|Hunter S. Thompson, dead at 67|
|My view from the left||Mainstream Media says||Views from the right|
The Mojo Wire fell silent last night. No doubt denizens of Fat City will rejoice in a shameful, atavistic way, though it's hard to imagine the celebrants will be more vituperative in Thompson's death than Thompson regularly was in life.
The freaks will mourn, as will political junkies of all stripes. Thompson was a bridge between the learned cynicism of H.L. Mencken and the personal journalism of the blogosphere, where if snark is the currency of the realm, Thompson's cigarette holder-clenching mug would appear on the 20 snark bill.
At bottom, Thompson wrote passionately, honestly, and well. A rare trifecta, indeed. His gonzo journalism is an obvious antecedent for political blogging and an unobvious precedent for Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation. If Thompson is fairly credited for these developments, perhaps his bitterly expressed contempt can fairly be blamed for the acceptance of Ann Coulter's deranged diatribes.
Is it intellectually honest to celebrate Thompson and condemn Coulter? Absolutely. Thompson was fundamentally honest; Coulter is fundamentally dishonest. Thompson, though his milieu was fictional memoir, created facts within his fiction consistent with the truth of the events he witnessed. Coulter presents, withholds, and arranges facts in such a way as to mislead. Thompson's writing was in constant opposition to power, with great service to personal freedom. Coulter's typing is in constant support of the powerful, with a commitment to demonizing liberals in a manner that borders on fascistic.
Farewell, then, Hunter Thompson. Wherever you are now, wherever you now are going, I'm certain the top is down, the throttle is wide open, and the high-caliber pot shots at hallucinations will echo forever.
Writer Hunter S. Thompson Kills Himself
From AP, February 21, 2005
Hunter S. Thompson, the hard-living writer who inserted himself into his accounts of America's underbelly and popularized a first-person form of journalism in books such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," has committed suicide.
Thompson was found dead Sunday in his Aspen-area home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff's officials said. He was 67. Thompson's wife, Anita, had gone out before the shooting and was not home at the time.
Besides the 1972 classic about Thompson's visit to Las Vegas, he also wrote "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72." The central character in those wild, sprawling satires was "Dr. Thompson," a snarling, drug- and alcohol-crazed observer and participant.
Thompson is credited alongside Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese with helping pioneer New Journalism -- or, as he dubbed his version, "gonzo journalism" -- in which the writer made himself an essential component of the story.
...Born July 18, 1937, in Kentucky, Hunter Stocton Thompson served two years in the Air Force, where he was a newspaper sports editor. He later became a proud member of the National Rifle Association and almost was elected sheriff in Aspen in 1970 under the Freak Power Party banner.
Thompson's heyday came in the 1970s, when his larger-than-life persona was gobbled up by magazines. His pieces were of legendary length and so was his appetite for adventure and trouble; his purported fights with Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner were rumored in many cases to hinge on expense accounts for stories that didn't materialize.