Since reanimating this project, I’ve focused on Duke’s time abroad, first as a colonial administrator in American Samoa and then as American ambassador to China, examining his symbolic role in Doonesbury. Beyond his original appearance as a caricature of Hunter S. Thompson, Duke personifies the selfishness, cynicism, and greed that increasingly defined American culture as, … Continue reading “Sickening Acts of Total Insanity” : Hunter Thompson, Duke and Garry Trudeau (The Gonzo Chronicles, Part X)
Nineteen-seventy-five was a good year for Garry Trudeau. Doonesbury was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, and GBT became the first comic-strip creator to win a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. Growing appreciation for Trudeau’s work landed him a spot on the cover of Time in February 1976. Winning the Pulitzer wasn’t Trudeau’s only … Continue reading Perceptions So Frank and Candid They Were Practically Classified: Garry Trudeau in China (The Gonzo Chronicles, Part IX)
Welcome back. Let’s look at two episodes from Duke’s time in China, each of which engage with the politics of cultural expression in the context of China’s emergence from the Cultural Revolution. The first arc deals with Chinese opera; the second with the unexpected appearance of an American pop song at a Beijing function. *** … Continue reading The Gonzo Chronicles, Part VIII: “Automatic Weapons Fire Is the Overture.”
In 1984, I was a first-year student at John Abbott College in suburban Montreal. In my last year of high school, I had heard about a John Abbott English teacher named Rod Smith, who taught a course titled “The Vision and the Apocalypse," which focused on books and films that came out of, or dealt … Continue reading The Gonzo Chronicles, Part I. “That Place Where the Wave Finally Broke and Rolled Back”: Reconciling Duke and Hunter S. Thompson.