Gonzo revisited 

The more things change...

First I’ve got to mention the no-brainer must-see event of the week, this Thursday’s free talk by Savannah native and well-known film producer Stratton Leopold.

Part of the Senior Citizens, Inc. “Summer of Ideas” lecture series, the talk takes place at 7 p.m. Aug. 16 at the JEA on Abercorn.

Stratton has just come in town from L.A. where he’s working on the next Star Trek movie. Of course locals — especially those with kids — also know him from the ice cream shop bearing his family name on Broughton Street, where Stratton can often be found behind the counter.

I spoke to Stratton a few days ago about a story I’m working on, and he mentioned the reaction he gets from tourists who come into Leopold’s and strike up a conversation with him as he’s doling out sweet treats.

They ask about the film equipment and movie posters all around, he says, with the conversation eventually revealing that the man talking to them while he scoops their mint chocolate chip is the same guy who produced all those movies.

“I get one of two distinct reactions,” Stratton laughs. “One is: Why are you scooping ice cream? And the other is they just say, ‘Oh, yeah, sure,’ and walk off.”

Ice cream or not, the talk is sure to be entertaining and enlightening.

I’m very happy with the civilized reception I received for my last Editor’s Note, titled “Creative before creative was cool.” Too often these local debates get petty, but thankfully all the main players seem to have their eyes on the prize and aren’t getting bogged down in the whole big-fish-in-a-little-pond thing that so often dooms good ideas here.

However, I do have to apologize from the deepest part of my former copy editor’s heart for the unforgiveable subject/verb agreement blunder I made in the very first paragraph, of all places. I’ve since corrected it online, but dead trees are forever, unfortunately.

I spent most of the weekend laid up with a nasty bug, so I had little to do but read. One of the books I picked up was my extremely dog-eared old paperback of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Great Shark Hunt, a compilation of some of his best work.

The “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” segments always seem to get the most attention, but for my money the best stuff Thompson did was during Watergate. Reading these passages is stunning. Replace just a few names — some of the players, like Pat Buchanan, are still on the scene — and you could be reading a description of the current administration.

So in honor of the long-overdue resignation of Karl Rove — too bad Thompson didn’t live to see the day — I cite you the following excerpts from The Great Shark Hunt. They sound like they were written this morning but were actually written over 30 years ago during the Nixon administration:

From “Memo from the Sports Desk & Rude Notes from a Decompression Chamber in Miami”:

The hard-nosed super-executives Nixon chose to run this country for us turned on each other like rats in a slum-fire when the first signs of trouble appeared. What we have seen in the past few weeks is the incredible spectacle of a President of the United States either firing or being hastily abandoned by all of his hired hands and former cronies — all the people that put him where he is today, in fact, and now that they’re gone he seems helpless. Some of his closest “friends” and advisers are headed for prison, his once-helpless Democratic Congress is verging on mutiny, the threat of impeachment looms closer every day, and his coveted “place in history” is even now being etched out in acid by eager Harvard historians.

From “Fear and Loathing in Limbo: The Scum Also Rises”:

After five and a half years of watching a gang of fascist thugs treating the White House and the whole machinery of the federal government like a conquered empire to be used like the spoils of war for any purpose that served either the needs or whims of the victors, the prospect of some harmless, half-bright jock like Gerry Ford running a cautious, caretaker-style government for two or even six years was almost a welcome relief.

Also from “Fear and Loathing in Limbo”:

“Mornin’, Doc,” said the watchman. “Up a little early, ain’t you? Especially on a nasty day like this.”

“Nasty?” I replied. “What are you — some kind of goddamn Uncle Tom Republican? Don’t you know who’s leaving town today?

He looked puzzled for a moment, then his face cracked into a grin. “You’re right, by God! I almost forgot. We finally got rid of that man, didn’t we, Doc?”...

I reached into my bag and opened two Bass Ales. “This is a time of celebration,” I said, handing him one of the bottles. I held mine out in front of me. “To Richard Nixon,” I said, “may he choke on the money he stole.”

The watchman glanced furtively over his shoulder before lifting his ale for the toast. The clink of the two bottles coming together echoed briefly in the vast, deserted lobby.

Jim Morekis is editor in chief of Connect Savannah. E-mail him at



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Jim Morekis

Jim Morekis

A native Savannahian, Jim has been editor-in-chief of Connect Savannah for ten years. The University of Georgia graduate is also a travel writer, authoring regional guides in the Moon handbook series... more

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