Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Monday, February 21, 2005

A Master Passes

HSTA hero of mine is dead, apparently by his own hand. It's a sad end to a whirlwind life, an abrupt halt to a twisted, tortured existence spanning several decades of decadence and delusion that changed the face of journalism in the process. To some he was just a drug-fueled, gun obsessed iconoclast, a hold-over from the sixties who never let go of that era's freedom. But to me, he's always been a literary role model, the Father of Gonzo Journalism who long ago scrambled my brains and ignited my soul.

I discovered Thompson at age thirteen, when one of my more subversive older buddies slipped me a tattered copy of 'Hell's Angels'. Inside those well-worn pages, I found the most unlikely of role models - an unbalanced outlaw scribe who fascinated me as much as his salacious subject matter. That a journalist could interject himself into the action in such an incredibly entertaining way was nothing less than a revelation to me. It made me want to WRITE more than ever. Why not? This deranged wordsmith from the decade I was born in had cleared the way, blazed intoxicating skid marks through the hallowed halls of American Journalism. Soon I immersed myself in the H.S.T. canon, from 'Fear and Loathing' to 'Songs of the Doomed' to 'Generation of Swine'. Whiel other kids my age were busy idolizing sports figures, I was falling under the influence of a drunken Master, a dangerous uncle who could lay down incendiary narratives and broken prose like no one else before or after him. I was hooked, and still am. Not far from my computer, his many works fill my bookshelves, timeless testaments to the power of the caustically written word.


And now he's gone, the apparent victim of his own violent psyche. That part saddens me the most, as it will cast a shadow over his legacy for awhile, givign others ample proof that the Father of Gonzo Journalism was in fact, still crazy after all these years. Perhaps. But throughout his life, Dr. Thompson inspired as much as he instigated, delivered as much as he derided, and lifted a workaday medium to dizzying new heights. Of course, Hunter's life and work wasn't for everyone. Some view his work with middle-of-the-road disdain, dismissing his infectious wordplay and laser-beam wit as the drug-addled ramblings of a madman. Fair enough - but if you're reading this, then count yourself a fan. If you like what it is I've been attempting to pull off at this humble site, then you too are a Disciple of the Duke, for my hollow words are a mere echo of what Hunter S. Thompson has been shouting about all these years...
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Indeed...Rest in Peace, H.S.T.

73 comments:

HockeyPat said...

Did you know Hunter is the inspiration for the Doonesbury character “Duke”?

I only ask because of the Duke reference at the end.

Couch said...

id never heard of him before watching fear and loathing in las vegas. ive been a fan since. i will miss him.

HockeyPat said...

Some of my favorite HST quotes:

"No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master."

"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." (Me) That could have been Bush's campaign slogan.

"I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me."

"A word to the wise is infuriating."

"I want you to know we are on our way to Las Vegas to find the American Dream. That's why we rented this car. It is the only way to do it. Can you grasp that?"
(Me)Uh, no

"Sportswriters are kind of a rude and brainless subculture of fascist drunks whose only real function is to publicize and sell whatever the sports editor sends them to cover." (me) pretty much applies to all of the media. Present company not included.

"Bill Clinton does not inhale marijuana, right? You bet. Like I chew on LSD but I don't swallow it." (Me) Maybe Bill swallowed the marijuana.

"I ordered a margarita with ice, but he wouldn't hear of it. 'Naw, naw, what the hell kind of drink is that for Kentucky Derby time? What's wrong with you boy? Goddam, we gotta educate this boy. Get him some good whiskey....'"
(Me) You must read "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved."


My 2nd most favorite:
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

The best:
" The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." (Me) I didn't know about the last sentence until now. Kind puts into a new light.

Lenslinger said...

Pat,

Thanks for the quotes. I think I'll find a permanent home for them on the blog. (Come see us...)

HockeyPat said...

Sure, how about next week!

I'll be at the Adams Mark in Winston March 2-4.

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