Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson, 1937-2005

I just heard that Hunter S. Thompson, Raoul Duke, Dr Gonzo, committed suicide. I don't know what to say. His writing and general antics are one of the influences on me, my writing, and my creatively foul mouth. A lot of people are saying things like that today, so you probably won't find anything original here from me. Major influence, genius, crazy, guns, drugs, blah blah blah. So why am I even writing this, if it's completely redundant? I suppose I just want to add my voice to the general lament. To some people, he was just a crazy old guy who wrote vulgar rants. To those of us who understand, he was a crazy, depraved genius, a violent poet in a wilderness of pigs. Sure, he was a little bit crazy, nobody would deny that. For much of his later life, he was holed up in his "fortified compound" in Colorado, shooting innocent inanimate objects with a variety of guns, taking lots of drugs, smoking, drinking, watching several TV news channels at once, firing off crazed faxes to various people at 3 in the morning, and, yes, still writing, still spitting the words out, the fire never diminishing for a second. A crazy shut in? No. I say he was the one person who *really* knew what was going on, and that's why he lived the way he did. That's why the general feeling of sadness and bitterness that pervades his words got stronger as time went by. Probably the same reason he took his own life (if he really did, and if it wasn't just some crazy new invention or gun game gone wrong, and I'm sure that there were more than a few close calls). He had seen the world for what it truly is, and it is fucked up beyond belief. It really is a horrible, degenerate playground for swine and imbeciles, and the pigs have taken over. I know I sometimes feel like going to live in a secluded place with lots of guns, drugs, televisions and communication devices. The world really is that bad. And he always told it like he saw it. But the difference between him and any other number of insane, survivalist gunheads, was the writing.

Oh sweet jesus, the writing.

It's like nothing you've ever seen before, or ever will again. A bizarre concoction of depravity, poetry, hilarity, and anger. One minute you're laughing at some exotic escapade, the next minute you're stunned by an insight so crystal clear it almost hurts. Many have imitated the style, none have even come close. Read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail. Read Hells Angels. Read Better Than Sex:Confessions of a Political Junkie, Trapped Like a Rat in Mr Bill's Neighbourhood. Read any of his books. Read any of his books of letters. Read any of his columns. Read fucking anything he wrote. Now come back and tell me how many crazy gun nuts or junkies write like that. Shit, tell me how many clean and sober best selling writers write like that. Nobody. There is fucking nobody to touch that magnificent bastard. And there never will be again.

The world just became a more sensible place. I can't think of a worse fate for it.

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