By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

I have been overwhelmed by massive response to my sheepish confession that my lifelong passion for the ceremonial watching of Pro Football on TV is not quite as keen this year as it has been. At first I felt vaguely ashamed to admit this, especially in print -- but within hours of the thing's appearance on Page 2, I was deluged with messages from people who Agreed with me and said they'd been feeling guilty about it but were afraid to say the words.

Not that anyone should be surprised. The NFL's TV ratings seem to be dropping each year which has not deterred the networks from paying more and more for broadcast rights and charging more and more for Super Bowl commercials. They figure they are breeding a whole new Generation of football fans by getting the teen-age beer drunkards hooked early -- and after that they will be loyal lifetime rabid fans, just like me.

Ho ho. I have no more loyalty to football than I do to the Democratic party. And neither do these whooping babbling nerds that appear in Beer commercials. They would barely even notice if the Green Bay Packers were bought by Arabs and moved to Palm Beach. Or Kuwait.

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This kind of faithless fan base is a disaster waiting to happen. Like they say in Politics, "It's a mile wide and an inch deep."

And we wonder why the Election turned out so weird. The Pollsters knew nothing, because the people they talked to lied to them. Nobody wants to talk to a Pollster, anyway. They are Vermin. And they are getting paid to harass you with questions, but you're not getting a dime for it. You're not even getting on TV.

It was obvious from the start of this doomed 2000 election that nobody in America except a few Rich people gave a damn about who won -- but why should they have to admit it in public and look Dumb? No, they would Lie & Lie & Lie -- and then they would Flip a coin. Why not? It's fair and nobody will ever know, for sure anyway.

That's why this wretched Election ended in a Tie. A million consecutive coin-flips will give you a 50-50 split every time. Which raises the sickening question: What are the NFL's real TV ratings each week? What if half the people watching the games out of habit don't really give a hoot in hell who wins the game? That would be the end of Pro Football as we know it -- No ratings, no commercials, No TV & no money. You will be forced to watch Wrestling, Figure Skating & Golf on Sunday afternoons. Good luck.

Of course, this doesn't apply to the rich. December is always a good month for Rich people. It is a time for taking Profits & gross displays of wealth, for giving huge Rubies & Diamonds to each other at bogus Charity Balls & for seeing themselves on the covers of their own magazines. The year 2000 will be branded in history as "the year of the Doomed Election," which caused Millions of Americans to question themselves & suffer Loss of Self-Esteem for seemingly unexplainable reasons.

The beginning of the new century will also mark the quasi-official birth of what will come to be known as Generation Z. ... Never mind the gibberish of Mystics & Astrologers, this is the Generation that was born into the Richest Economy in the history of the world. They were born rich & Powerful, the certifiable Aristocrats of a new & Amazing century.

The American nation is more Dominant now than primitive American dreamers like Harry Truman & Richard Nixon ever imagined. We are Number One. Nobody argues. We have dollars, we have bombs & we have the Will to use them.

Let's get back to Generation Z & its Lush & Extravagant birthright in this year of Our Lord 2000. It might be a Mixed blessing to be hatched at the top of the Heap. Indeed. The Stock Market might crash, crazed Muslim terrorists might put Nerve Gas or Anthrax in your drinking water, Your daughter might get Rabies or turn into a famous Porno slut with two Junkie boyfriends who will Hack into your secret Computer Code & loot your Bank Accounts. But these are Uptown Problems, for sure, compared to being born in a Great Depression or forced to join a Hitler Youth Brigade at the end of WW2.

Nobody is ever going to feel sorry for the gilded little sots of Generation Z, football or no football.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's books include Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Proud Highway, Better Than Sex and The Rum Diary. His new book, Fear and Loathing in America, has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," will appear each Monday on Page 2.