High on Hunter’s Supply, and Other News


On the Shelf

Why not smoke what this guy did?


  • Even when an author’s life is over, his lifestyle can live on. I don’t mean through his books—I’m not some starry-eyed undergrad! No, I mean through merchandise. Hunter S. Thompson died in 2005, but his widow, Anita Thompson, is now ready to bring his estate into the emerging market of boutique cannabis strains: a more lucrative field than any kind of publishing could be. Andrew Travers reports, “Thompson said she … saved six different strains of cannabis that the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas author actually smoked. She is now working with a cannabis company to grow those strains—or hybrids of them—and sell them to the public. She said she was glad that she held off on partnering on a marijuana brand until it could be done right … ‘I was always steering toward his work and away from his lifestyle, but now I feel like I can talk more openly about his lifestyle,’ she said. ‘I’m proud to do it now. Before, it was a little too risky.’ She added with a laugh: ‘I’m looking forward to being a drug lord.’ ” (No word yet on whether he was an indica or a sativa guy.)
  • Today in small marvels of directorial dedication: Pedro Almodóvar. Here, at last, is a director willing to go the distance with his actors. Per D. T. Max: “Almodóvar goes to remarkable lengths to offer guidance. In 1985, he was filming the final scene in Matador, with Assumpta Serna. He was not sure whether Nacho Martínez, playing the wounded matador who was about to make love to her, should graze her crotch directly with his mouth or do so with a rosebud between his teeth. Almodóvar tried it out himself. ‘I realized it was better to put some distance between the actor’s tongue and the girl’s sex,’ he said, during an appearance on a Spanish talk show. ‘I do it all,’ he added.” 

  • While we’re talking crotches: everyone loves to put down bad sex writing, but so few are inclined to celebrate good sex writing. Jonathan Gibbs offers a few citations, among them James Salter: “ ‘…while in his own dream he rises a little and defines the moist rim of her cunt with his fingers, and as he does, he comes like a bull.’ ‘Like a bull’ is a false step, to be sure, but this contrast between unabashed, precise physical description and more unexpected, imaginative leaps is characteristic of Salter’s approach to the subject. The image of the bull pales next to another animal simile in Salter’s last novel, All That Is (2013). In it he describes a man as coming ‘like a drinking horse,’ so falling foul of Gibbs’s Law of Reversible Similes: if you can describe something as being like something else, then that comparison should work equally well in reverse. I am yet to see a horse drink ‘like a man coming,’ and hope I never will.”
  • Sarah Gerard remembers the consumerist dreams that fuelled her family’s involvement with Amway, everyone’s favorite pyramid scheme—er, multilevel marketing model: “Nothing was wrong with our life before Amway—we didn’t join it to fill a void. We were happy, until we were told we could be happier … Dreambuilding is Amway’s profit engine. Tour the house for motivation—but then how do you buy the house now that you want it? Buy tickets to the Amway-hosted functions. Buy training tapes and manuals sold by upper-level Amway distributors. Build The Business. Prospect others. Buy Glister™ and Satinique™. Building dreams was like building a house: it wouldn’t work with wishes alone. Wishes were ephemeral; we needed something concrete. In order for our dreams to feel real, we had to construct them from tangible things. The Plan and The Business were our brick and our mortar.”
  • In search of a viable way for artists to resist Trump, Cathy Park Hong remembers an art collective from the Reagan era: “If we are looking for models of resistance, I cannot think of a more relevant and necessary artist to honor than Julie Ault … Along with eight other artists, Julie helped found Group Material, a political art collective that struggled against Reagan’s conservatism and the callow excesses of the eighties art boom. Group Material’s emphasis on the series rather than the discrete object, on art-making as inquiry, documentation, and a model for political action, have influenced two decades of artists engaged in social practice. Group Material also arose out of the AIDS crisis, when gay artists had no choice but to be activists, because it was a matter of survival.”