HST & Friends

About HST

+ Who is HST?


+ E. Jean Carroll
+ William McKeen
+ P. Paul Perry
+ Peter O. Whitmer


Media Treatments

HST's Friends

Rolling Stone College Papers 1980

For some reason, the template is choking on something in the raw text. I'll fix it later, just like everything else :-) --Christine O

Back to the first page...

Yes, you can't be blamed for the script or the direction. Except that were you to say, at the beginning, "This is shit, I won't give my permission," then it couldn't be done, right?

[Hunter bolts up and storms over to the fireplace, shouting.] Have you ever tried to deal with these mother-fucking lawyers and agents in Hollywood?

All you have to say is no.

[Angrily, he pokes at the fire.] And you're sitting there telling me, broke as you are, that I'm fuckin' dumb for not getting more money or less money out of this?

No, I'm certainly not telling you you're dumb because you got more money for less money.

I find it a little hard to take. At least I've cheated the fuckers out of $100,000 [He returns to his chair.] Well, that's not cheating at all; that's just routine for down there, another scam.

But regarding the Buffalo film, if it involved a character that might even be related to me, I think I would have checked to see who was behind it. I mean you already have a public image, and...

Fuck yes! I've been in comic strips for years!

And for years you've been incensed about it.

Well, I don't like it, no. I'm not incensed; I've gotten used to it.

Part Four

HST talks about his image --Christine O

And for years you've been incensed about it.

Well, I don't like it, no. I'm not incensed, I've gotten used to it.

Maybe incensed is too strong a word, but you've certainly been concerned with "Doonesbury", with what you felt was Trudeau's invasion of your privacy.

That was my original bitch with it. Then I began to realize how much money he was making off me, off my image.

Fine. But I think what we're really talking about is, either you are or you're not concerned about your image.

I can't afford to be, man. I'd go mad. I don't even know what my image is. I have a feeling....it's always been bad. Ever since I was a teenage criminal, I've always been doomed, a person clearly headed for hell.

I wouldn't say that. You're admired by enough people to make your book a best seller.

[Hunter refills his glass with Wild Turkey] Look outside. Look around you. I have to take care of an eight-room house. I have five peacocks to feed. I spend maybe $10,000 a month on just simple fucking airfare. I have a huge ranch, another house, books, fucking movies, weird gibberish happening. How in the hell could I afford to take the time to sit here worrying about my image?

I'm trying to think if I should be concerned. No, I don't think so. Why should I be?

Only because, as you've mentioned yourself, in the last year all this stuff's come down where your image is unavoidable.

Well, it's a nightmare, yeah. When at almost the same time your collected works are coming out, a movie's being made about you....And then you're in the comic strips...yeah, somewhere along there - I'm not sure where the line was - I became a public figure. I'm not admitting that legally. Legally right now it's quite critical if I'm a public figure. If I am not, Mr. Trudeau will be working in my yard for the next ten years, trimming the grass.

But in a tough use of the word, I became a public figure. Somehow the author has become larger than the writing. And it sucks.

Do you think you've contributed to that in any way?

Well, yeah, I probably have.

What kind of trouble was there recently at the College of Marin?

Well, that was just a broken-down sound system and a bunch of loadies, very young - what I believe to be the second generation of Marin County. A grim comment; it chills you to see what the children of paradise look like.

What happened?

Nothing. It was just chaotic. It was a low-rent operation. People were yelling at me, and the questions were weird, and kids were asking for whiskey. I never had kids come up and beg for drinks out of my Wild Turkey bottle.

Doesn't that give you the willies?

Well, it didn't fill me with confidence. And the questions were so dumb that I just abandoned everything. When I start calling the crowd beer-hippies and thumb-fuckers and loadies and shit like that, it usually breaks down. I usually only lose my temper at schools of the rich.

A couple of years ago you appeared at NYU, and while you eventually answered questions, you spent the first half of the evening placing bets with the audience that night. And at some point I yelled at you from the balcony, "How can you lower yourself to speak in front of a group of people that would pay money to watch you make a fool of yourself?"

That's when I threw a piece of ice that hit you in the chest, right? Two hundred yards from the balcony.

That was a great shot, I won't quarrel with you on that. But you express disgust at people sucking your whiskey, yet it seems to me it's part of the same fan phenomenon. Do you feel any responsibility for that?

[Suddenly cold and serious] No. Not the slightest. It's a problem, but I don't feel responsible.

Okay, well, let's try another image question. One piece in the anthology that disappointed me was "The Great Shark Hunt" itself. It seemed like a pale imitation of FLLV, but it was written several years later.

Let's not compare this stuff to the Las Vegas book. Vegas was like four or five drafts. Probably the further back you go in time, the more rewrites we get in each piece. The newer stuff, almost without exception, is essentially journalism, as it was written on the day, sent in for a deadline, not edited, either then or now, and published. You tell me another journalism who would put his collected works in book form as he sent them in form some motel or wire desk in Zingaling, Missouri, Bangkok or Rio.

Do you think that's admirable?

Yeah, because it's...taking an insane chance of being right, almost...an abnormal amount of the time, a percentage.

Well, one charge is that in the last few years you've had a lot more trouble writing. And it's getting harder and harder until it's practically ceased.

It's always been hard. But it rarely pays. And I never do it unless I'm broke. I've said that many times. Why should I work on deadlines? We're dealing with journalism. And it ceased to be fun. Just by answering my phone, I can make four times as much money as I do by writing all the time. Hemingway said that journalism was good for a writer if you knew when to get out of it. I think I stayed way too long.

Have you gotten out of it now?

I hope so. But it's hard to get out of. I've always viewed it as a sort of a left-handed thing, sort of a ticket to ride. Journalism has always been my way of going to a place to see if I wanted to see what was going on. And you get addicted to that. It doesn't mean that writing the story interests me, I hate that.

I don't like to write. I don't care what the fuck happens after I write. Once I've gotten the story in my mind, the rest is just pain. And to cure the pain, we put it together between covers and call it The Great Shark Hunt and sell 100,000 copies at fifteen dollars apiece. It helps ease the pain.