Hunter S Thompson

The writer, and one of the pioneers of New Journalism, Hunter S Thompson shot himself dead last night at his home in the Colorado mountains. He was 67. Always controversial, the author of Hells Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, among others, was still able to produce an occasional burst of high octane writing when suitably riled. A collection of his many letters The Proud Highway was published in 1997.

The Guardian has report including a great quote from Christopher Lehmann-Haupt writing in the New York Times in 1973 – worried Thompson might someday “lapse into good taste”.

“That would be a shame, for while he doesn’t see America as Grandma Moses depicted it, or the way they painted it for us in civics class, he does in his own mad way betray a profound democratic concern for the polity,” he wrote. “And in its own mad way, it’s damned refreshing.”

and, appropriately, Thompson’s own view of his life and writing,

“Fiction is based on reality unless you’re a fairytale artist,” Thompson said in 2003. “You have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you’re writing about before you alter it.

RIP Hunter.

Added link.
The Guardian also has a short profile, with some links to other articles…

including some, selected, quotes

  • Davros

    I was sad to hear the news this morning. He was wonderful during the last US Pres’ election. RIP.

  • Davros
  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    One of the great journalists of all time.

    Not one who would be satisfied with accepting without question the government, police or party line.

    Not one either for waiting in the bar for the press release….

  • Fraggle

    no, his presence in the bar would have been entirely coincidental.

    another thing to blame on the ‘syphilis president’.

    will pakman be on to complain that this has nothing to do with NI politics or is it just ROI related stories he objects to?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    *gulp*

    In case anyone ever wondered where the ‘Gonzo’ (or the blatant use of three dots in the blog entries…) came from, now you know. Thompson was the father of what is known as ‘gonzo journalism’, where objectivity goes out the window in favour of the reporter almost becoming part of the story – ethically dubious, but in Thompson’s case, it made for a damn fine read and gave a perspective on things that hadn’t been explored before the advent of ‘New Journalism’.

    My first encounter was with his work was reading ‘Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72’. Looking back, perhaps there were better influences for my own foray into journalism and politics, but few as exciting.

    His writing varied in quality, more towards the end, perhaps depending on the quality of the local whiskey or whatever else was coursing through his veins. But it was hard to ignore him, ignorant boor that he could be. ‘F&L’ blended reality and imagination wonderfully, and is still a classic in my book. Refinement wasn’t in his gift; shaking people out of their stupor was, and if it required a little shock therapy, so be it.

    Cancel the flight to Woody Creek, lay down the revolver, pass the Wild Turkey and drink a toast to this hellraiser tonight.

    Res ipsa loquitur.

  • peteb

    So be it.

    Cheers, BG.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Some political and journalistic quotes from HST (courtesy of Wikipedia):

    So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here—not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

    If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.

    “Objective journalism is one of the main reasons [America] has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long.”

    “I have spent half my life trying to get away from journalism, but I am still mired in it – a low trade and a habit worse than heroin, a strange seedy world full of misfits and drunkards and failures.”

    Why bother with newspapers, if this is all they offer? Agnew was right. The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits – a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    …and a final favourite:

    Who is the happier man, he who has braced the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?
    Hunter Thompson

    Says it all really.

  • peteb

    one additional quote –

    “I don’t like to write. I don’t care what the fuck happens after I write. Once I’ve gotten the story in my mind, the rest is pain.” – Hunter S.

    I have nothing to add.

  • Emily

    “I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone … but they’ve always worked for me.” – HST

    Only up to a point, I guess.

  • James

    You know that you’ve lived a full life and can finally hang up your boogie shoes when Johnny Depp gets to do your character.

    Thompson rode around here with the Oakland Angels for two years getting material for a book on them. He got along well enough until they stomped him.

    Before that spat he was the Prankster connection with the Angels before he got a hankering for the truly bizarre and started writing about politics.

    Party on Dude.

  • Davros
  • peteb

    The writer William Gibson’s blog on Hunter S

    “RIP HST

    You made me come closer to pissing myself than any writer who ever lived.”

  • Davros

    Alexander Cockburn in Counterpunch : “We’ve Gone from Bad to Worse to Rotten” Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo has some unsettling details of his suicide towards the end of the article ( hat-tip to
    The Whole Wide World Of Fat Buddha! )

  • Young Fogey

    Just finished a valedictory read of Fear and Loathing. Have an ether binge for me tonight, dude, wherever you are.

  • Davros

    Could Hunter S Thompson have been the elusive Deep Throat ?