In this 1967 televised confrontation, Hells Angel says Hunter S. Thompson's book is "sixty percent cheap trash"

Originally published at: In this 1967 televised confrontation, Hells Angel says Hunter S. Thompson's book is "sixty percent cheap trash" | Boing Boing


Even if that figure is true, it’s still 33% less cheap trash than the composition of the Hells Angels [sic] membership.


Only 60%? That must be one of his better novels.


My grandparents used to own a bar in Santa Cruz in the 1960’s. They would sometimes tell me stories about Hells Angel’s with names like Tiny and Kick-start that frequented their bar and were friendly to them. One day my grandmother mentioned that some of the Angel’s they knew were written about in a book. She went to her library and pulled out an old paperback copy of HST’s Hell’s Angel’s and handed it to me. This was my introduction to Hunter S. Thompson.


It’s unfortunate that he agreed with what I suspect was the “conventional wisdom” of the time but there’s a very critical bit you left out of the biker’s story about what caused the falling out between the Hell’s Angels and Thompson.

So Thompson, at a gathering of Hell’s Angels, stood up to a biker who was beating his wife and got beaten himself in the process. I think that deserves some kudos.


Sonny Barger, Oakland Hells Angel President, moved into a McMansion in Scottsdale/Cave Creek back in the early 2000’s. Never have I met a more ridiculously stupid moron, a professional whiner / man baby / racist / bigot / know it all fun sponge. After that encounter [I was the hired photographer], when ever he showed up at motorcycle shows / meet ups I and many other just fired up our bikes & split. The guy is everything that motorcycles DON’T stand for, total creep and that goes for all “outlaw” MC’s. Aholes one and all.

P.S. Gonzo doesn’t get a pass for agreeing with this dude & his BS either.


A book about the Hell’s Angels is 60% trash?

I’m guessing 40% of the book isn’t related to the Angels then.


Well, that’s just disgusting all around. I never finished Hell’s Angels because I couldn’t get past the first 50 pages or so of what seemed like Thompson defending a gang rape. This video and the audience reaction tells me I didn’t miss a damn thing and even those who may have been on the right side were only marginally and grudgingly so.

Also, was that Joan Baez in the audience at about 4:25?


Sure looks like her. You know, we could do some research and see if she was in town at the time. Could be she was taping a spot in another CBC studio and they needed to fill out the audience.


The thunderous applause is what really shocked me about this segment.


Imagine: a lawless thug is dissatisfied with the way he’s portrayed in a book. That almost never happens.


Per this site… it’s Joan.


I’m done for the day, sad.


Between The Wild One in 1953 and the Altamont fiasco in 1969, mainstream society—which was itself horrible by modern standards—didn’t know what to think about these edgy biker boys

They were like the 4chan of the '60s


Yeah, I’m not saying he didn’t have his moments. His book about the '72 presidential campaign is interesting.

But I’m not sure there was a more overrated writer in the last century.* For every interesting moment, especially in his columns, there were about 50 linear feet of really average-at-best stuff where he was just going through the motions of performing his “Hunter S. Thompson” character.

* I know some people would argue for Hemingway or Bukowski. It’s a strong field!


See also: Altamont.

(ETA: @smulder already mentioned)

When I heard the “I agree” my initial reaction was that he ‘agreed’ that this happened and not that he agreed this is the way it should happen.

Does this deserve any real deeper critical analysis… probably not… given the ‘setup’ context and the braying audience.

This struck a chord with me with regard to biker gangs and right wing thug gangs in general - Proud “Boys”. Brotherhood and an aversion to thinking too deeply i.e. infantilism seems to run deep in their core structure.


I hear it the same way. Hunter wasn’t validating that shitty man child.

Definitely looks like her, nice catch!

1 Like

I’m not sure what show this was, but I do see that the medias fatuous ‘both-sidism’, as well as their kowtowing to blue collar fascism goes way way back.