Hunter S. Thompson
Journalism has lost one of its greatest voices. Hunter Thompson was found dead at his home yesterday. It was apparently a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His son told reporters “Hunter prized his privacy and we ask that his friends and admirers respect that privacy as well as that of his family.”
If you haven’t heard of him, or only know of the drug-crazed maniac portrayed by Bill Murray in “Where the Buffalo Roam” and Johnny Depp in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” that’s like just knowing that Beethoven was some deaf musician.
He had the most riveting writing style I’ve ever seen. He could be writing about a senior citizens’ bingo tournament and he’d have you on the edge of your seat. I have no idea what kind of music he listened to, but reading even just a few pages of his work is like listening to Pantera or Slipknot at 200 decibels.
He had his finger on the pulse of this crazy, wacked out culture. Period. No other writer or journalist even came close. Some may dismiss him as just some looney who’d get zonked on acid and pot and booze and God-knows-what-else and go out and get in some politician’s face; but that was just the tip of the iceberg.
During the ‘60s and ‘70s, Hunter Thompson and Thom Wolfe were considered the main chroniclers of the era. Thom Wolfe was a better writer; he could “play” the English language the way Ingwe Malmsteen plays the guitar. (Thom Wolfe went on to become an even “better” writer, and more and more removed from any sort of pulse with John Q. Public.)
But future historians will note that Thompson’s Gonzo (his own word) journalism chronicled America — all of our idiosyncrasies, the dynamics and forces that have shaped our culture — more accurately than anyone in the 2nd half of the 20th century.
His books include “The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Hell’s Angels,” “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “The Great Shark Hunt,” (those are the books I’ve read), and many more recent books. Check him out.
He also of course wrote numerous articles for Rolling Stone.
Everyone should get twisted on Wild Turkey today in remembrance of a Great American icon.