Dead at 67 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Hunter S. Thompson leaves behind a legacy of truth — or the desire, at least, to tell it. Hard and often. PopMatters writers dip their collective hats to the man who, in most cases, brought them here.
Friday, February 25 2005
Thompson possessed a singular voice, one influenced by his various delusions perhaps, but not bound to them.
Fear and Loathing in Pittsburgh (or, “These Things Don’t ‘Just Happen’”): Dr. Hunter S. Thompson 193
Hunter spoke his mind. He loved peacocks and firearms. He lived out in Woody Creek in Aspen, Colorado, a town where he almost became sheriff in 1970 when he ran under the Freak Party. Can you imagine if the man had been president?
Easy Rider with a pen, Hunter S. Thompson personified the power of journalism by challenging authority on a multitude of fronts.
He was a liar, a cheat, a drug addict, an alcoholic, a violent and temperamental person, and he was a brilliant writer -- a funny writer, a creator of masterful, thought provoking analysis and social dissections.
News today, even when it's basically right-wing propaganda and lies, makes a point of telling you how fair and even and balanced it is. Thompson knew better.
Tonight, when I look out my window, I can see the tide mounting again. Thompson obviously saw it too, or maybe it had already crashed over and devoured him.
The problem was the '60s. Even as that hoary decade recedes faster and faster into the past, the red-shift switching to magenta and eventually to a deep painful purple, the echoes of lingering culture war still hang in the air like cordite.
a gun-toting, drug-ingesting, beyond blue-and-red, sane lunatic.
That shit will get you, one way or another.
Thompson's death shatters the illusion of his life, and the first layer of that illusion is that we knew him. What we knew was a mask, a fictionalized self.
That Hunter S. Thompson's death is apparently self-inflicted is expectantly unexpected, a sad and disappointing end to not only a breathing American literature objet d'art, but of a life.