Buy the ticket, take the ride…

IT would be remiss of me not to mention that Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr Hunter S Thompson is showing at the QFT from tonight, seeing as I owe at least a pseudonym and countless ellipses to the drug-crazed, brilliant and flawed freak genius who sparked some of my own interest in politics, journalism and other bad craziness with his Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 (“the least factual, most accurate” account of the election). While HST had clearly lost it in later years, his trip from the mid-60s to mid-70s defined a moment in American history and new journalism. “I’m really in the way as a person,” Thompson once said before blowing his own brains out with one of his many guns. “The myth has taken over. I find myself an appendage. I’m no longer necessary. I’m in the way. It would be much better if I died. Then people could take the myth and make films.” Despite going out with a bang, the gonzo legacy lives on… and most noticeably in blogging.

  • wild turkey


    ‘his trip from the mid-60s to mid-70s defined a moment in American history ‘ yeah, the Dr spoke for many of us at the time. The journalistic high points being his coverage of the ’72 campaign and the subsequent Watergate shitstorm (see the Great Shark Hunt)

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Belongs on every american high school syllabus… and every re-hab/detox reading list.

    ‘While HST had clearly lost it in later years,’ Don’t know about that. Although not to everyones taste or standards, he occassionally still hit the mark in his EPSN columns (see Hey Rube). His obituary for Richard Milhous Nixon stands up against the best of HL Mencken or Twains late in life essays.

    Given what some would see as his self indulgent writing and behaviour, its fairly easy (and fashionable) to deride and mock HST…but he had the good sense and honour not to be taken in by, or genuflect to, the ‘objectivity’ of the mainstream american media…

    HST was a true hairy assed Kantuckee rebel Jeffersonian. I think he actually believed in life, liberty and that elusive ‘pursuit of happiness’. Adherence to that noble and naive belief ultimately led him to cash his check.

    As they say in Louisville, Selah.

  • The Raven

    On your reference to it, WT, I searched for, and read the Nixon obit you mentioned. Loved every scathing syllable of it.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    where’s Newton?….He talks the talk, but he doesn’t walk the walk.

  • Pace John O’Hara of George Gershwin: as long as Gary Trudeau keeps Uncle Duke as a regular item, they may say HST is dead, but I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Thompson hated Uncle Duke! And I just realised that was a 79-word intro. For shame, Malcolm and me.

    Good movie though. Went this evening. Worth a watch.

  • Duke HST on Duke:

    “You can’t expect others to understand how horrible it was. How would you like to be mocked in Li’l Abner or Dick Tracy every day?”

    HST on the 1974 Super Bowl VIII (Vikings 7, Dolphins 24):

    “I can’t be expected to remember what every drug-addled yuppie hanger-on-er who wanted to get close to me during a football game twenty-five years ago digested. There were so many dope fiends milling about, I don’t remember what some Yalie named Bush, whose father was a factotum in the Nixon Administration, was doing. But he strikes me as the sort of person I would have thrown out of the room. A rich, beer-drunk yahoo with a big allowance who passes out in your bathtub.”

    Both quotations lifted from Douglas Brinkley, The New Yorker, 15 May 2000.