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Character Connection

Welcome to a new meme called ‘Character Connection’. This is hosted by IntrovertedJen over at The Introverted Reader every Thursday.

When I heard about this over on twitter, I got all excited.Character crushes are things I sometimes get when reading a great book. Sometimes one character alone can be interesting enough to make you read a whole series! But what I find is I sometimes fall for the minor characters, mostly because I see room for development, or they’re just so damn hot!

So, here’s my latest character crush: 
Dr. Gonzo from ‘Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas’ 
(click above for review)

File:Duke and gonzo.png

This vile, fat, corrupt lawyer eats a lot of LSD. He drives like a lunatic, trashes hotel rooms, and if he takes enough mescaline gets completely deranged and insists to carve a little ‘Z’ on your forehead. Nothing serious. Alternatively, acid drives his brain right into Alice’s wonderland, giving him the uncontrollable urge to electrocute himself in the bathtub. Yup, not exactly the type of guy you would be smitten with, but hey, this is fiction… the realm where anything is possible… and my opinion is: the crazier the better! I mean, how many characters are there in literature who really offend, frighten or make you boil with rage? I can’t say I’m a prolific reader, but I can claim to have a read quite a few books, and it’s very rare to come across such strong, ‘unique’ characters that really provoke their readership into thinking about the issues (direct or indirect) that is raised by the author.

Based on a real person, Dr. Gonzo (aka Oscar Zeta Acosta) is larger than life. In fact, being a close friend of Hunter S. Thompson he was described by him as a ‘300 pound Samoan’ – a tag he wasn’t too pleased with, and eventually had removed from the book altogether. The way Dr. Gonzo is portrayed in the novel, gives me a feeling that he must have been one hell of a person in real life. One of Thompson’s peculiar, lingering tributes to him goes something like this:

“There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. Some kind of high-powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” 

When it comes to describing him, I suppose the best way would be to say he was intelligent (he is a lawyer after all – just about!) but a complete lunatic as well. He was a man of extrmes. If it weren’t for Dr. Gonzo’s erratic contributions of ‘As your lawyer I advise you to…’ [insert whatever it was he’d advise]; Thompson’s break-neck journey to the heart of the American Dream would have been dry as a sun-bleached bone in the Las Vegas desert.

To me, Dr. Gonzo was the life of the party. Just when one thinks it can’t get any worse or weirder, the Gonzo manages to raise the bar that little bit higher. In no way do I advocate the things Gonzo or Duke get up to on their trip, but in literary terms their psychedelic account sheds an appropriately high-strung, disconcerting light on the late 60’s early 70’s mentality of the average American; when a clash of two greatly opposing beliefs (among them War and Anti-war) had gripped and divided a nation in half.   

Dr. Gonzo embodies the tortured spirit of this historical moment in American history, but cranked-up to it’s highest decibel. He’s a bat out of hell with a wickedly black sense of humour. He’s a victorious roar, a total stripping down of mankind’s outer veneer, that lacquer of social niceties that have been applied for centuries and have hardened to a thick impenetrable crust.  The dialogue between Duke and Dr. Gonzo stands out as among the most original and refreshing. Yes it is crude, and yes, it’s sometimes diabolical, but taken with a very LARGE pinch of salt (after all, Hunter S. Thompson was the ‘Doctor of Gonzo Journalism’), it all weirdly makes sense on the peripheries of normality.

While Duke (aka Thompson) was the observer, the writer and the creator of the written version of this one-of-a-kind journey; Dr. Gonzo (aka Oscar Zeta Acosta)  was the one who ultimately initiated it. In closing, one other factor that makes Dr. Gonzo my character crush of the week is the annoying fact that the real Dr. Gonzo has been reported missing since  1974. His mysterious disappearance will haunt me for a long time as I will always wonder where on earth he is now, and what exactly is he doing.

So, that’s my character crush for this week. What’s yours? I’d love to hear about it.