Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas | Study Guide

Hunter S. Thompson

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Course Hero. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide." Course Hero. 26 Sep. 2017. Web. 16 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, September 26). Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/

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Course Hero. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide." September 26, 2017. Accessed July 16, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/.

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Course Hero, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide," September 26, 2017, accessed July 16, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas | Part 1, Chapter 5 : Covering the Story ... A Glimpse of the Press in Action ... Ugliness and Failure | Summary

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Summary

Duke kills time in the Mint Gun Club's casino the next morning before the race. He hears a guy from Long Beach talking about his "old lady" trying to keep him from going to the race. He starts "slappin' her around," which earns him a beating from two other guys. When he tells them where he's going, he thinks they give him some money and take him to the bus station. Duke says, "The race attracts a very special breed and our man ... was clearly one of them." He also sees a reporter from Life trying to evade the attentions of a drunk and handsy woman.

The race starts at 9:00 a.m. The first bikes disappear into a cloud of dust, making coverage difficult. Duke goes out with his photographer in the press vehicle. They encounter two dune buggies "covered with ominous symbols," such as eagles holding American flags and a "slant-eyed snake being chopped to bits by a buzz-saw made of stars and stripes." Duke sends them after a CBS news jeep. He leaves Lacerda and the driver to take whatever photos they can and returns to the car to "drink heavily, think heavily, and make many heavy notes."

Analysis

At the Mint 400, Duke showcases the types of people the race—and Las Vegas in general—tends to attract. These vaguely hostile and culturally reactionary types are the sort of people Duke blames for the death of the hope and idealism of the 1960s, which he talks about in some detail in Part 1, Chapter 8. Aggression is the order of the day for these people, who seem to feel entitled to whatever they want, even if it infringes on other people's emotional or physical integrity. The race fan feels entitled to slap his wife around when she doesn't want him to attend the race. The men who jump to her defense appear to back off when they learn why the man is assaulting his partner. The drunk woman wants the Life reporter to pay attention to her and has no compunction about grabbing at him and demanding he stand up, even though he has no obligation to succumb to her demands or her groping.

The aggressively patriotic dune buggy drivers provide the ugliest demonstration of American cultural entitlement in the chapter. The imagery on their vehicles moves from the patriotic to the violent. In the case of the snake decal, the slanted eyes on the snake reveal the intense prejudice against Asians that characterized the Vietnam War era for the war's supporters. The Vietnamese were often seen as an inhuman other—equal to snakes—deserving of brutal defeat. Duke recognizes their support for the war and their latent racism, using this information to his advantage and self-defense. He doesn't want these guys to turn on him, so he sends them after another target. He tells them the CBS Jeep is carrying the makers of an anti-war documentary, The Selling of the Pentagon (1971), a real film depicting the connection between American defense and profit-based industry.

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