It’s a forgotten fact that a sizable share of the voting population regularly consumed hallucinogenics from the late sixties until the early 80s, when physical nerve excitement gained the ascendancy. LSD, in crude terms, is voluntary insanity. It makes you go bipolar. Nobody knows precisely how many people took it, or for how long, or the intensity of the doses, or who was doing the calibration of all the blotter and purple micro dot and mescaline being swallowed. We only know that at some point during the metaphysical bar mitzvah, when the heroes of World War II handled the mantle of glory to their sons, somebody pushed the reset button, and the heirs to be opted to completely erase their genetic card and start acting like salivating rats in the laboratory of life.
Enter Hunter S. Thompson – the Daniel Defoe of hallucinogenics.Thompson’s Journal of the Plague Year was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Defoe clinically charted the deaths, village to village, week to week, parish to parish. Thompson clinically charted the self-imposed decline, from road stop to road stop. Here is Defoe’s introductory note to the Journal:
“being observations or memorials
of the most remarkable occurrences,
as well public as private, which happened in
London during the last great visitation in 1665.
Written by a Citizen who continued
all the while in London.
Never made public before.”
Thompson described his annals as a “savage journey to the heart of the American dream.”
Defoe described the increase in burials in St Giles in the Fields or St Andrews or Holborns.Thompson described the origins of the plague, one which was afflicting equal numbers in America:
“We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicoloured uppers, downers, screamers, laughers…Also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls…But the only thing that worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible than a man in the depths of an ether binge…”
It’s hard to know what the numbers are. But if twenty per cent of young adults were strung out on acid during the period when their cerebral cortex hardened, and those people are aged fifty to eighty today and didn’t have the good sense to terminate the experiment like Thompson did in Woody Creek back in 2005, not even the supermarkets are safe.