Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson

As you've probably heard by now, Hunter S.Thompson is dead, apparently by his own hand. Many on the left had a great fondness for him, and based on the descriptions I've read of so-called gonzo journalism, with its emphases on subjectivity and eccentricity, it sounds like blogging is a descendant of sorts. For my part I've never read any Thompson, and my admittedly incomplete impression is of a personality who tweaked the establishment in an ultimately comforting sort of way, of a writer who was "safely" subversive, someone who might appear on tv-news cable and say something superficially provocative and have the big-haired reporter-type react by tut-tutting him and saying, "oh, you" or something like that. Two Thompson quotes, both of which reinforce this impression:

"I do not advocate the use of dangerous drugs, wild amounts of alcohol and violence and weirdness - but they've always worked for me."

"Today, the Panzer-like Bush machine
controls all three branches of our federal government, the first time that has happened since Calvin Coolidge was in the White House. And that makes it just about impossible to mount any kind of Congressional investigation of a firmly-entrenched president like George Bush. The time has come to get deeply into football. It is the only thing we have left that ain't fixed."

The second is from his last published book, "Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and The Downward Spiral of Dumbness." My impression of him may of course be grossly unfair, and it may merely be reflective of the mainstream media's tendency to reduce complicated things and people to easy to grasp cliches.

My condolences to his family at this difficult time. It seems his son found him, which must be really tough.