Hunter S Thompson commits suicide at 67

Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American journalist and author, famous for his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become the central figures of their stories. He is also known for his promotion and use of psychedelics and other mind altering substances (and to a lesser extent, alcohol and firearms), his libertarian views, and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism.
by Randy Ray

I recently read all but one of Hunter S. Thompson's books. I couldn't find Curse of Lono. Out of print. Some surrealistic gonzo jaunt in Hawaii with HST portrayed as the reincarnation of a Hawaiian god. Hmmm...not sure why that particular yarn would seem less interesting than his romps with the Hell's Angel biker gang, or his fire-and-brimstone uppercuts to the belly of the 1972 Nixon presidential re-election campaign. He was dead-on with that call. Nixon was a complex man, but he was also as corrupt as a male teenager high on weed set loose in a brothel with all the doors unlocked and the ladies unclothed. Lono also appears no more wacky than Thompson's escapades with his Brown Buffalo lawyer to the heart of the American Dream in neon-bright and cash-consumed Las Vegas.

The Vegas, that did it for me. HST was Dylan, Rimbaud, Ginsburg, Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, and the weary world-traveler, Ulysses, all rolled into one. I was not hooked by the humorously intoxicated shenanigans, but by his powerful words haunted with sadness detailing the Dream circumvented by the tides of time--the wave of any movement is eventually cut at its knees. Why must every Rome fall? Why must every Napoleon be accompanied to the dance of destiny with Waterloo? Why did peace and love and hope for a diverse and challenging future that jerked Mankind out of its complacency lose to the evil armies of 'How much for this?' 'When can I get that?' 'What's in it for me?' and 'Cash is the answer. The questions don't matter, sunny.'

In 1997, Thompson put out a collection of his letters from 1955-1967 entitled The Proud Highway. The volume ends at the time of his first success, Hell's Angels--a groundbreaking novel that would pave the road for his twin Fear and Loathing masterpieces in the early seventies. After that, our nation drifted, Thompson's writing retained its conviction, but both shared a lack of focus. One can only battle The Forces That Be for so long before...well, I think Thompson attempted to shock the senses like any great artist. He wrote again and again in the volume of letters that he believed in the Dream but he wasn't quite sure if it believed in him. Desires-ambitions-needs-wants-can a man have an agenda while trapped in prison? That is the tragedy. The Proud Highway? A car full of talent wedded with ceaseless persistence can offer plentiful rewards. Thompson became what he predicted: a searing spirit that wrote about his times with a unique style while provoking the reader to examine the environment of a drunk nation corrupted by tainted wine from a broken cup delivered by soulless men in thick suits which carefully hid their cowardice.

More than any other writer in the late-twentieth century, Thompson accurately investigated the deterioration of the American soul and reported on it with flair and passion. Other writers attempted in artistic vain to consistently tap into what the public wanted to hear. Most modern authors held up streaked mirrors to society. These writers deepened the problems of American culture in order to expand their wallets, rather than exposing and cleansing our dreams. Meanwhile, Thompson laid bare the inadequacies of our society with intelligence and humorous candor. His personal involvement in the activities of his stories--so-called gonzo journalism--gave a poignancy and brutal honesty to his prose. This courage coupled with joyfully precise wit while taking creative risks solidified his place at the top of the end-of-the-millennium literary mountain. The century began with Hunter S. Thompson nearing the twilight of his years while the country continues its blind path towards consumption and greed with nothing left for long term goals. Our children will inherit a dissolute and ravaged wasteland.