Brexit. Chilcot. Turkey. Russia. The meltdown in both Labour and the Tories. The rise of Trump. And now of course, the American 2016 Election, which promises to be one of the most disturbing – and entertaining! – American political battles in living memory. If ever.
I said to my mother, “There really hasn’t been a year with this much turbo-charged political action in my lifetime has there?”
“Zo, there hasn’t been a year with this much happening politically in MY lifetime. Maybe 1968, but I don’t think that was this intense.”
Now: we have the next three and a half months to witness the Clinton v Trump contest, which promises to just escalate in jaw-dropping hyperbolic nuttery. I for one will be watching every move, terrified and amused in equal measure. I know Brits often find American political staging horrifying, but you gotta hand it to them: they understand the power of theatre. Labour leadership contests held in townhalls in Grimsby vs Republican primaries in sports arenas, complete with stadium rock music and strobe lights. How can you not love the juxtaposition?
Anyways, for a literary primer, my friends and I will be reading what my mother says is one of the most entertaining and enlightening tomes on American politics: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, by HST. And if we have time, Better Than Sex, a collection of his essays on politics. Everyone remembers his views on bats and mescaline – but not enough remember he was one of the only journalists to ever get a private audience with Richard Nixon. He knew his shit.