#2. Gary Webb Claims the CIA Helped Kick Off the Drug Epidemic
Gary Webb was a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the San Jose Mercury News who mostly investigated government corruption. His most famous work was a series of articles published in 1996 called "Dark Alliance," in which Webb presented evidence that, through funding Contra sympathizers/known narcotics producers in Nicaragua, the CIA had effectively and wittingly assisted with smuggling cocaine into America. And not just because the CIA are such notorious party animals.
You can only party so hard when it requires Level 4 clearance to access the keg.
The CIA released an official denial of the allegations, and Webb got his ass kicked by the journalistic community, enduring attacks on his credibility by such major pillars of the newspaper world as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times -- even the Weekly World News' Batboy dropped in to shake his head sadly in disapproval. Webb took so much damage from his peers that his own newspaper persuaded him to quit by reassigning him to a bureau 150 miles from his house.
But It Turned Out ...
Following Webb's decline, the CIA conducted their own internal investigation and, two years after the publication of "Dark Alliance," they publicly acknowledged that, whoops, they had in fact been covering up Contra drug trafficking. For more than a decade.
Tiomono at en wikipedia
We guess nobody asked Tim, the crack-funding guy, whether he'd funded any good crack lately.
The news swept across the nation, and all those major newspapers that had previously blasted Webb with their contempt for his shoddy journalism printed front-page apolog- nah! Haha, just kidding. Can you imagine? Journalistic accountability, in this day and age?
Of course the corrected story barely registered, and Webb left journalism altogether and eventually committed suicide, because the world is fucking awful. But hey, that's what drugs are for: to obliterate the tragic reality of our daily lives. Might we recommend some quality crack cocaine? We hear the government's got their hands on some good shit.
#1. Ernest Hemingway Thinks He's Constantly Trailed by FBI Agents
You probably know that prolific author and animal puncher Ernest Hemingway committed suicide, but you may have heard some differing accounts of what led up to the tragic event -- he had terminal cancer; he had money problems; he was, like, really bad at gun safety -- but the fact of the matter is that the only thing eating away at his will to live was constant paranoia.
Maybe he got tired of wars, wild animals, alcoholism, and the merciless sea failing to give him the Viking death he deserved.
Throughout his life, Hemingway was a big fan of Cuba. Big fan. Now, it wasn't so unusual for an American to spend time in Cuba in the 1940s and '50s, but Hemingway continued to visit regularly even after the communist revolution -- which, with Cuba being a Cold War hot spot, was not exactly behavior that was encouraged or accepted by the U.S. government.
In the final year of his life, Hemingway became increasingly convinced of a heavy FBI surveillance presence surrounding him, once describing his life as "The worst hell. The goddamnedest hell. They've bugged everything ... Everything's bugged. Can't use the phone. Mail intercepted." His friends and family thought his extreme paranoia was a byproduct of his heavy drinking and depression, and Hemingway was encouraged to check into a psychiatric hospital, where he received a series of shock treatments. Upon his release, he made at least two other suicide attempts before he finally managed it in 1961. Say what you will, the man was nothing if not bull-headed.
Yes, we'll save you all a seat in hell.
It's soul-scarring callousness that works on multiple levels.
But It Turned Out ...
Following a Freedom of Information request more than two decades after Hemingway's death, his FBI file was made publicly available. Yes, he had an FBI file -- a monumental one, in fact. Not only was Hemingway's paranoia completely justified, but he may have actually underestimated the extent of the surveillance: The FBI had been following him since the 1940s. J. Edgar Hoover originally ordered the surveillance due to suspicions regarding Hemingway's obsession with Cuba, and agents had been glued to his ass ever since: following him, tapping his phones -- up to and including the one in his room at the psychiatric hospital -- keeping tabs on just how many times he kissed the Cuban flag (once, for the record). And while no one ever accused us of being psychiatrists, not being able to wipe one's ass without fear of someone taking notes on your technique has got to take a serious toll on a fellow's mental state.
Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
"Did a voice from the air duct just remind me to go front to back?"
Hm. Hemingway probably could've come up with a more eloquent way to put that.
Gavin has strong opinions about who should be president in Independence Day 2. He also has a Twitter.
Related Reading: If this article has you paranoid, consider investing in an infinitely-useful machine gun briefcase. This office escape parachute should be on your list too. Screw elevators. And screw the government for trying to weaponize marijuana.
Show your respect for the downtrodden among us with a Tesla t-shirt.