Monday, February 21, 2005

RIP Hunter S. Thompson

Interesting reminiscence on Thompson:

HST

Gonzo

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

HST On Republicans:
“In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are f-ed until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.”

On Nixon:
“If there were any such thing as true justice in this world, his rancid carcass would be somewhere down around Easter Island right now, in the belly of a hammerhead shark.”


I'm saddened at HST's bowing out, but it's a fairly understandable response to an absurd world for an old rebel in not great health...due to a miserable hangover? bitch problems? strapped for cashola? Bush re-election? dope connection vamanosed...some ho-wood mafia intrigue

Dylan Thomas yawped it better than I ever shall:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

* * *

Cynical addendum: Offing yourself in a room next to where your son and 6 yr. old grandson are located might be gonzo, but it doesn't seem too ethical or sane. And there's a bit too much bad craziness in HST's oeuvre.

I don't think HST was of the genius sort. He came from the sportswriting department. His political writing and columns ( especially his old Herald Examiner stuff in LA) packed a punch but he was no Mencken, certainly no Bertrand Russell or Pynchon. Kerouac's writing, however unfocused, also contained more heart and profundity than Dr. Gonzo's savage journey into the American Dream. Like Mailer, HST's machoism and violence is tiresome, even if funny--and there are some rumors that HST was a bit more perverse and criminal than one would think.

We should attempt to overlook his "character flaws" but in many ways he personifies much of the 60s and 70s excesses. Gonzo reminds me of old, bad rock & roll albums I would rather forget, too many hippies and freaks who unthinkingly bought into the entire 60's ethos. I listen to Stravinsky and Coltrane and Debussy while commuting, web-surfing, or working, not drug-crazed Marin cowboys or Malibu minstrels. I have witnessed too many people's lives ruined by alcohol and narcotics to join in the gonzo par-tay, and I suspect others might object to his incessant praise of drugs and alcohol and his rude and even redneck perspective.

His unpolitically-correct views and his attacks on repugs were needed but he was lacking, well, a certain modicum of rationality.


His strange exit may remind us of the existentialist's meditations on suicide (Camus thought it was the central philosophical problem), or perhaps the buddhist monks who during the height of 'Nam bombing immolated themselves. He might have been a bit more of a decent phreak and taped the event for us.


2 comments:

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