Monday, February 21, 2005

Farewell, Hunter S. Thompson

My prejudice is pretty general, far too broad and sweeping for any racial limitations. It’s clear to me – and has been since the age of 10 or so – that most people are bastards, thieves and yes – even pigfuckers.
Hunter S. Thompson (1937 – 2005), journalist

My introduction to Hunter S. Thompson came via a gift package from a cousin’s girlfriend who worked for Rolling Stone magazine. In my package, I received two albums: “Leon Russell and The Shelter People,” “Cat Steven’s Tea for the Tillerman” albums and the current issue of Rolling Stone, which happened to feature the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas article.

My enthusiasm for Thompson ebbed and flowed over the years, but whenever I would re-read something of his it immediately renewed my appreciation for his work and style. Once I heard the news of his suicide, I pulled out my copy of “The Gonzo Letters, Volume II” to look for some excerpts that highlight his pioneering style and his low tolerance for bullshit.

I thought I had an original idea that bloggers all owe a debt of gratitude to Thompson for his personal prose, but B2 informs me that many other bloggers have mentioned that – it’s so hard to be original.

Was Thompson was ahead of the curve railing against the establishment, I don’t think he was. No, unfortunately, it goes back to the sad fact that mankind has been slow to evolve. Power is a drug stronger than anything Thompson ingested and those in such positions whether in government or through finance or behind the pulpit are very predictable in that they always want more, which makes Thompson’s work timeless.

The following is an excerpt from the forward by David Halberstam from “The Gonzo Letters, Volume II”:

For America these days print journalism is in sharp decline, significantly more anemic than it was thirty-five years ago, and television journalism, more often than not, is a mockery of itself. We live in a communications society where image is more important than truth and spinning is our great new growth industry; even television reporters now have their own personal public relations people, the better, if not to spin their viewers and the ever admiring celebrity magazine, then at least to spin themselves on the value of what they do. Therefore in a culture like ours Hunter’s truths seem like laser beams cutting through the fog of lies and obfuscations, an industrialized manmade fog that is now as easily manufactured, brought, and paid for in the wealth of contemporary America. Hunter is fog immune. Or at least manmade fog immune.

Hunter S. Thompson will be missed most by those who do not have the propinquity to power or financial riches.

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.

[Contributed by The Misanthrope]


Daxohol said...

Boo. Hunter S. is one of my fave character *types* to whip out on stage. A woman doing it makes it even funnier I think.

I really should do more research on him though.

The Misanthrope said...

I wish you guys made a trek to Los Angeles at least once a year. It would be great to see your show. That bit seems as if it would be very funny.