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|Title:||Learning from Fear &Loathing in Las Vegas: Nostalgia as the Forgetful Reification of Historical Form|
|Abstract:||<p>This thesis marks the first critical fulJ-length treatment of Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and examines how "history" constitutes a central problematic in his career-long fascination with America. In this context, "history" designates the fluid interchange between two modes of periodization: memory and nostalgia. Using a recently published collection of his personal correspondence, a close reading of his foray into political activism and considering Fear &#.Dathing in #.Ds Vegas in light of his career, I treat Thompson as a critical theorist of American pop culture. As such, I compare his Gonzo aesthetic to the more rigorousJy developed cultural critique of Frankfurt School critical theorist Herbert Marcuse, whose impact on the New Left puts him in a position roughly contemporaneous to Thompson. Marcuse's concept of one-dimensional culture and embrace of negative critique provides a theoretical framework by which to understand how Thompson's trademarked phrase "Fear and Loathing" serves as a trope more closely affiliated to existential nausea than it is to its immediate referent, drug-addled paranoia. The above distinction between different "histories" belongs to Fredric Jameson, whose theorization of the postmodern reveals how history is constituted by both objective fact and subjective narrative. More precisely, I am applying this model to Thompson because of both his staws as a pop cultural celebrity and also his own attempts at periodization as evinced by his fascination with the Sixties. Finally, I discuss Jean Baudrillard's contention that pop culture is constituted by simulation in relation to Thompson's frantic vision of American pop culture within F&LLV. Simulation here serves as a process homologous to the contest between memory and nostalgia in the construction of history. iii</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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