Home > hell's angels, hst, hunter s thompson, reality TV, television, TV > Hunter S. Thompson Strikes from Beyond the Grave (sort of)

Hunter S. Thompson Strikes from Beyond the Grave (sort of)

One of the actual books (i.e., not a graphic novel or comic book or textbook) on my April reading list is Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels. I am currently on page 58, or the start of Chapter Five. Chapter Four dealt with the declination of media coverage that the Angels were getting, and their attempts to cash in on said coverage while it was hot. Eventually it got to the passage,

“But the deal fell through when the Angels offered, at $100 apiece, to terrorize any town that the TV people selected.”

Now, after the second read, it is obvious that the “TV people” in question were the producers of some mysterious television show for an unnamed network. However, I misunderstood it on the first pass. Therefore, I read it to mean the TV viewers. This is a pretty impressive proposition, and, at least in my mind, the next logical step in the evolution of reality TV.

No longer is it necessary to wait for the results of some poor bastard to do something on their own to get themselves kicked off a show. No more do we have to listen to Simon Cowell verbally do something we’d rather do physically (you know, destroy a person’s existence.) No, all we, the armchair voyeurs we are, would have to do is text–at a moderate fee–our vote for the U.S. town to next be ravaged by a chain-wielding gang of motorcycle freaks. It’s proactive destruction from the comfort of your own home. You could know that you played a small part in the decimation of an entire U.S. city. No longer would you have yell at the screen to tell them what you would have done or said… you can just say it, quickly and decisively, with your cell phone and the proper mindset.

Think about it this way: we thrive on destruction, pain, and misery. The popularity of such esteem-destroying shows like American Idol, gross-out shows like Survivor or the like, or the sheer voyeurism of Big Brother could easily be compressed into this one show. Interviews (or “raps”) with each member of the gang could be intercut, like The Real World.

So then, what we have, is really a show that has it all. Really. It All. It appeals to those basest, sickest urges that we have, the desires to kill and devour and destroy and rape and pillage.

All from the safety of our own homes.

Advertisers would flock to it. People would never turn it off. It would be The Running Man, but you could control who died. Well, maybe not who, but where. And maybe not where, but in the general vicinity. Maybe regionally. But there is nothing more globally saliva-inducing than death, destruction, sex, filth, and the puerile entertainment afforded by said behaviors. It’s rubbernecking without the pain of turning your head. It’s like watching a boxing match without having money on the line: you don’t really care who wins, but you know someone’s going to get fucked up bad.

It’s the future of network television, I swear.

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