There’s a strange sort of irony that Hunter S. Thompson was a victim of the same trappings that contributed to the death of his hero, Ernest Hemingway. They were the same things that helped elevate them from writers to icons, especially among other writers. Both Thompson and Hemingway understood image…optics. They understood that what they projected in life was almost as important as what they portrayed in print. The trick is figuring out how you’re not crushed while you’re still alive by the weight of your own myth. After all, to be a legend in death a far sight easier than in life.
And so it comes as little surprise to Thompson fans that the good doctor had an eye for the camera. The man had to see the scenes before he wrote them so vividly. What is interesting is to see how simply his camera’s eye saw these scenes in the coffee table photo book GONZO in comparison to the twisted surreality of his writing. There are vast landscapes captured during his many travels. There are friendly snapshots from his youthful days in New York or Big Sur or Puerto Rico, which also served as the locale of his first novel, The Rum Diaries. They’re good—most of them—but straight. There’s no weirdness, no madness, no fear, no loathing. But that is the stuff of his novels.
As the brutal Bush years draw to a close we can reflect on how we got where we are. The twists and turns of missteps and outright chicanery can dazzle the most savvy newshounds among us. I mean, who would have written a plot in which the Vice President of the United States was so craven as to plant a story in the New York Times and then refer to that story as evidence for the need to invade a sovereign nation in an act of “preventative” war? It’s preposterous and yet that is exactly what happened. The list goes on and on and continues to grow and it’s hard for mere mortals to keep up, nevermind understand.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when Hunter S. Thompsonkilled himself. I mean, how am I supposed to make sense of such a depraved creature as Don Rumsfeld? How am I to put George W. Bush‘s bumbling management into any sort of modern context? Who am I to distill into plain English the mortgage and loan/credit crunch/economic culture fuck we’re living? I am few, Taibbi is many.
Sure, we had Jon Stewart and (previous Upright Standing Man of the Year winner) Stephen Colbert to shed light on the hypocrisy and lunacy of the last eight years, but they are essentially nice and decent guys. Times like these require savagery and Matt Taibbi is not afraid to callSarah Palin “a fraud, she’s the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV.” This while the rest of the media was politely accepting her as representation of “middle America” even though they knew too what Taibbi was able to put in print.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.
–Hunter S. Thompson
Three years ago today Dr. Hunter S. Thompson exited the world with a single shot to the head. He went out as he lived: on his terms.
As you’d expect to find with any unexpected death of a beloved person, there was some confusion, anger, and great sadness around the GLONO HQ when the news broke. Ultimately, we all came to accept reality and even respect Hunter’s decision. I can’t really emphasize the influence his writing has had on GLONO. Even before we launched our own National Affairs desk, POLJUNK, Hunter S. Thompson haunted the tone and humor we strive for at Glorious Noise. Just as he blurred the lines between straight journalism, fiction, and memoirs, we strive to bridge the gap between objective rock critic and the emotional fan.
As we just celebrated the seventh anniversary of Glorious Noise, we can thank Dr. Thompson for the inspiration that made it happen and keeps us going.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson killed himself two years ago today. We miss him a lot, especially as the presidential race is starting to warm up. While it’s depressing to think we’ll never be able to read his thoughts on Barack vs. Hillary, there’s still a lot of stuff coming up to keep a fan busy.
Writers seldom choose as friends those self-contained characters who are never in trouble, never unhappy or ill, never make mistakes and always count their change when it is handed to them.
—Catherine Drinker Bowen
When asked why he was willing to throw down two and a half million dollars to pay for Hunter S. Thompson’s farewell send off in a cannon blast last August, Johnny Depp replied, “All I’m doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true. I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out.” That alone is reason enough to elect him Emperor for Life, but GLONO doesn’t have that kind of power, despite what you may have heard. In addition to his contribution to film with stunning performances in movies like Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Donnie Brasco, Ed Wood, and Pirates of the Caribbean, to name a few, Johnny Depp was a good friend to a man Glorious Noise holds in the deepest regard. And that is why we’re awarding him the first ever Glorious Noise Upright-Standing Man of the Year Award.
“Fear and Loathing” by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson from the long out-of-print collection, Sound Bites from the Counter Culture. Not a reading from the book, but a great speech with some classic quotes: “I’ve never claimed to be anything other than a nice guy and an athlete.”
Hunter 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.
He never claimed to be anything but a nice guy and an athlete… And now Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is finally back on ESPN Page 2 after his summer vacation:
This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won’t hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.
Good luck. He is in for a profoundly difficult job — armed as he is with no credible Military Intelligence, no witnesses and only the ghost of Bin Laden to blame for the tragedy.
Yes, indeed. I think it’s time I pack up my wife and dogs and move to Woody Creek and start my own compound. Weekly updates from this political guru are not nearly enough to keep me fixed up. I need a fat shot of HST!