Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson

"I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone … but they've always worked for me."

Certainly one of the most influential authors in my life. In the 70s I devoured Rolling Stone not for the music news but for the politics and social commentary, and nothing was better but when RS arrived in the mail and there was an article by HST. Here was a guy that embraced a wild and independent life but wasn't some bleeding heart. Guns were fun, not some evil invention of men (okay, maybe they were, but so much the better). Government, authority and most institutions were the real devices of evil. People were the problem and he relished in observing and participating with them at their worst, writing, entertaining and taking his readers along for the long strange trip.

I've read several articles on HST this morning. No clue as to why he killed himself.
But some of the best tributes......

from the San Jose Mercury News

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.

In George Plimpton's "Shadow Box," he imagines meeting death in a flaming car crash. In the introduction to his collected works in 1978, he jokes about leaping from a 28th-floor office window.

In a BBC documentary included with the "collector's edition" of the "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" DVD, he discusses plans for a giant monument on the back 40 of his ranch in Woody Creek, Colo. A hundred feet tall, it would include a cannon to fire a canister containing his ashes out over the valley.

All to the tune of Bob Dylan's "Mister Tambourine Man."


From the same article one I'd not remembered but now recall how great it was

Perhaps his last truly great piece of writing ran in Rolling Stone's 10th-anniversary issue in 1977. Titled "The Banshee Screams for Buffalo Meat," it was a tribute to Oscar Acosta, "the Brown Buffalo," whose life had unraveled after the Vegas adventure with Thompson.

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.


What else could anyone say?



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