"All lawyers should be castrated and all law schools burnt to the ground," Hunter S. Thompson told an overflow crowd of more than 800 that jammed the Law School's Ames Courtroom to hear the self-styled "doctor of gonzo journalism" address the Law School Forum last night.
What about woman lawyers? Thompson sputtered into his drink. "They're mutants, clones of some kind," he said.
Smoking a marijuana cigarette and taking periodic sips from a glass of whiskey, Thompson spoke rapidly as he answered questions for an hour and a half in front of what he described as a "seething rabble." Over 200 people were turned away from the door, and the speech was held up for 20 minutes while technicians wired sound for those left outside.
Wearing his characteristic fishing hat and sunglasses, Thompson complained about the glaring lights and fielded a variety of questions from the crowd. The queries ranged from drugs to politics, punctuated by frequent screams of "Adrenochrome," an obscure drug Thompson refers to in his book, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."
Asked if he was happy about his piece in Rolling Stone magazine praising then-candidate Jimmy Carter last year, Thompson replied in the negative, and called the piece "the ugliest thing I've ever put in print."
Thompson called President Carter "one of the three meanest men I've ever met. The other two were Sonny [a Hell's Angels leader now serving a prison sentence] and Muhammad Ali. That's a trio--I think Carter's capable of doing almost anything."
Thompson detailed his disillusionment with political life, saying he got no "feeling of electricity" from contemporary politics. When asked who really sabotaged the 1972 McGovern campaign, Thompson said "George," but then added that "if Nixon and McGovern were to run again this fall Nixon would probably win again."
Thompson repeatedly argued that all lawyers should be castrated and most journalists locked up. Asked if there were any Washington reporters he read regularly. Thompson named, the Washington Post trio of David S. Broder, Jules Witcover, and Jack Germond, and called the syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak the worst.
"Evans and Novak are completely off the wall. They're hopeless--they're pathological liars," Thompson said.
Thompson characterized the smoke-filled Ames Courtroom as "a horrible combination of early Persian and ... Leif Ericson," but his observations on Harvard in general reflected a more virulent fear-and-loathing.
"This could be Las Vegas," Thompson said. "It's all one big, horrible zoo.