Who's doing Fear and Loathing 2008 (and doing it well)?
January 3, 2008 9:00 PM   Subscribe

So Hunter S Thompson's dead and I don't really know which writers to turn to, as the American election year gets underway, who can bring the mad skills, the savage wit, and the dedication to cutting through the usual bullshit. Wanna-be gonzo schtick I'm not so excited by; clear, fearless, honest voices for the win! Drug references optional.

Your suggestions most welcome. I don't have access to any North American or European print publications, so, for me at least, I'd prefer writers whose work I can get to online.

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Matt Taibbi can be pretty amusing. I think he generally writes in Rolling Stone and you can read him on AlterNet.
posted by ecab at 9:04 PM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I enjoy much of Matt Taibbi's writing. For a sample, here's his indictment of the 109th Congress (written, as much of what he does is, for Rolling Stone).
posted by bijou at 9:06 PM on January 3, 2008

Thirding Taibbi. Best there is.
posted by pinto at 9:47 PM on January 3, 2008

PJ O'roarke is funny, but he's on the wrong side of me, politically. Too bad Dave Mustaine isn't a journalist.
posted by skybolt at 10:10 PM on January 3, 2008

Man, I don't believe it. I clicked in here from my feed reader specifically to recommend Matt Taibi. Anyway, here's his RSS feed at Alternet.
posted by evariste at 10:17 PM on January 3, 2008

A year ago, I would have recommended The News Blog. It was run by a brilliant man named Steve Gilliard, whose voice was intense and personal and quintessentially New Yorker. He wrote a 27-episode piece on colonial warfare, to put Iraq in historical context for once. A good sample of Steve's work can be found here. But just as valuable, the community and discussions there were just superb. I learned so much.

He died, seven months ago, at the age of friggin' forty-two - an infected heart valve. It was incredibly painful to watch. But he inspired so many other people that a few of his most eloquent readers went on to start the Group News Blog in his honor.

One fellow, LowerManhattanite, is a lonetime favorite. Yes, another New Yorker. And in the same vein, Driftglass was also one of the heavy hitter's at Steve's place. You're also going to want to tune in to the likes of Tavis Smiley, and black media in general - it's a perspective that will almost never shows up on the major networks.
posted by laughinglikemad at 10:26 PM on January 3, 2008

Taibbi is sick of the comparison to Hunter, btw. Here's a recent article he wrote about Obama.
posted by homunculus at 10:35 PM on January 3, 2008

Fourthing Taibbi. Love him. I hit the refresh on Alternet almost as much as MeFi just to jump on his new contributions.
posted by vito90 at 10:35 PM on January 3, 2008

Evariste's link didn't work for me. But this one does: Rss feed for Matt Taibbi.
posted by Manjusri at 11:02 PM on January 3, 2008

I'm glad you asked this question- I was really missing Hunter S. Thompson today.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:09 PM on January 3, 2008

"Taibbi dropped acid then interviewed the former chief of the Office of National Drug Policy—while wearing a Viking helmet."

Seems a bit disingenuous to complain about the comparision while stealing a page from his playbook.
posted by Manjusri at 11:15 PM on January 3, 2008

nthing Taibbi. And you should probably go back and look at Taibbi's NYPress stuff, before he got the Rolling Stone gig.

Taibbi made the point in one of those columns, back in 2003/4, that if sports writers swapped beats with political reporters for a week, it would change the face of American politics and political media. He may hate the comparison, but I think he follows Thompson in the sense that both are sports writer doing politics according to the tenets of sports journalism -- tolerate no bullshit from the people you're covering, attempt to minimise bullshit when writing, assume your readers have a hair-trigger bullshit detector -- in his own reporting. (He also ran 'Wimblehack', a knockout competition pitting political media whores against one another.) It's that clear-eyed sensibility, rather than the drugs, booze, lowlifes and bizarro, is what made HST the great, oh-so-fucking-missed icon he was.
posted by holgate at 11:48 PM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Garry Trudeau. Not exactly prose writing, but Doonesbury maintains that gonzo feel even today. You can also have it delivered to your inbox daily [as I have for several years].
posted by rhinny at 2:49 AM on January 4, 2008

I hear there's a fellow named Matt Taibbi who's pretty good.
posted by briank at 6:24 AM on January 4, 2008

Also love the Taibbi. Saw him first on the daily show when he was plugging his book "Spanking the Donkey" for the last election. I picked up the book and have been reading his columns on RS/Alternet since. Hopefully he'll make an equally spiteful tome for the 2008 election season.
posted by ijoyner at 6:32 AM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: I'm starting to perceive by the paucity of variety here that there's a wordwhoring niche I could occupy with the right goddamn friends, you know, if I gave a shit. Which wasn't my reason for posting this, but. Hey.

Just talking, please: more, other, if you've got 'em, with thanks!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:43 AM on January 4, 2008

holgate writes "And you should probably go back and look at Taibbi's NYPress stuff, before he got the Rolling Stone gig."

I think the the whole eXile saga is just fascinating. What a weird career path this guy has had.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:10 AM on January 4, 2008

OK, I love me some Phil Nugent.

Also, James Wolcott can be fabulously cutting.

And then, there's Digby.

Still mourning the loss of Billmon. He was the best.
posted by pammo at 11:17 AM on January 4, 2008

I think the the whole eXile saga is just fascinating. What a weird career path this guy has had.

The Moscow Times and eXile have offered unorthodox apprenticeships, that's for sure, but no more unorthodox than HST's. I think that says something about the standard career paths, and offers pointers to where one might find other interesting takes on the campaign trail. I'd like the Guardian to assign Swells for it (columns here) though he's had a run-in with cancer recently, so he may not be up to the battle-bus bullshit.

(And as much as I miss Gilliard and Billmon, and respect the other cited commentators, their work isn't/wasn't campaign reporting.)
posted by holgate at 2:06 PM on January 4, 2008

Seconding Phil Nugent. I'm continually impressed by his blog entries, and I look forward to reading it more than any other "(political)" commentary precisely because it's not "(political commentary)".
posted by kiltedtaco at 3:00 PM on January 4, 2008

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride (2006).
posted by acro at 6:00 PM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:19 PM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: Long later, but I've been reading Taibbi, including, just now, his latest, and even if I agree with much of what he has to say, he's not actually a very good writer. I'm a little disappointed. Still, again, thanks for the suggestions.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:56 AM on March 28, 2008

Response by poster: Well, OK, perhaps I spoke too soon. He is a pretty good writer, particularly in these days of lowered expectations, but he's not a great writer. I was hoping to discover one. Ah well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:57 AM on March 28, 2008

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