Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Colin Marshall — Hunter S. Thompson Chillingly Predicts the Future, Telling Studs Terkel About the Coming Revenge of the Economically & Technologically “Obsolete” (1967)

I recall reading Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs back then. It was a good read, as was Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. This was new in journalism and investigative reporting. It took a lot of nerve."To see the Hell’s Angels as caretakers of the old 'individualist' tradition 'that made this country great' is only a painless way to get around seeing them for what they really are," Thompson writes in that book, calling them "the first wave of a future that nothing in our history has prepared us to cope with. The Angels are prototypes. Their lack of education has not only rendered them completely useless in a highly technical economy, but it has also given them the leisure to cultivate a powerful resentment... and to translate it into a destructive cult which the mass media insists on portraying as a sort of isolated oddity" destined for extinction.
Studs Terkel, after reading that passage out loud in a 1967 interview with Thompson, calls it "the key" to the entire book. "Here we have technology, we have the computer, we have labor-saving devices," he says to Thompson, but we also "have the need for more and more college education for almost any kind of job, and we have this tremendous mass of young who find themselves obsolete." But Thompson replies that the real consequences have only started to manifest: "The people who are being left out and put behind won't be obvious for years. Christ only knows what'll happen in, say, 1985 — a million Hell's Angels. They won't be wearing the colors; they'll be people who are just looking for vengeance because they've been left behind."
What we are seeing in the US that the upper 20% of workers are doing well and have bright prospects, while the other 80% are stuck where they are, are stagnating in place, or are doing worse. Moreover, employment for the lower 80% is becoming more precarious. This is resulting in social dysfunction and political reaction.

1 comment:

Matt Franko said...

All you have to do is increase leading flow into non-technology areas; arts, humanities etc...