Goodnight, Good Doctor

The Good DoctorHunter S. Thompson was a voice cutting through the chatter. Sometimes erratic, but always spot on, he knew his targets and where to hit them. From the billionaires moving out the millionaires in his beloved Woody Creek to the crooks and swindlers who roam the halls of Capitol Hill drooling with power and greed, Hunter knew where these swine ate and slept. He dogged them to his dying day, and sadly that day is today.

When the greedheads and the pigfuckers seem to be winning daily, the man who spoke loudest against them is gone. Hunter S. Thompson inspired so much of what Glorious Noise is about. The core of our political beliefs and attitude about life can be found in his books. It’s hard to believe we’re facing another Bush administration without him. Yes, the Chairman of the Committee to Legalize Fun is gone, but the party continues.

Godspeed, Dr. Gonzo

Thompson on Owl Farm in Woody Creek during the first Bush presidency.

Thompson on Owl Farm in Woody Creek
during the first Bush presidency.

15 thoughts on “Goodnight, Good Doctor”

  1. “[Mine] is a style of reporting based on William Faulkner’s idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism.”

    — Hunter S. Thompson

  2. The New Dumb: “There’s somthing happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones…”

    No sir, not a chance. Mr. Jones does not even pretend to know what’s happening in America right now, and neither does anyone else. We have seen weird times in America and 2000 is beginning to look super weird. This time, there really is nobody flying the plane…we are living in dangerous, weird times now. Smart people just shrug and admit they’re dazed and confused.–Kingdom of Fear

  3. He drains his glass in a gulp and orders another drink. And then another. Buy the end of the evening, he will have had many drinks, and will still be sober. It is his special curse: to be able to fill his body with alcohol and drugs, and always have it function; never to be able to blot out what he has seen, what he knows. And looking around, he knows that it is over: the revolution, the fighting, the chance to be different. The counterculture has become The Culture, and out there in the streets is the proof…. (1976)

    From “[url=]Gone Crazy and Back Again: The Rise and Fall of the Rolling Stone Generation[/url],” by Robert Sam Anson (Doubleday, 1981)

    Via [url=]Salon[/url].

  4. “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

    Even though he’s gone, reading Thompson is like taking a genie out of the bottle. Once you’ve read him, you can’t un-read him. Its like putting on the sunglasses in ‘They Live’ and seeing the monsters – once you do, you can’t go back to pretending the world is the same.

  5. A true loss the journalistic world. It deeply sadness me to think about it. May the founding father of “Gonzo” journalism, and literary substance abuse, truly find a lasting peace.

  6. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I’ve been depressed since I heard the news squawk out of my answering machine with a breathy message from Jake, “Hunter’s dead. Shot himself or some shit. Call me.” It was a gut shot. As bad as when I heard about Elliott Smith. What I’m wondering is why the death of someone I’ve never met bothers me so much? It’s because this is about winning. And losing.

    Hunter S. Thompson was a sportsman and a Professional Gambler. He played to win and most times he did just that. Every day that he lived beyond his 30s was a win for the good guys and a loss for the no-fun gang. Here was a man who lived on copious amounts of drugs, booze, guns, and red meat for 67 years. His mere existence was a black mark on the record of all those hot air salesmen who tell you drugs are bad (except boner medicine and whatever keeps our wives from crying at night); that alcoholism is a dreaded disease but it’s the victim’s fault for having it; that guns don’t kill people but weapons of mass destruction lurk behind every dark corner and the Arabs can’t be trusted with them; and that red meat will clog your arteries but beef is still what’s for dinner (until the Pork industry ponies up and gets those creepy looking cows banned once and for all). Yes, Hunter S. Thompson was winning and everyone loves a winner.

    We all knew that he constantly walked that line and that someday he’d probably slip up. Dale Earnhardt was the greatest, most daring driver in motor sports and what appeared to be a minor crack up in a shallow turn snapped his neck like a dried toothpick. The greatest athletes still make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes can end a career. But I liked to think of Hunter passing quietly into the night like the most pious men often do. What would that say? A life lived at 120 mph can still get you to the finish line in one piece.

    I hate to think that shitheads and body Nazis will be able to look at Hunter’s death and say, “See. This is what drugs will get you,” or “We all knew he was crazy. Maybe Nixon wasn’t a humorless werewolf after all.” No, friends, Hunter S. Thompson was right about most things and the fact that he went out of the game by his own hand doesn’t negate everything he told us, which was ALL TRUE.

    Sunday night, Hunter S. Thompson lost the Big Game. I lost too because I had big money on him going down the stretch and now the bookies and bruisers who run this country will be coming to collect from guys like me.

  7. Derek, I don’t think he lost the game. I think he went out the way he wanted to. Maybe sooner than he’d planned, but his health had been bad for decades. The person quoted below shares your feeling that Hunter T. was fighting the good fight to be an individual, not a product of our consumerist marketing babble. For that very reason he probably couldn’t stand the idea of losing control in the coming years.

    “Thompson destroyed himself with drugs, liquor, and firearms because he knew it was preferable to being destroyed, which will be the fate of most of the rest of us…

    Hunter S. understood and explained better than Foucault and a whole generation of academics the mechanism of madness and the nature of a power that conceals itself even as it acts. He consciously made himself into the medieval madman … He said a man’s body and mind are inviolable to all forces but a man’s own volition, and he said that if any sonofabitch ever tries to take your land, you ought to shoot him. Increasingly, we’re left only with Democrats and Republicans; the more I live, the more I see these callow imitators replacing free men.” (from Slate)

    Elliott Smith’s suicide seemed and continues to seem horrible because it demonstrated that Elliott couldn’t fight his demons anymore, and the more you read about his life (Spin had a good article) the more you realize his demons came from having been messed with in a way that, in effect, killed him from adolescence on. I feel Hunter S. Thompson went out more in the spirit of Hemingway — he was a strong, productive individual, but he’d crested in a long career, he was entering his twilight years, and damned if he’d end up drinking decaf and wearing Depends.

  8. I would hate to think Hunter went out like Hemmingway. Papa was institutionalized and delusional in his last year of life. He had lost his mind and could no longer write, which he saw as his only motivation. Hunter just published last Monday and has put out several books in the last three years. I don’t want to think that he lost his mind. He may have been facing physical limitations that forced him to cash in his chips, but his mind was still there.

  9. This is all beginning to sound like some sort of screed on behalf of the Hemlock Society.

    While I most certainly admire much of what Thompson wrote, I don’t know that the man deserves any kind of props or creative excuses for killing himself.

    As Dylan Thomas wrote:

    Do not go gentle into that good night

    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And Thomas, as you may recall, died at age 39 from complications related to alcoholism.

    I would like to imagine that the “Dr. Hunter S. Thompson” that exists in the popular mind would have been raging for years to come, not taking out the shotgun. But none of us knows the Thompson behind the mask.

  10. from

    “The family is looking into whether Thompson’s cremated remains can be blasted out of a cannon, a wish the gun-loving writer often expressed, Brinkley said.

    “The optimal, best-case scenario is the ashes will be shot out of a cannon,” he said.”

  11. I hope they are able to do just that.

    Suicide might not be a very admirable way to go, but isn’t part of that because it’s not our decision and not on our terms? I’m relieved to know he had a very peaceful and bonding weekend with his son, daughter-in-law and grandson. He did things his own way, right up to the end. Whether this past weekend was MEANT to be the end, we’ll never know. It’s extremely sad and gloom for us left behind, but he knew what he was doing.

    I’m curious to read what he published last Monday. Anybody have it?

  12. Kristina, here it is: [url=]Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray[/url] By Hunter S. Thompson, February 15, 2005.

  13. Is it embarassing to say that Hunter may have been someone who you could trust as far as political opinion?

    Is it a valiant way to die? Is the way he died representative of the culture of drugs? He lived how he wanted, he lived as an American, his definition of American. If you don’t or do agree, than you are an American too.

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