Our own J.M. Tyree is on a roll. I highly recommend his brilliant essay on Hunter S. Thompson in The Believer:
Thompson’s art comes from the basic insight that American political life has become so “peculiar and baroque,” and our media so inured to accepted rituals, that if an ordinary person were to set down in words what they saw politicians saying and doing offstage, it would appear hallucinatory, as if our leaders had just stepped off a spaceship. That’s the essence of his post-factual journalistic style, which has the crispness, wit, and visceral impact of eighteenth-century court satire. Between Thompson and Norman Mailer, an entirely novel method of covering Presidential conventions came into existence during the late 1960s and early 1970s, generating a great deal of extremely good nonfiction which was really a kind of subjective delving into the cultural psyche. The portraits of Richard Nixon’s strong and very real allure drawn by both writers endure as a way in to a distasteful but deeply rooted dimension of American life, an aggrieved paranoia and almost Spartan militarism that have now found their apotheosis in the George W. Bush version of the “war on terror.”
Read the rest here.