shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass

2.21.2005

complicated by thompson

So, as you've surely seen everywhere Hunter Stockton Thompson has died by his own hand. I ask myself if it could have ended any other way? Doubtful.

Here's the thing: This would have made me much sadder when I was in my late teens and early 20s. I was a huge Thompson fan, perhaps too enamoured of the lifestyle his early work memorializes (just ask McLaren), not to mention of the mindset that caught fire with exposure to gonzo in j-school, and, of course, he was a Kentuckian. Bred, anyway.

I got to The Rum Diaries about the same time I read Paul Perry's
Fear and Loathing: The Strange and Terrible Saga of Hunter S. Thompson. I remember the experience of reading it vividly. It was the summer after the fire at my parents' house and I spent half of it living in England and the other in the claustrophobic attic bedroom at my grandmother's house, soothed only by the roar of the window unit air conditioner. I read the biography late at night in that close room. I'd had no idea about the pattern of violence toward women. I suppose it shouldn't have come as a shock, but it did. I had lionized someone who was capable of that?

This was the first time I ever wrestled with how to balance what I felt about someone's work with what I felt about them as a person. It's something that still comes up from time to time. I have to say that the bloom on Thompson's rose died for me then and never really came back, a fact that's probably as due to the fact I'd read all his best work by then, and only the mediocre was left.

My lasting impression of Thompson is that he was the kind of person it's better to know of, than to know well.

(Johnny Depp can come fight me if he wants.)

1 Comments:

  • At 10:17 PM , Blogger wangateur said...

    I will miss him ... BIG HUG for Juan, Jen, Willam and Anita… who will never be able to fill the hole left in there lives by the man in spite of the myth and legend attached to his life..

    I am a long time friend of Juan we went to the Aspen Community School together I have been using the blogs to try to send a message of love to him and the family but I know he is totally swamped because of the media attention at Owl farm and I need to let him know that we care for Him, Anita and the whole family in this time of tragedy while respecting his privacy

    Let's see if we can get the word out ...
    He was first THE MAN….
    He became the myth and legend
    To me he was several people.
    He was my best friend’s dad although he always called his dad Hunter
    (At Juan’s wedding he said to a friend about me “Look there’s another little bastard I raised that turned out OK”)
    He was Hunter S. Thompson retiring shy southerner who loved guns and his freedom
    And
    He was the Dr. Gonzo who we all know who would be in your face and try to kill you if you attempted to try to take away his guns, drugs, freedom, privacy and the god given right to go into an explosive tirade about it.

    To be such a person required him to have a unique emotional support structure. These people now need our support, love and understanding in this time of grief.

    Bradley Laboe

     

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