Capturing something as indistinct and slippery as the public mood is difficult. But catching the fleeting moment when that mood changes is much more challenging.
Hunter S Thompson the American writer and originator of all things Gonzo, was particularly proud of this piece of writing which he described as; “probably the best thing I’ve written” He was right to be proud. He describes the feel good zenith of the San Francisco Hippie zeitgeist beautifully.
San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .
History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of "history" it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened........
There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .
And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
At this juncture in the deflation of the Great Irish Property Bubble it is of course difficult to gauge the zeitgeist. But I think it is changing; and a few years from now it may be possible to look back at this time and see where the wave of folly and greed finally broke and rolled back.