Monday, February 21, 2005

RIP: Hunter S. Thompson

You didn't really expect Hunter S. Thompson would let age, illness or infirmity slowly sap the life from him.

Did you?

After all, in "What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum?," which he wrote for The National Observer in 1964, Thompson concluded of Papa: "He was an old, sick and very troubled man, and the illusion of peace and contentment was not enough for him...

So finally, and for what he must have thought the best of reasons, he ended it with a shotgun."It wouldn't be accurate to say Thompson had a death wish. Just the opposite: He was the self-described "champion of fun."

As Paul Perry, one of his biographers put it: "He rides the edge at high speed while engaging in a mix of raucous verbal and gestural antics: hoax, legerdemain, gargantuan exaggeration, buffoonery, conscious alteration, threat, insult... He gets people hooked on him because he's fun, irresistible, liberating, infectious."But once the fun was over, Thompson often made clear, he wasn't going to stick around and watch the janitors sweep up...

Like Hemingway's, though, it was a quieter end that Thompson chose Sunday afternoon, alone, at his ranch. Thompson "took his life with a gunshot to the head," his wife and son said in a statement released to the Aspen Daily News. He was 67...

Rather than the "old, sick and very troubled man" he saw in the latter-day
Hemingway, many will remember Thompson with the epitaph he bestowed on Acosta: "Too weird to live, too rare to die."

And always, dancing beneath the diamond sky, with one hand waving
free.


Whole thing here.

Not to mention that he said he was a libertarian at heart.

12 comments:

Clara said...

I've never read Fear and Loathing, by HST, but one of the characters name-drops it in one of the greatest short stories ever written--"The Smoker" by David Schickler.

Loathing said...

Hunter Thompson, the stoned drunk egomaniac roommate you got stuck with, the stoned drunk writer you employed to write about how stoned drunk he was, the stoned drunk husband who offed himself instead of sticking around. Get my drift. What's so romantic about every kid's nightmare dad.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard, had my mind so blown, as when I read Fear & Loathing.

As for, "What's so romantic about every kid's nightmare dad," why the hell should anybody aspire to be a middle-of-the road picket-fence-painting 9-to-5 father of 2.8 kids? Aren't outlaws, clowns, and raving lunatics aren't a huge part of making America "exceptional"?

Farewell, HST

Anonymous said...

(scratch the second "aren't")

uniquely sober guy said...

Uh...did the deceased aspire to marry, to father 1.0 kid into existence, to own a house & some property w/fence around it? Or maybe I'm missing something.

Uniquely exceptional clowns...get over yourselves. We've got the right to get stoned; we've got the opportunity to get rational.

who the hell cares said...

Maybe this boils down to where one stands re the right of the U.S. to view Islamic Jihad as a declaration of war and a challenge to our right to exist. In Sept 2002, Thompson called the Bush administration "a gang of thieving lobbyists for the military industrial complex." So that would be Thompson's vote against Bush, against America's self-defense, against my right to exist.
Sounds like a jerk.

Anonymous said...

Okay Hunter Thompson sent Postcards From The Edge. That takes talent. Some brains can handle decades of chemical assault but who'd want to promote The Edge as location to spend a career or an attempt at fatherhood. Hey Loathing: you don't sound happy at the memory.

Charlotte Hays said...

Here is Tom Wolfe on Hunter Thompson: Hunter’s life, like his work, was one long barbaric yawp, to use Whitman’s term, of the drug-fueled freedom from and mockery of all conventional proprieties that began in the 1960s. In that enterprise Hunter was something entirely new, something unique in our literary history. He was suigeneris. Yet he was also part of a century-old tradition in American letters, the tradition of Mark Twain, Artemus Ward and Petroleum V. Nasby, comic writers who mined the human comedy of a new chapter in the history of the West, namely, the American story, and wrote in a form that was part journalism and part personal memoir admixed with powers of wild invention, and wilder rhetoric inspired by the bizarre exuberance of a young civilization. No one categorization covers this new form unless it is Hunter Thompson’s own word, gonzo. If so, in the 19th century Mark Twain was king of all the gonzo-writers. In the 20th century, it was Hunter Thompson."

Maybe the shot came from the grassy knoll? said...

"When a major representative of any dramatic period in history dies, it is tempting to proclaim the end of an epoch, but the lonely death of Thompson--he shot himself in his kitchen--seems more emblematic than any other associated with the ’60s. The incident might even have been accidental, brought on by one of Thompson’s self-storied flings into the ingestion of garbage drugs. Who knows?"

Anonymous said...

HST started as editor for a Bowling magazine. oh. our hero.

SO? said...

So? What's your point?

Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)