J. Edgar Hoover, flanked in the middle photo byWalter Winchell and Joe DiMaggio, was seriously considered for the post of Major League Baseball Commissioner twice, in 1945 and1951, a career change that would have probably been better for American governance if not for the sport.
Having a film version of The Rum Diary in theaters and a movie about J. Edgar Hoover ready to be released reminded of a1974 Playboy Interview with Hunter S. Thompsonthat I read a couple of years ago. In the piece, which took Craig Vetter seven months to complete, Thompson cracked a joke about being pals with the former FBI honcho. An excerpt:
“PLAYBOY: Would you run for the Senate the same way you ran for sheriff?
THOMPSON: Well, I might have to drop the mescaline issue, I don’t think there’d be any need for that—promising to eat mescaline on the Senate floor. I found out last time you can push people too far. The backlash is brutal.
PLAYBOY: What if the unthinkable happened and Hunter Thompson went to Washington as a Senator from Colorado? Do you think you could do any good?
THOMPSON: Not much, but you always do some good by setting an example—you know, just by proving it can be done.
PLAYBOY: Don’t you think there would be a strong reaction in Washington to some of the things you’ve written about the politicians there?
THOMPSON: Of course. They’d come after me like wolverines. I’d have no choice but to haul out my secret files—all that raw still Ed Hoover gave mejust before he died. We were good friends. I used to go to the track with him a lot.
PLAYBOY: You’re laughing again, but that raises a legitimate question: Are you trying to say you know things about Washington people that you haven’t written?
THOMPSON: Yeah, to some extent. When I went to Washington to write Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, I went with the same attitude I take anywhere as a journalist: hammer and tongs—and God’s mercy on anybody who gets in the way. Nothing is off the record, that kind of thing. But I finally realized that some things have to be off the record. I don’t know where the line is, even now. But if you’re an indiscreet blabber-mouth and a fool, nobody is going to talk to you—not even your friends.”
Thompson and Keith Richards consider the reincarnation of Hoover, 1973: