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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson Commits Suicide 

Hunter S. Thompson was a literary hero of mine. He committed suicide this weekend.

The madness of a modern political campaign has not been better described than it was in a series of articles written for Rolling Stone that became Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72

In his book Hell's Angels, he took the reader inside the darkest aspect of 60's counterculture. A symbol of the 60's and 70's counterculture, he was a pioneer of his own style called "Gonzo Journalism" that sought to take journalism from a dry exercise of relating facts to a vibrant picture that captured what it felt like to actually be present.

His critique of what he saw as the futility of the bohemian protests of the 1960's and 70's, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was made into a film by Terry Gilliam in 1998. He was earlier portrayed in film by Bill Murray in 1984's Where the Buffalo Roam, a movie Thompson hated.

The phrase "Fear and Loathing" was originally used by Thompson in personal correspondence following the assassination of JFK. The inspiration for the character of “Uncle Duke” in Gary Trudeau 's Doonesbury comic strip, Thompson exchanged heated correspondence with Trudeau for several years, and promised to shoot him on sight.

Taking the cause of Lisl Ulman, serving life for a murder committed while she was in the back of a police car in hand cuffs, Thompson recently drew fire for his heated criticism of the Denver Police department in an article for Vanity Fair as "thugs" and "pigs".

Thompson was also known for his wild hedonism and his almost superhuman intake of drugs and alcohol. Frequently if not permanently intoxicated, Thompson was prone to wild behavior and threats of violence. In 2000, he shot his then-girlfriend, mistaking her for a bear.

Thompson was 67, and is survived by one son, Juan Thompson.

Update:
Fafblog, as usual, has the best thing to say on the matter. My obit above contains 1 or 2 inaccuracies (he is also survived by a wife), but I wrote it off the top of my head last night. I can't overstate the impact Hunter S. Thompson had on me. Before I knew you kids, I smoked all my cigarettes out of a short cigarette holder.

-Miguel Sanchez  23:39 EST | |

About us:

This weblog is an ongoing, if periodic, effort by several friends to stay in touch, in reading material, and in ideas.

Lucky Luciano is a former Italian Stallion real estate hustler and Benedict Arnold CEO turned shady lawyer-to-be. He lives in Denver.

Ben is a Paramedic and would-be philantropist who lives in Denver. He knows everything about nothing.

Fuzzy Dunlop lives in Manhattan. He is more than capable of standing up to the stresses of a high crime urban environment.

Jess is a teacher. But have YOU given her an apple? No, you haven't. You should be ashamed of yourself. This crazy feminist currently rests her copy of Awakening in Jersey City.

Matt is a pariah, iconoclast, and professor of gambling living in Oakland.

Miguel Sanchez is not Lionel Hutz.

Daddy Brooklyn lives in Brooklyn. He hates Republicans, though he wouldn't mind being ensconced in the landed elite of New York City.

Paul just smoked my eyelids and punched my cigarette.

Ziggy Stardust has no past.

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