Ashley Gilbertson Photojournalists On War: The Untold Stories from Iraq. University of Texas Press, May, 2013. In Saddam’s hometown, a US Marine slides down a marble handrail in one of the dictator’s extravagant palaces, Tikrit, April 14, 2003.
“Greek and Roman mythology had never been my favorite subject at school,” begins the excerpt, “but as I grew older I began to appreciate the legends and to realize that they contained a vivid world of adventure with wonderful heroes, villains and, most importantly, lots of fantastic creatures. In the late 1950s, the producer Charles H. Schneer and I discussed filming a Greek legend. Between us we read all of them and decided on Jason and his search for the Golden Fleece. This would allow us the most flexibility for high adventure and fantasy. So it was that what would be known as Jason and the Argonauts was born, and of all the films that I have been connected with, it continues to please me most.”
In his upcoming book Who Killed Hunter S. Thompson? Hinckle argues that the true departure, setting Thompson apart from early efforts in “New Journalism” as practiced by Wolfe and Terry Southern, was “Hunter’s hallucinatory stimulant-fueled novelistic attention given, on a sporting assignment, not to the horses but to the outdoor loony bin of boozed-up burgher spectators. It was the first look through the other end of the binoculars usually trained on the four-footed beasts.” The story also offered an early instance of people questioning the literal veracity of Thompson’s writing. His friend William Kennedy said the piece marked “a moment where he used all his fictional talent to describe and anatomize those characters and just make it all up. I’m sure some of it was real.”
“I was sure it was the last article I was ever going to do for anybody,” Thompson said in a 1974 interview with Playboy. “Then when it came out, there were massive numbers of letters, phone calls, congratulations, people calling it a ‘great breakthrough in journalism.’ And I thought, ‘Holy shit, if I can write like this and get away with it, why should I keep trying to write like the New York Times?’ It was like falling down an elevator shaft and landing in a pool full of mermaids.”
I’m sure at least a couple of those mermaids woud sustain pretty serious head injuries.