Entry 9 | 25 March 2012 | 09:49
In “Song of the Sausage Creature,” Hunter S. Thompson chronicles his time as a reviewer for the bone shattering 1995 Ducati 900c super-bike. (1) Nearly half of the article is dedicated to the author’s own past experiences with extremely fast motorcycles, as well as a profile of the sorts of drivers who would be interested in a bike such as the Ducati; eventually, Thompson praises the bike’s performance and handling, (inter-spliced with more of his own frightening anecdotes of the motoring world) at one point describing a particularly daring jump over a set of railroad tracks as “with the grace of a fleeing tomcat”. (2) Thompson’s addiction to speed, an integral theme in this review, speaks volumes to the always present dangers of thrill seeking, as well as the pleasure that oftentimes accompanies them. As a proper review, Thompson’s fixation on his own gory accolades in the biking world takes away from the information role that reviews often fill; however, his insane style mimics the equally deranged semblance of both the Ducati 900c and those wishing to buy one.
I have always had a lukewarm interest in motorcycles, and reading “Song of the Sausage Creature” makes me cling even more tightly to the automotive world where sturdy roofs and siding, the only thing keeping my skin on my body rather than on the asphalt, abound. I am also not new to the art of reviews for things with transmissions. Although Thompson’s piece was entertaining, it consisted more of him rattling off story after macabre story of himself dancing with the devil whilst seated comfortably upon a fire-breathing engine. His ego may have gotten in the way of his writing in this instance; his incessant need to either shock the readers with his nonchalant brushes with death or his desire to prove to the world that he is experienced enough to write such a review with ridiculous tales of his near-demise is exhausting. Even Top Gear, the BBC car variety show whose promotional posters usually feature more fire than the cars themselves, can deliver reviews that scrutinize more than just the performance of the car. Styling and price point did not receive any attention in Thompson’s review. A bike might unleash the fury of a thousand raving pythons, negotiate turns with the grace of a peregrine falcon and mold perfectly into the rider’s frame, but if one cannot afford it, what’s the point? Furthermore, if the bike looks like a circus freak, some buyers may turn the other way. For column writing, shenanigans can be tolerated, and sometimes appreciated. A column that disguises itself as a review isn’t fooling anyone.
(1) Thompson, Hunter S. “Song of the Sausage Creature,” Cycle World: (Mar. 1995): 70-73. http://totallygonzo.org/gonzowriting/rare- articles/
Scroll down to “Song of the Sausage Creature – Hutner S. Thompson (Cycle World Mar. 1995)” to view the full article.
(2) Ibid., 73.