Monday, September 20


Given these times, we need Hunter S Thompson more than ever. Where is the outrage voiced by my generation? Is there outrage or will that come when the debts come due .. The opening of the "The Great Shark Hunt," published in 1979, one of the most powerful I can recall with Thompson typing on New Year's eve and contemplating jumping from a Midtown skyscraper. He dares us to read. Thompson probably most famous for his "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" where he skewered the political elite while making it all sound fun, if not surreal, on the edge. He was friends with Allen Ginsberg and William S Boroughs and other Beats; he briefly lived in Aspen and ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, in '70 on the "freak power" ticket which promoted decriminalising drugs and re-naming Aspen "Fat City" (he shaved his head and referred to his opponent as "my long-haired opponent", as the Republican candidate had a crew cut). Thompson created "Gonzo journalism," a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. He is also known, of course, for his unrepentant lifelong use of alcohol (morning constitutional: Bloody Mary), LSD, mescaline, and cocaine. He loved firearms. He owned a long-standing hatred of Richard Nixon and, more recently, George W. Bush and the other political riff raff and villains who asserted their dreadfulness on us via government. Thompson was 67 when he took his life.

HST raged against the establishment which he viewed as corrupt, greedy, unthinking, bloated ("America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable"). His insanity ("The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over"), probably liberated him - one senses he does not give a hoot about the consequences of his efforts. Remarkably, Thompson hated writing yet was compelled to say something, anything, against perceived or real injustice. He did his best at this.

Since Bush I have been waiting for an anti-establishment backlash or some intelligent voice that brings it together and allows us to believe, somehow, our country not completely controlled by special interests. Or idiots. Instead we get Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. Roll over in your grave, HST.

Self photo from the WWW.

"Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of 'the rat race' is not yet final."
--Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)