I've always been a massive admirer of Ralph Steadman, so I was thrilled that, in today's Observer, Steadman picked Cult as his most noteworthy book of 2007. It was Steadman, of course, who provided the legendary illustrations for Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; a Savage Journey into the American Dream. We still await a Hunter S. Thompson/Ralph Steadman to co-produce a Fear and Loathing in Silicon Valley -- an equally savage journey into the American Dream. I can only hope that there's some young writer or artist embedded in the Googleplex, taking notes on Sergei and Larry's moral excesses and sketching Eric Schmidt's chin. Fear and Loathing in Silicon Valley is too monstrous a fish to miss. Somebody is going to spear it.
In the meantime, here's the legendary Steadman on why he was seduced by Cult:
I took two challenging books to read in a cabin on Lake Huron in Canada in September: The Idiot by Dostoevsky (Penguin Classics) and District and Circle by Seamus Heaney (Faber). But what instead caught my eye was a 'reader's proof' lying on the coffee table of The Cult of the Amateur (Nicholas Brealey) by Andrew Keen. He has had the temerity to point out that our search for instant wisdom through, say, Google and Wikipedia provides not necessarily what is most true or reliable - merely what is most popular. I read it in one sitting then went outside to fish for our supper, firmly believing that the poor fish that swallows my squirming worm on a barbed hook is infinitely smarter than the idiot on the other end holding the rod.
Who is Steadman's fish, who is the worm and who is holding the rod?