Saturday, October 23, 2004
Courtesy of our esteemed colleagues at Norwegianity, here's Hunter S. Thompson on Muhammad Ali on George Bush. Recall that Mr. Thompson approaches electoral politics from the posture of a sports bettor, and does not pick his horses based on sentiment:
Immediately after the first debate ended I called Muhammad Ali at his home in Michigan, but whoever answered said the champ was laughing so hard that he couldn't come to the phone. "The debate really cracked him up," he chuckled. "The champ loves a good ass-whuppin'. He says Bush looked so scared to fight, he finally just quit and laid down."Later in the rant Thompson squeezes off a couple of nice bumper-sticker lines ("Richard Nixon looks like a flaming liberal today, compared to a golem like Bush"; "Four more years of George Bush will be like four more years of syphilis"), but the bit we like best is the one below, about the young Mr. Bush's favorite joke. In it we cannot help but see a glimmer of the great man he would one day become:
Ali has seen that look before. Almost three months to the day after John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, the "Louisville Lip" -- then Cassius Clay -- made a permanent enemy of every "boxing expert" in the Western world by beating World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston so badly that he refused to come out of his corner for the seventh round.
This year's first presidential debate was such a disaster for George Bush that his handlers had to be crazy to let him get in the ring with John Kerry again. Yet Karl Rove let it happen, and we can only wonder why. But there is no doubt that the president has lost his nerve, and his career in the White House is finished. NO MAS.
When young Bush was at Yale in the Sixties, he told the same joke over and over again for two years, according to some of his classmates. One of them still remembers it:
There was a young man named Green
Who invented a jack-off machine
On the twenty-third stroke
The damn thing broke
And churned his nuts into cream.
"It was horrible to hear him tell it," said the classmate, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. He lifted his shirt and showed me a scar on his back put there by young George. "He burned this into my flesh with a red-hot poker," he said solemnly, "and I have hated him ever since. That jackass was born cruel. He burned me in the back while I was blindfolded. This scar will be with me forever."
There is nothing new or secret about that story. It ran on the front page of the Yale Daily News and caused a nasty scandal for a few weeks, but nobody was ever expelled for it. George did his first cover-up job. And he liked it.