Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “Satire

Ralph Steadman

Ralph Steadman (born 15 May 1936) is a British cartoonist and caricaturist who is perhaps best known for his work with American author Hunter S. Thompson.

Steadman had a long partnership with Thompson, drawing pictures for several of his articles and books. He accompanied Thompson to the Kentucky Derby for an article, to the Honolulu Marathon, and illustrated both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72. Much of Steadman’s artwork revolves around Raoul Duke-style caricatures of Thompson: bucket hats, cigarette holder and aviator sunglasses.

Steadman appears on the second disc of the Criterion Collection Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas DVD set, in a documentary called Fear and loathing in Gonzovision, which was made by the BBC in 1978, of Thompson planning the tower and cannon that his ashes were later blasted out of. The cannon was atop a 153-ft. tower of Thompson’s fist gripping a peyote button; Thompson demands that Steadman gives the fist two thumbs, “Right now.”

Of course he has done far more than just the Hunter S. Thompson illustrations, his work has adorned countless magazines, books and galleries. He did awesome work for Alice in Wonderland and Animal reissues. Check out more at his official website HERE.


Douglas Adams

Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English writer and dramatist. He is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which started life in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a “trilogy” of five books that sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime, a television series, several stage plays, comics, a computer game, and in 2005 a feature film. Adams’s contribution to UK radio is commemorated in The radio Academy’s Hall of Fame.

After leaving university Adams moved back to London, determined to break into TV and radio as a writer. An edited version of the Footlights Revue appeared on BBC 2 television in 1974. A version of the Revue performed live in London’s West End led to Adams being discovered by Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. The two formed a brief writing partnership, earning Adams a writing credit in episode 45 of Monty Python for a sketch called “Patient Abuse”. He is one of only two people outside the original Python members to get a writing credit (the other being Neil Innes).

Adams also wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987) and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988), and co-wrote The Meaning of Liff (1983), Last Chance to See (1990), and three stories for the television series Doctor Who. A posthumous collection of his work, including an unfinished novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.

Adams became known as an advocate for environmental and conservation causes, and also as a lover of fast cars, cameras, and the Apple Mackintosh. He was a staunch atheist, famously imagining a sentient puddle who wakes up one morning and thinks, “This is an interesting world I find myself in—an interesting hole I find myself in—fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!” Biologist Richard Dawkins dedicated his book, The God Delusion (2006), to Adams, writing on his death that, “[s]cience has lost a friend, literature has lost a luminary, the mountain gorilla and the black rhino have lost a gallant defender.”

Adams died of a heart attack on 11 May 2001, aged 49, after resting from his regular workout at a private gym in Montecito, California. He had unknowingly suffered a gradual narrowing of the coronary arteries, which led at that moment to a fatal cardiac arrhythmia. Adams had been due to deliver the commencement address at Harvey Mudd College on 13 May. His funeral was held on 16 May in Santa Barbara, California. His remains were subsequently cremated and the ashes placed in Highgate Cemetery in north London in June 2002.

Read (much) more at the official Douglas Adams website.


Anthony Burgess

John Burgess Wilson (25 February 1917 – 22 November 1993) – who published under the pen name Anthony Burgess – was an English author, poet, playwright, composer, linguist, translator and critic.

The dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange is Burgess’s most famous novel, though he dismissed it as one of his lesser works. It was adapted into a highly controversial 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick, which Burgess said was chiefly responsible for the popularity of the book. Burgess produced numerous other novels, including the Enderby quartet, and Earthly Powers. He was a prominent critic, writing acclaimed studies of classic writers such as William Shakespeare, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence and Ernest Hemingway. In 2008, The Times newspaper placed Burgess number 17 on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”. Burgess was also an accomplished musician and linguist. He composed over 250 musical works, including a first symphony around age 18, wrote a number of libretti, and translated, among other works, Cyrano de Bergerac and Carmen.

His dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962. It was inspired initially by an incident during the Second World War in which his wife Lynne was robbed and assaulted in London during the blackout by deserters from the U.S. Army. The event may have contributed to her subsequent miscarriage. The book was an examination of free will and morality. The young anti-hero, Alex, captured after a short career of violence and mayhem, undergoes a course of aversion therapy treatment to curb his violent tendencies. This results in making him defenseless against other people and unable to enjoy some of his favorite music that, besides violence, had been an intense pleasure for him.

In the non-fiction book Flame Into Being (1985) Burgess described A Clockwork Orange as “a jeu d’esprit knocked off for money in three weeks, it became known as the raw material for a film which seemed to glorify sex and violence.” He added “the film made it easy for readers of the book to misunderstand what it was about, and the misunderstanding will pursue me till I die.” Near the time of publication the final chapter was cut from the American edition of the book. Burgess had written A Clockwork Orange with twenty-one chapters, meaning to match the age of majority. “21 is the symbol of human maturity, or used to be, since at 21 you got to vote and assumed adult responsibility,” Burgess wrote in a foreword for a 1986 edition. Needing a paycheck and thinking that the publisher was “being charitable in accepting the work at all,” Burgess accepted the deal and allowed A Clockwork Orange to be published in the U.S. with the twenty-first chapter omitted. Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange was based on the American edition, and thus helped to perpetuate the loss of the last chapter.

In Martin Seymour-Smith’s Novels and Novelists: A Guide to the World of Fiction, Burgess related that he would often prepare a synopsis with a name-list before beginning a project. Seymour-Smith wrote: “Burgess believes overplanning is fatal to creativity and regards his unconscious mind and the act of writing itself as indispensable guides. He does not produce a draft of a whole novel but prefers to get one page finished before he goes on to the next, which involves a good deal of revision and correction.”