioned substances;
a male-female team of penguins who fight
for scraps of food thrown at them by
patrons in the bar where they live; tran-
svestite, unemployed charter boat cap-
tains, and Samoan war clubs used to beat
killer marlin all add to the sense of rabid
reality the Doctor exposes us to.
Aside from all these groovy images the
Doctor conjurs up in our mind's eye, we
also see he has not lost any of his ferocious
bite during his respite. Back is the reckless
sense of abandon we have come to expect
from predecessors to The Curse of Lono.
Back, too, is his insane sense of humor and
sense of the absurd. But what is to be ex-
pected from a man who lived with a throng
of Hell's Angels back in the '60s for the
sake of exploring the myths surrounding
them. In the course of undertakings such
as this, it helps to have a sense of humor.
And the more twisted, the better.
It almost seems that if not for the sab-
batical the Doctor had taken, the novel
would have been too reminiscent of earlier
works. Because even though the edge is
there, it has matured and made the move
from the '60s and '70s to the predicament
in which we now find ourselves. The Doc-
tor says that the '80s will be ". . .avery
nasty decade, a brutal Darwinian crunch."
In this discourse he gets into why he
returned from retirement. "That is what
you miss: not the money but the ac-
tion-and that is why I finally drilled
Ralph out of his castle in Kent for a trip to
Hawaii... there was no good reason for it;
I just felt it was time to get out in the
world. . . get angry and tune the in-
struments... go to Hawaii for Christmas."
Much to the fullness of this novel are the
disturbed illustrations-of Ralph Steadman.
Steadman and the Doctor have teamed-up
on other occasions, but it too has been a
good many years since their last
collaboration. In this work, Steadman
captures both the exotic wildness of the
islands, and the disturbed rumblings of the
mind of the Doctor.

Another element which rounds out the
images of present-day Kona are the ex-
cerpts from The Letters of Mark Twain,
Richard Hough's The Last Voyage of Cap-
tain James Cook, and The Journal of
William Ellis. These excerpts give both a
historical reference point, and a
philosophical benchmark.
The Doctor, though brilliant throughout,
gives his best performance after
discovering he himself is the reincarnation
of the god Lono, the Hawaiian god of ex-
cess. It seems Lono carries some weird
religious meaning for inhabitants of this

little volcano in the Pacific. This love/fear
of Lono ultimately has serious reper-
cussions for the good Doctor.
Consider if ydu will: two quarts of Wild
Turkey, six joints of Kona Gold, naked
blonde nymphs, loud music, and Hunter S.
Thompson lounging on your front porch.
The Doctor is spewing forth fragmented
and frightening stories. Stories of fishing
for killer marlin and dropping acid on a
charter boat in the middle of a Pacific
storm. Too frightening you say? Not if
you happen to be cursed yourself.

Stew

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Calligraphy Acrylic Painting
Drawing 1&2 Ceramics
Boobik ndig n rDrawingron Right Side
Silk screening on Fabric of the Brain
Graphic Design Weaving
Leaded Glass Weavting
Photography 1&2 ireDrawing
JewelryKFitgu rwn
Watercolor 1 Knitting
scultureEnameling
Sculpture Adventures in Realism
Change your evening routine -
Try us...
Registration begins January 23. Classes begin February 6.
For a free brochure call 763-4430, or stop by Room 2400, Michigan Union
i "Michi an Council
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12 Weekend/January 13, 1984

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