What was Hunter S. Thompson’s view of America during the era of the Vietnam War in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?

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Thompson's view of the United States during the Vietnam War is, to put it mildly, irreverent. He sees Las Vegas as a metaphor for the cheap, vulgar materialism of American life in his period.

Thompson's protagonists, Raoul Duke and his lawyer sidekick Gonzo, drive to Las Vegas so that Duke,...

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Thompson's view of the United States during the Vietnam War is, to put it mildly, irreverent. He sees Las Vegas as a metaphor for the cheap, vulgar materialism of American life in his period.

Thompson's protagonists, Raoul Duke and his lawyer sidekick Gonzo, drive to Las Vegas so that Duke, a journalist, can cover a motorcycle race for a major national sport magazine. The magazine gives Duke more or less open-ended expense account.

The race is little more than an excuse for Duke and Gonzo to engage in a long free-for-all "weekend" of drug extravaganza, ingesting so much alcohol and drugs, that, along with indiscriminate and massive pill popping, it is a wonder they are still alive at the end of their spree. On a continual high, they trash their expensive hotel room, run up huge bills for the magazine to pay, and Duke provides an irreverent running commentary on what they see through a drug-induced haze.

For instance, as they are drinking in a Las Vegas beer hall type setting with trapeze artists in the middle, Duke comments this is what America would be had the Nazis won the war. In other words, neither he nor Gonzo are impressed by the tinsel spectacle of American life that Las Vegas typifies.

The twosome show their irreverent disrespect for the allure of materialism by escaping it through drugs and destroying it in the process of being high. They also manifest a complete irreverence towards rules and order. Both of these attitudes are representative of a late 1960s counter-culture mindset that Thompson expresses with no holds barred.

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