Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hunter Thompson

A post for anyone who wants to comment on the gonzo journalist's death. "Evil Journalista" seems to have already weighed in. I've also received many e-mails about the guy.

I respect the energy of his writing. Thompson was a 60's counter-culture icon-- a favorite of Gary Trudeau and such. Thompson and Tom Wolfe's styles were heavily influenced by the Beats and by Norman Mailer. They didn't create anything new, but were astute borrowers. Hunter Thompson borrowed his persona from William Burroughs.

Thompson's manner of death was fitting. I was always struck by his adolescent attitude toward firearms; always waving them around and such. Real gun enthusiasts (coming from Michigan, I've known a few of them) have a different, more respectful view of weapons and what they can do.

Unlike Wolfe, Hunter Thompson never wrote a novel that I know of, for good or ill.


Anonymous said...

Check Jack Saunders' post today:


Noah Cicero said...

Fear and Loathing on the Nixon Campaign Trail is his best. That will be studied in fututre generations as to what was so fucked up about America in 1972. He wrote some other good stuff here and there. It is a sifting process with his writing.
he didn't influence my writing or anything, but i spent many hours reading his writing, and he did make me laugh and taught me something here and there.
His political ideology was weak and too rebel like for me. He never bothered to analyze, only report. But that was his job.
I'm sure he had good reasons, whatever they were.

Jeff Potter said...

He was a brilliant character and super, innovative reporter all right. Very inspirational for my generation.

Man, when books like his---and Abbey's "Monkey Wrench"---first came out, oh man! They were in millions of hip pockets and sparked up social change and provoked young people everywhere to explore and look at their country with new eyes. 70's literary pulp was a good period...altho it should've been better. It definitely lacked the sustainable angle: it was usually about self-poisoning and letting a crazy world make you crazy. Incomplete...and wimpy, in the end. Yes, it too usually came from money and privilege: and thus silliness in the end despite its talent. (Robbins, McGuane, Castenada.) ZEENSTERS CAN DO BETTER! But we haven't seen influential writing like that since. (Unless you want to count the provoking of smirks and black watch caps as influence.)

It's too bad HST never used his bully pulpit to help kindred spirits who kept on pushing, at least not that I've heard about. Anyone know better? I haven't read his letters book.