February 21, 2005

Hunter Thompson: What A Man! Yeah, Right.


I USED TO RUN A MAGAZINE IN SAN FRANCISCO BACK IN THE 70s. I ran it out of the basement of a firehouse in North Beach under the offices of Scanlan's magazine. Scanlan's was the scam magazine of Warren Hinckle, a man whose record of conning money out of Bay Area millionaires stood unbroken for decades until the arrival of David Talbot and Salon.

Warren liked to drink and spend other people's money on himself and writers. Naturally such a honey pot was going to attract Hunter. He liked to drink and spend other people's money on articles he might or might not write. Sometimes the small staff working with me and the larger staff working the con with Warren would decide to drink together. We liked to drink at our bar of choice up at the end of the alley, Andre's. And so one night, when Hunter was in town, we all went up to Andre's for a non-stop night of drinking.

Andre was an elegant French-Canadian who ran an elegant bar. He was old-school and could mix any drink anyone could name and it was always perfect. He was polished, polite, and a good listener. But he was a pro and usually knew when you'd had enough. Then he politely asked you to leave. If you ignored him, he had a very large mallet with a three foot handle behind the bar and you didn't ignore that.

So there we were, eight or ten of us I think, hanging around and drinking with "Hunter S. Thompson, man!" And, as they would, Warren and Hunter got into a drinking contest -- sort of like watching a match between Ali and Frazier in their prime.

It went on and on long past the point where I could or would keep up. It was getting late and Andre announced to the assembled cross-eyed drunks, that he was giving us our last round. The regulars took him at his word, but Hunter had to push the envelope. Except with Andre there was no envelope. Just a polite, "Non."

The next thing I know there's a gun in Hunter's hand and three rounds into the ceiling of the bar. (Did I mention that there were apartments where people were sleeping above the bar?)

Then I think there was a blur of Andre, in suit and tie, coming over the bar with the mallet. Then more blurs and everybody is out on the street dragging a semi-conscious Hunter back down the alley mumbling something about getting his gun back. After that I don't remember much and, frankly, haven't thought all that much about Thompson in the three decades that have intervened.

This morning I think even less of him. Yesterday, it would seem, he left in the same way that he lived -- gun-crazy, thoughtless, self-obsessed and selfish to the last second. A gunshot suicide at home, leaving his wife and son to discover and deal with his ruined corpse and clean up the room. What a man.

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Posted by Vanderleun at February 21, 2005 10:13 AM | TrackBack
Save to del.icio.us


"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Attacking a man when he is down shows weakness but bashing the dead before they are buried requires a vicious sort of person. One who's thoroughly reprehensable. I'm not familiar with your work (having NEVER HEARD OF YOU prior to stumbling upon this bore of a blog) and assume that you waited until AFTER Thompson has vacated the planet to slander him. (If not, I apologize for the last part.) Either way you are a heel and a thug. Fuck You. Coward.

Posted by: crapsicle at February 21, 2005 11:44 AM

Get off your high horse, crapsicle. I enjoyed the story, even if I disagree with the posthumous knock on Thompson.

Posted by: Jeremiah at February 21, 2005 12:07 PM

Given that Gerard is speaking from personal experience, perhaps you may want to shut the hell up crapsicle. I find his assessment spot on. And for the record, Gerard runs one of the best blogs in the whole 'spehere.

Posted by: Final Historian at February 21, 2005 12:24 PM

I hate to say it but the world is littered with people who have memories of waiting for hours to see HST speak at their college only to have HST be hours late, mumble incoherent and then leave. The students who saw him normally say it was great even though he was late, drunk and didn't say anything memorable (or often times understandable). I say I hate to say this because I was one of those students.

I think people read his books and believed that he was a certain way - a certain heroic being. In the end I think people like me didn't see HST for what he was but for what we wanted him to be.

For what it's worth - he did outlive Hemingway by six years.

(The above is in no way a comparison of HST to Hemingway - just an observation)

Posted by: chris at February 21, 2005 1:24 PM

Speak no ill of the dead? I did on my blog on Thompson. The man was a fool and a poseur who left a mess for others to clean up.

I'd have said the same about him when he was alive (a has been) except that I never gave him a moment's thought since he never did anything worth remarking upon for the last 30 years.

You think a dead idiot deserves some special respect? Well, it's too late to say a prayer for them, isn't it?

Posted by: mark butterworth at February 21, 2005 1:28 PM

Oh, yeah, Thompson isn't down. He's dead! Big difference.

Posted by: mark butterworth at February 21, 2005 1:29 PM

Dear CS,
You seem to be under the impression that I have zero admiration for the books of Thompson. Let me dissuade you that. I found Fear and Loathing (AT THE TIME) to be a fascinating and inspiring book in its way. In time I outgrew it. In time I outgrew the mental state that Thompson became stuck in. In time I outgrew almost everything about those days -- all the me, me, me of it, all the hate your country cool pose of it, all the vile behavior excused in the name of "freedom" which was, at the end, just code for selfishness. I outgrew all of it. Thompson did not. He was forever chained to a self of the moment. For him it was always 1972.

In the end, his life was all about me and nothing about others. He ended typing non-selling screeds about the hatefulness and vilness of Americans and his country. He ended filing blubber nobody read for ESPN2. His own hate and bile dragged him down.

Finally, he ended in some gore spattered room giving his wife and son his final gift of spite -- his body and a mess -- to cope with and clean up. In the end he was what he was all along and what many of his ilk still are behind their cozy little lies of the self and the sole -- a selfish coward.

But take heart, CS, because in the end that is not how Hunter Thompson will be remembered. In 10 to 20 years he won't be remembered at all.

Posted by: Gerard Van Der Leun at February 21, 2005 1:54 PM

The one time I went to see HST "live" was only memorable for the length of time it took him to show up, discovering that he was more abrasive and inconsiderate in person than in print, and that no matter how much coffee I had drunk beforehand, it still wasn't enough to keep me from falling asleep in the first hour of the "performance".

A writer with flashes of genius. . .and huge, honking big feet of clay. He wrote some good stuff — and also much dreck. I don't think I've read any good stuff of his for at least ten years.

Posted by: Nicholas at February 21, 2005 1:54 PM

Gerard, In 10 to 20 years, Thompson will be remembered - by his wife and child who had to see his brain splattered all around. They will remember that horror for the rest of their lives, long after everyone else has forgotten him. It is the living who suffer the suicide, and it is always painful. No matter what. Selfish - hunh.... cruel beyond words.

Posted by: Amy Byrd at February 21, 2005 2:39 PM

Suicide is the cowards way. Where were all you literate drunk cowards while I was fighting in Vietnam. I am not well read -- mostly technical, math and a good smattering of history. What can you say to me that would impell me to read anything Thompson has apparently scribbled on the tissue of tolilet paper? Wipe your asses!!!

Posted by: Hugh Smith at February 21, 2005 3:07 PM

HST isn't the first writer to be brash, arrogant and dangerously outside the curve; he's not likely even the last, but like him or not, read him or not, we are still left to accommodate his story in our world-model of being human.

Those who may think suicide is a path for cowards have never tried; confused, afraid, twisted in a knot of self-loathing logic, like any murder or act of warfare, it takes nerve and conviction to go that last very wrong step, and those are manly qualities, and nobody ever said HST lacked in either.

Posted by: mrG at February 21, 2005 4:53 PM

There's nothing, but nothing, manly about it when done in this way. Nothing. I can assure of that past a scintilla of a smidgen of a doubt. If you think so, you've never been close enough to one to see it, much less smell it. It is the way of a spiteful coward wrapped up in a self so filled with its own poison that it can't see one inch outside the skull.

Manly? Don't make me laugh.

Posted by: Gerard Van Der Leun at February 21, 2005 5:08 PM

Apparently it is a slow acting poison suitable only for cowards.

Posted by: Hugh Smith at February 21, 2005 5:46 PM

Interesting story and interesting take.

I know what you mean about outgrowing HST -- but he captured a certain kind of rebellion absolutely perfectly. At his best, he was an outstanding writer and a masterful prose stylist. At his medium-to-worst, he was sad. He didn't change, which is ironic, because that's exactly what HST accused Hemingway of.

Still, as a former depressive myself, I'm always charitable to those who do this sort of thing. Sometimes the darkness wins, which sucks.

Posted by: IB Bill at February 21, 2005 6:31 PM

It was not polite for Gerard to say what he did, but blogs are not polite places: they are for sharing clearly-stated perceptions. So, not polite, but truthful--that's why we read the blogs.

I agree with Gerard. I never had a fan period for HST; I was in the Army during the Summer of Love and regarded him as one more self-obsessed wrecker.

Posted by: gratis at February 21, 2005 6:57 PM

This is what I wrote on my blog:

Fear and Loathing in Aspen, CO.

Hunter S. Thompson was one of those dinosaurs who lived long past his prime. He was a man, like many, for whom change was impossible. Having created a self-conscious persona - a wild man, iconoclast, vulgarian curmudgeon - where did he leave any room for honest introspection and openness to grace?

I am tempted to imagine that his last act of life was one of defiance or a forceful - "oh, the hell with it all!" - kind of thing rather than a sorrow filled moment of despair, self-pity, or wounded helplessness.

Thompson was a fool whom many admired because he made them laugh with his antics and cynicism, but I bet his wife and son aren't laughing.

You look at Thompson and realize why the Catholic Church considered suicide a mortal sin and an express ticket to hell.

I suppose there will a great many people who will say, "He died like he lived - on his own terms."

Exactly. The life of a fool and a eunuch.


I know what it is like to confront suicide out of despair. Even then I could not imagine doing it as he did. And even then I disliked providing any horror for the person who discovered me. Even in despair, you can have a semblance of a soul and thought for another.

Posted by: mark butterworth at February 21, 2005 7:32 PM

I get the feeling that he killed himself in such a messy fashion for his own selfish reasons.The last twenty years of being a nobody was eating away at him so he created one more big news story with himself being a big part of it.Going out with your brains splattered all over a wall is much more sensational than going to sleep and never waking up.Only a selfish loser would do this to their family.

Posted by: Rob at February 21, 2005 8:09 PM

I've never read Thompson's early work; I only heard stories about his life and saw the dreck on ESPN2. Maybe someday I'll read the 'good stuff'. Right now, I just pity what he became and what he did to himself.

Posted by: P.A. Breault at February 21, 2005 8:55 PM

Gerard, I read your post re Gonzo first thing this morning. Then I read everything else online. I have been thinking about it all day, one of the most stirring posts I've ever read. It is the end of the day for me now and ... upon reflection, you are dead right on and I thank you for the insight. Were I to choose that way, I'd damn sure do it in a place where they could use a shovel and spare anyone, much less my kin, that particular agony. An aside to that crap unit above, STFU, Gonzo would have made you into sausage. Or a bullseye. And one more aside, I suspect Thompson was bad sick. I suspect Brautigan was as well. If Vonnegut goes this way, all of my past icons will have been diminished. But that detracts nought from their work. Thanks Gerard, for a day well spent in contemplation.

Posted by: Steel Turman at February 21, 2005 9:28 PM

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."


But, as with any body of work, commenting separately on the man and the work hits the mark on each more accurately. HST, the man, was awful. His (early) work is, however, admirable in many ways, as a product of intellect, regardless of how well it fits my own worldview today. And I did love it in the day.

"Hell's Angels" might stand the test of time.

Posted by: kobekko at February 21, 2005 9:34 PM

"He Stomped Terra, Terra Stomped Back" -- I presume Vanderleune confected this graphic, and it's a sentiment that Thompson might have envied as a worthy (if facile) vademecum. The first-person Hinkle/Thompson bar story, though venemous, is a nice addition to the HST codex. (BTW -- what was the name of yr mag published alongside Hinkle's, V?)

All that noted, you -- and some of the other commenters -- sell Thompson VERY short. He was a giant who may yet greatly transcend his time and place. Moreover, we who read him over the decades, even rather deeply, can only guess at the true nature of his demons. Hence, wild presumptions re his suicide, whether his motives, any lack of consideration for next of kin, etc. are utterly irrelevant.

Posted by: Gordon Jones at February 21, 2005 10:36 PM

"He stomped Terra. Terra stomped back." is merely an amplification of the pretentious statement made about this writer of the third intensity. One cannot sell hyperbole short since it is in the nature of hyperbole to amplify the short. All day long I've seen the shallow and the unread slosh out comparisons to Hemingway as if a gunshot made Thompson equal in death to a writer whom he cannot have hoped to emulate in life.

But wait, perhaps that is what we are seeing. A writer of extended screeds who, in his secret soul, thought by gum he should be Hemingway... or a least "a Hemingway"... and that this would be the punctuation mark he needed. Alas, Hemingway left several great books behind and Thompson left none. And that will make all the difference.

There is no guessing in this blunt age about the nature of Thompson's "deamons" -- drugs and alcohol but mostly alcohol are not mysterious manifestations of inner genius, but just signs of an inconsolable sad drunk. We don't do the romanticism of drunks any longer. They are what they are and they run to a pattern that is neither mysterious nor uplifting.

Thompson had neither grace nor transcendence to him. Those who read him "over the decades" will diminish rapidly by the end of this blighted decade and soon be found only among the occasional graduate student seeking, in some vain way, to bring back something from a time that will appear to be increasingly corrupt and foolish the more it recedes from us.

So you can spare me the "vademecum" (or, more properly, the "vade mecum" -- please get the big words right if you're going to use them.) and the brandishing of "codex" too. Thompson's pile-o-stuff does not rise to the level of codex. Never has and now, never will.

Oh yes, there's no wild presumptions about his suicide. At home. Gun.

And the next of kin are really, once you cut the bullshit of this writer's life and his slavering fans away, really all that does matter.

Posted by: Gerard Van Der Leun at February 21, 2005 11:29 PM

Over the hill and down the tubes, to grandmother's grave we go.

Posted by: TomC at February 21, 2005 11:39 PM

I've seen many people speculate whether he ended it due to health reasons. I've even seen some speculate that he ended it as the final act of having the spotlight. One thing to remember - HST was a degenerate gambler. He might have ended it to avoid paying his gambling losses.

Pure speculation on my part but I think I remember him backing the Patriots pretty hard and they didn't cover in the Super Bowl. Right about now is when the bookies would start to get antsy on people who didn't pay up their Super Bowl bets.

Posted by: chris at February 22, 2005 5:10 AM

Thompson was a hero to the hippie generation.

Given the abominable tastes of the hippie generation and the heaping pile of crud they've foisted on those of us that came after, I'll skip the canonization ceremony too.

Posted by: AntiHippie at February 22, 2005 6:33 AM

Hey wait. Wouldn't a tape deck tossed in the bathtub by a Samoan attorney been the exit of choice? I don't mean to make light of this, but THAT guy, the one worthy of a Ralph Steadman illustration, would have at least left a note asking to be buried in a rental tuxedo.

Posted by: Tom Parker at February 22, 2005 8:31 AM

An aside -

Andre's "mallet" is probably the Badge of Office of all True Barkeeps -the eternal bungstarter.

Made obsolete with the advent of machined aluminum kegs, the bungstarter remained a fixture in better bars everywhere.

Not nearly as much police fallout from smacking a drunk with what is essentially a kitchen tool as there is associated with say, a shotgun. And a real barkeep learned to measure the moment when the party was over - which is exactly what happened here.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 22, 2005 9:44 AM

Though I am sorry for his family and his lost and seemingly wasted life, I am happy to have had another 'icon' of the counter-culture brought to earth. All too much fuss has been made over self-indulgent non-sense--music, art, architecture, prose and godhelpuspoetry--from the lost generation. I pray for Thompson's soul and for his family's loss, but I also mourn the lost productive and insightful lives that were wasted on nothing but complaint. To quote Van Der Leun from earlier today: "...from a time that will appear to be increasingly corrupt and foolish the more it recedes from us".

Well yes, while it is true that some people DO believe that the "White Album" marked the beginning of an age of transcendence, it is all the more likely that many more just thought it was an unlistenable trail of squiggles on a circle of plastic. Unless of course you were high, maaaaan.

Dan Patterson

Posted by: Dan Patterson at February 22, 2005 12:07 PM

Provacative opportunism much?

Posted by: Hmmm at February 22, 2005 12:37 PM

The news of his suicide didn't really surprise me. Wait. I take that back. Sort of.

I was surprised to hear the news, but I wasn't surprised that's how he went. And Gerard is right. It was not manly. The Boston Globe reported that he stuck the barrel of a .45 into his mouth and blew his head off WHILE HIS WIFE WAS LISTENING ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE.

Spare me the BS about his private demons. His last act was also an attempt -- one final attempt -- to draw someone else down into his not-so-private hell. That is selfish beyond belief, and I pray to God his wife can someday be healed of the awful memory of the sound of that gunshot.

There was a time when I really loved his books, especially the Vegas one. But, didn't every preadolescent boy until sometime during the go-go '80s? Sadly, he wasted his gift. Just like another writer I loved as a boy: J.D. Salinger. He wasted his gift too. The only difference is he didn't become a loudmouthed drunk shouting inanities that were nothing he hadn't been shouting for years, like HST. Instead, he's a tight-lipped recluse. In the end, though, I won't be surprised by the news of Salinger's death either. It will just be a reminder that idols almost always have feet of clay. Only time will tell if those you admire were truly worthy of admiration.

Posted by: growler at February 22, 2005 12:54 PM

how many of you actually read his work? He made me laugh and laugh out loud, if only for that he will be missed by many.I try not to judge others when it comes to their life,since only the little man in my head can judge me , i feel it appropriate to treat others as i would expect to be treated.sounds like maybe uncle duke stole one herr gerald's fraus

Posted by: joe gore at February 22, 2005 3:23 PM

and yet another symbol of the failed 60s passes on, badly. Thompson was funny in an extreme way, black humour often is...as an idol? Well, it's the same as Morrison, Cobain, Crosby..that whole group of those who just rebel against existence. Sooner or later they run into a wall. Thompson lasted longer than most. Crosby is still around too. I guess he wins.

Posted by: Me at February 22, 2005 4:18 PM

Me: You forgot Richard Brautigan, another failed, forgotten '60s icon who moved to a small town in the Rockies and blew his brains out.

Posted by: Patrick at February 22, 2005 4:33 PM

I read HST's books back in the 80's and enjoyed them for the outrageous storyline. But not for one moment did I ever admire the man for his insane rebellion-for-the-sake-of rebellion lifestyle. HST was the archetypal shit stirrer. Always trashtalking and passing judgment on 'society'. I pity the fool (s) who put him up on a pedestal. What does it say about people when they venerate such a loser. Well, the same can be said for the effusive praise heaped upon Arafat after he died. There is something seriously wrong with our world when these human failures receive such accolades. All I can say is "Good riddance".
ANd I do feel for his wife and child for the mess that they get to clean up. HST epitomized everything that was wrong with the 60's and 70's and almost nothing of what was right.

Posted by: Michael Hartrich at February 22, 2005 9:28 PM

For what it's worth, I'm among the legions who have been stood up by HST at one time or another. So the idol had clay feet. Big surprise. Some people simply aren't suited to do anything else in life other than write.

You can itemize the man's failings all you like. It doesn't detract from his achievement. For all his screwups and missed opportunities, he capitalized on his successes when it counted.

First of all: he was funny. Hilarious, in fact, especially in the context of his times. But those times were quite limited, and thus so was his relevance.

Second, he changed the rules. He recognized that the (ultimately mythical) journalist's objectivity is more often a barrier to the truth than an aid to exposing it.

Third, only two other American writers have done invective at his level: Ambrose Bierce and H.L. Mencken. HST was funnier than Mencken and more prolific than Bierce.

Fourth, his style is inimitable and truly original. It's so distinctive that imitators instantly come off as sounding derivative--or just bitchy and querulous. He simply didn't care what anyone thought of him, or his writing. For a writer, that's some ultimate kind of freedom. Most writers, at least the self-aware ones, eventually come to recognize that they're simply bespoke hacks weighing every word for maximum approval.

Yes, he got stale. Yes, he became a caricature of himself. You don't have to respect the man. But your dismissal of his achievement says more about you than it does of him.

I had a run-in with Albert Kazin in my college days that permanently altered my view of him. But, you know, that didn't make him any less brilliant. Just an asshole.

Maybe you're brilliant too, Gerard Van Der Leun. I see you can recognize gargantuan ego and self-centeredness, although you seem to know zip about depression. Let's see if you can further capitalize on your brush with fame thirty-five years past. Maybe you can parlay it into something that stands on its own merits.

Posted by: Phil at February 22, 2005 9:36 PM

Hunter was nothing! We all know Vanderleun will have much more of an impact on journalims than Thompson ever will!


Jealousy isn't pretty Vanderleun.

Posted by: Rob at February 23, 2005 6:39 AM

maybe this blog thing will work out for herr gerald

Posted by: joe gore at February 23, 2005 6:40 AM

The problem with you heels is that you've been hypnotised by the media into believing that you know ANYTHING about the personal and physiological struggles of one Hunter S. Thompson. (And one who's uncanny powers of perception allow him to peel the layers back to the Good Doctor's Id after only a single night at the bar.) Judge away. Please. Let it distract you from believing in something you actually know about. Cowards.

Hey, Steel Thurman:
ARFA (Anagrams R For Assholes)

Posted by: crapsicle at February 23, 2005 12:46 PM

"Steel Thurman"?

The only one doing anagrams here ... is you bozo.

Posted by: Steel Turman at February 23, 2005 2:40 PM

Wow. I never knew people hated HST so much. I knew he was disliked (much of the kitsch I love is disliked) but I never realized he was so unrepentantly hated.

Is it jealousy over his "body of work?" Is it mere annoyance that he was published while you, the "other" voice of the people are relegated to blogging? Is it simple vilification of an opinion you so strongly disagree with?

To dismiss HST's work is understandable. Much of it went against the grain and much of it was noisy simply to make noise. But is HST as irrelevant as you would like to portray? Perhaps he was nothing more than a drunken/drugged fool. Nonetheless, his work amused and angered like few others of his time. You may have loved him and you may have hated him, but you had (and voiced) a motivated, personal opinion based on his words.

Why? Because you knew HIS opinion (destructive and vitriolic it may have been, at least you knew what it was).

HST loved the ideal of this country yet despised the "thugs and fixers" who would pervert and manipulate it for personal gain. Much of his writing, even the early "good stuff" (deal with it fanboy, truth hurts) was violently antagonistic screed. An angry, disenfranchised rebel railing against the system he so despised, primarily because he couldn't find his place in it. Yet another dilettante with a soapbox.

But I remind you all, this country was founded by the exact same kind of men. HST may have loathed much about this country, but he never gave up on it and he never gave in to it. How much did you pay for that French villa, Mr. Depp? How large was your payday for that most recent pile of crap, Mr. Wolfe?

I feel the loss of HST. He was a uniquely American voice with a uniquely American style. Though I may most often disagree with my brother, I DEFEND TO THE DEATH HIS RIGHT TO SAY THESE THINGS. Though I may personally feel that a reality check in the form of a narcotics bust and some time in the big house were exactly what my "cultural icon" may have needed, I still respect his body of work.

You may hate what Wolfe has to say, you may despise Menken's techniqe, you may even love Rush Limbaugh...You still have one thing in common with me: you love the freedom of expression this country offers and you are LISTENING. You may violently disagree, you may fervently applaud, but you are listening.

I wish more of today's journalists were so willing to be despised, so willing to be (poor) drunken asses rather than kowtow to the political leanings of those who sign their checks.

HST represented a type of editorial ethic that, agree with it or not, enriched the journalistic tradition of this world. Would that we had more (or even one) loud and abrasive commentators on the evening news. Incidentally, Bill O'Reily doesn't count. I insist on reporting AND thinking in my commentators.

Can you not simply mourn the passing of a popular and influential American writer with grace?

As perspectives shrink and the evening news lauds our bombing of yet another poor and virtually defenseless country (populated, you notice, primarily with brown people) - it strikes me as distinctly UNAMERICAN that a voice like HSTs is no longer to be heard.

Love him or hate him, you must at least respect him for being honest and opening himself up to ridicule. How does Wolf Blitzer (or whomever your favorite CNN talking head is) honestly feel about what he/she is reporting? Does Wolf even have an opinion? Does Wolf even exist without people creating a theme song and cool graphics for his reporting?

And that is the thrust of my invective. HST was frequently wrong and usually misinformed. He was often obnoxious and frequently small minded. He had a very high opinion of himself and his musings, even when said musings were the result of a three day amphetamine binge.

BUT he spoke his version of the truth to whom ever would listen. He refused to settle into the comfortable mien of "Successful American Author." HST continued to spew his trademark bile, long after it was popular and long after it cost him book sales.

Why? Because that's what he believed. Loving or hating his words is irrelevant to respecting his contribution. Again, can we not simply mourn the loss of a unique American voice without whining about what that voice had to say?

Bravo, HST. And thanks for the memories...

Incidentally, I have no intention of checking in on this blog after I contribute. If you wish to communicate with me, please direct your missives to gofsides@yahoo.com.

And finally: good luck GDVL. Perhaps, someday, you'll get published too. That no-talent load Hunter made it, after all...

Posted by: gOf at February 23, 2005 3:41 PM

Firing guns randomly where people can get hurt?
Being a reckless ahole to everyone he comes in contact with? Putting others in danger while under the influence?

Being a fantastic author does not excuse one from criticism. Maybe the timing is bad, maybe it isnt. if the blogger's story were an aberration, ok. But apparently he was reckelss and selfish to the very end.

Posted by: jay at February 24, 2005 1:55 PM

The only fault I can find with the good doctor is his choice of targets. He and the world would have been better served had he put those three rounds into your sniveling wormlike carcass.

Posted by: Kenny Kidwell at February 25, 2005 5:24 PM

Well he was everything you aren't and can't ever be: colorful and talented. He defended the world against the likes of your kind right to the end.

Well done HST.

Posted by: mark_y1 at February 25, 2005 6:57 PM

"Well done HST"

Yeah, good job, making sure your wife could hear you shoot yourself in the head. Stellar. Could you be any more the sad muppet, mark_y1? Not to mention the pathetic Kenny Kidwell. Grow the hell up, you.

Posted by: Steve_K at February 27, 2005 11:39 PM

I love how obscure and uninteresting blog writers criticize Hunter S. Thompson. What a world. And no guts to say any of this while he was alive. You vicious, vicious cowards. Feast on his corpse some more. His death was the only reason I even found your dull-as-dishwater blog.

Finding Hunter dead in the next room is hard, but life is hard, and that's the way it is. Masses of stupid chumps strung out on cable tv and fast food electing rich fascists who steal more and more of their money meanwhile sending their children to die in a pointless war.

Hunter Thompson was crazy?! Take a look around chumps. The greatest country in the world has a bootlicking whitebread media, no real political discourse, a doomed foreign policy, no concept of its history or purpose, and the swine ARE WINNING.

Wake up, stop reeling from the realization that you are a boring victim of maladjusted society, and do something real with your life.

Posted by: mar at February 28, 2005 9:38 AM

It's amazing how many bloggers critical of Doc Thompson seem blissfully unaware of the fact that Thompson was writing a paleo-lithic pre-digital type of blog before the internet had even been invented. Blogs are just a new mutation of gonzo journalism. Deal with it you hacks!

Posted by: lono at March 1, 2005 12:58 AM

It's amazing how many bloggers critical of Doc Thompson seem blissfully unaware of the fact that Thompson was writing a paleo-lithic pre-digital type of blog before the internet had even been invented. Blogs are just a new mutation of gonzo journalism. Deal with it you hacks!

And trying to impose your sandards, and your own limited reasons for why some one might choose to check out, when those standards may not, in fact, may not even aplly to that person, who obviously had a different world-view, seems silly to me. You obviously don't get it. Read all hte thompson you can bear to choke down, listen to all the Jefferson Airplane you can tolerate, and you still won't understand Thompson, the 60's, counter-culture (choose any one you like, they'll all leave you equally dumbfounded) or even main-stream culture for that matter. You're too certain in the notion that there can't possibly be more to this world than that wich you think you already comprehend.

But just consider, for a moment, the possibility, that everything you know is wrong.

Posted by: lono at March 1, 2005 1:05 AM

The world needs heros, even antiheros.

The world needs honesty.

The world needs crazy humor.

The world needs geniuses who push the boundraries, even, sometimes, boundraries that shouldn't be pushed.

The borderline of genius is thin and easily transgressed to madness. It's harder to return.

More glory to the Good Doctor, for he walked back and forth freely. And he gave us all those things.

Posted by: Paul Gowder at March 23, 2005 12:13 PM

Tsk Tsk Tsk! So many knockers - Somehow Hunter becomes an ogre because the very thing(s) that made him (however briefly) so literately rich are suddenly chastisable because they made him publically untenable in his latter years. A good deal of that less than cool behaviour (as I understand it) came from a simple need to make a living. Look if you will at the time and the place and the circumstances of his best work, and have sympathy - as you should for Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouack, William Burroughs and all the others who wrecked themselves on the rock of writing themselves. And look hard before J'accuse at your own security - a matter most of these men never took into account when they broke all that new ground. There is absolutely no doubt that Hunter was a drunk and therefore a ratbag - but jeez - so was my grandfather - the difference was that Pop didn't write stuff that influenced all the up-and-coming journalists in the free world, nor did he drop two hard-core seminal pieces of journalism into the literary conciousness. There is no doubt that, for all his legion of faults, Hunter was and is a lasting influence on any journo worth his salt, and I'd like to personally meet any man who in Hunter's case can't tell the difference between gutlessness and drunkeness. Vale Hunter

Posted by: Cliff Michell at May 6, 2005 7:50 AM


Posted by: Milhouse Nixon at June 11, 2005 12:44 AM

All the people out there saying negative things about HST don't even know the motivations behind his death. Those who would criticize him for his outlandish behavior, in my opinion, are simply jealous because they can't have a job where they get to behave that way and get paid fairly-well for it. It is no small thing to be such a prolific writer such as he was.His distinct style and eccentric humor will be unsuccessfully copied time and again because even though many people will be quick to pass judgmenton him, they still know that his brand of writing fucking kills.

Posted by: Micah at June 18, 2005 11:34 AM

Hunter definately had a voice. For those of you guys that don't read or write, you'll probably never know. So, take your computer, throw it out the window and hang on for the ride.

(take any one of your heros and research them. you'll dig up tons of tortured stuff. well scratch that, Britney Spears isn't that interesting.)

Posted by: Seth at July 20, 2005 8:18 AM

it is hardly fair for anyone to judge him or the way he chose to end his life.Thompson didnt seem to waste his time while he was alive judging others (except for scum like Nixon,Bush and other cheese eating slime of that ilk ) and it's hardly the right of any of us to cast him as a bad guy for the way he chose to end it all.In fact, its none of our frigging business at all.Let's morn him and honor his wild ass life and leave the sermonizing for others more able to do so.

let the good times roll...............

Posted by: BCD at July 21, 2005 1:58 AM

JUST READ isnt the way to understand! FEEL the way he wrote!

Posted by: DrGonzo at October 2, 2005 1:57 PM

The 'Good Doctor' had a gift and I am the better for having read his works. Apparently he also had a talent for drawing either praise or flak, if the comments here are any indication. Not much in the way of neutral statements, are there? I feel sorry for the little man who can't move on from a three decade-old event. Things transpired during the interim. Get over it.

Posted by: Tas at April 24, 2006 12:53 AM

it's too bad hunter didn't dispatch you first. keep living in your little box, keep your mind shut tighter than a snare drum. Where do you get the oxygen to say shit like that? Try to walk a mile in his shoes you worthless tit. Everyone knows that true artists are loaded with character flaws, what would you have to say about bethoven, mozart, vangogh. I guess your opinion doesn't really matter anyhow. It sounds to me like you're a tad bitter you have no real legacy to leave behind, just another worthless body sucking wind. when your gone you'll be lucky if any one will remember your name. Enjoy these thoughts I have left with you. I hope enough negative responses to what you have written will compel you to consider the (un)thinkable.

Posted by: Jesse at September 28, 2006 4:43 PM

If any of you fuckers who are bashing my man HST are ever in Fresno, CA, come look me up so I can bash the livig fuck out of you. You pussy little bitches, dont hate on Hunter because your jealous. Who the fuck are you, your a nobody!!!
Hunter let us all know what it's like to be lit like a firecracker and still function in our daily lives. I attend every college course bombed, and will continue to do so untill i achieve my acedemic goals. HST was a great man never considered for mass production, far to weird to live, and far to strange to die. So fuck you all who hate I will burn your houses down.(as Hunter would have told you bitches himself.)

Posted by: ryan moench at October 21, 2006 3:13 PM

"I attend every college course bombed, and will continue to do so untill i achieve my acedemic goals."

You just keep thinking, Ryan. That's what you're good at. Spelling and typing, however, seem to have eluded you.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at October 21, 2006 8:54 PM

"You just keep thinking, Ryan. That's what you're good at. Spelling and typing, however, seem to have eluded you."

I disagree with the majority of your sentiment Gerard, but I've gotta agree with you there. Basic elements of the English language are apparently not in the curriculum at the University of Fresno.

"I will burn your houses down" Who SAYS that on a message board?

Posted by: gianni at December 12, 2006 9:23 PM

i stumbled upon this little entry by accident, and i must say this is by far the most offensive thing i have ever read in my life. This man inspired so many, and you called him a poser and a coward. He died in a very respectful way; taking your own life takes more courage and strength than you will ever know.

Posted by: andrea at December 28, 2006 6:50 PM

I know this is an old post but I became intrigued by the response and opinions of the many would be writers not normally associated with internet posts...

I think it's sufficient to add your opinion alongside the owner of the blog (for or against), but it is also quite rude (imho) to challenge someone's life experience. Lest we forget that everything outside of our own experience is merely propaganda...

As for Thompson, I've read some valid points about his existence here. I am a fan yet I understand what people say when they talk about a selfish existence... It's highly unlikely that Thompson would even disagree with what you're saying. Whether or not he mentions it in his existence, the man was still human and therefore must have experienced guilt...

The last thing that we all should remember or at the very least be aware of, is our differences. Can you even imagine the feelings of loneliness and frustration of holding unpopular opinion steadfastly? Those of you who think the 60's were vile and disgusting, do you actually believe that it is any better today? More wars, more disease, more poverty (i'm not talking quality of life as a comparison between now and then), more greed than ever before! Thompson, I doubt, was reflecting on individuals. More likely, his work was a representation of the 'mob mentality', society as a collective conscious. Quite frankly I agree with him... as a whole we're all nuts and just as selfish as the next person. That's just the way we're building our society...

Posted by: BD at March 5, 2007 5:05 PM

"i stumbled upon this little entry by accident, and i must say this is by far the most offensive thing i have ever read in my life. This man inspired so many, and you called him a poser and a coward. He died in a very respectful way; taking your own life takes more courage and strength than you will ever know." Posted by: andrea

Really, Andrea? In that case, I only hope that perhaps your own husband/boyfriend/father/whatever
shows as much courage as Thompson and leaves you behind to clean up the gore and rotting brains.
Then we'll see how "respectful" it is. Actually,
sticking with it and *Facing life*, not abandonding it, is what takes courage, you mental midget.
You obviously have no idea what courage is. If I want encouragement, I'd rather go with Stephen Hawking (read up on him sometime), not a loser
like Thompson. He is most admired by self-obesssed "rebels without a clue," as far as I can tell, many of whom mistake heavy use of expletives and poor spelling for passion and insight. Oh, by the
way, did I mention one of his hobbies was sitting in his backyard, drinking and firing guns at various targets, such as the dinner bell in John
Denver's yard? Yeah, what a great guy...

Posted by: TL at October 11, 2007 7:14 PM
Post a comment:

"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated to combat spam and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Remember personal info?