Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blog 11: Gonzo +

Throughout The Scum Also Rises, I felt inundated by the resemblances to what Thompson was saying about the weather to what he was saying about the political climate in the city.  Several words are repeated to make the heat, the rain and the discomfort level real to the reader and show how this permeates people's actions.

The description of the hot rain in the beginning relates to the sweat and discomfort that Thompson himself feels as he lounges by the pool in his wet bathingsuit.  Also, people's "eyes cloud over" (308), there is "lashing" rain on the windshield which is the same way that Nixon lashes the kelp on his arm, and the water sucking at Nixon's ankles proves that the weather is a powerful force.  The remark about being strapped to the bed in his sleep (305) also reinforces a discomfort in tone that reminds me of the lashing.  The reference to the fog Nixon disappears into at the end shows the continuity of this message.

(Did anyone else catch the allusion to TS Eliot on page 308?)

Another recurring word that I found interesting was balls.  Whether they were eyeballs, balls of sweat or breaking balls, there were several mentions to the circular shape which typically means regrowth, rebirth and continuity.  Interesting, considering we are looking for rot, dissipation, decomposition.  Perhaps this leads to the opinion that these actions are circular; this Nixon scandal will be cleaned up but that doesn't mean that the 'rot, dissipation, decomposition' will never again infiltrate the the White House or the govt.

The fog at the end shows the chaos that Nixon threw the govt and country into when he began this scandal.  Quite a way to end the article with all the weather allusions pointed out throughout the story.  As stated previously, the weather ties with the climate of the city.  But I find it interesting that the honky tonk (some may consider it primitive entertainment and I may be speaking rashly) is juxtaposed with the center of the country, the center of intelligence: Washington, DC.

Question: Did anyone else notice the 'balls' recurrence?  Did that stand for anything to you?


  1. I did not notice the recurring balls, but I did appreciate your analysis of it. Perhaps it has something to do with the 'castration' of Washington from a formerly strong, masculine administration?

    I also liked your mention of the country music juxtaposition. I wasn't sure whether Thompson included it to provide an element of simplicity compared to the hectic political world, or if, perhaps, he was trying to convey emotional pain (which country music does so well). I also noted the titles of the songs, one of which included ... "I Smell a Rat".

  2. I didn't catch the balls reference either or knew that it meant rebirth but that is interesting.