The honest truth is that Hunter Stockton Thompson actually kicked it sometime around 1990, soon after his arrest and trial (acquitted) on trumped up drugs and sexual harassment charges (which, incidentally, included the allegation of tweaking a female companion’s breast with ice tongs, an act which I have never performed. Ever.). And, as the nation’s 28th most renowned expert on the good Doctor, let me be the first to say, good riddance. Truth is that HST was, at one time, a great American writer, thinker, satirist and icon, but the “lazy, drunken hillbilly with a head full of acid and a heart full of hate” abandoned us (and really himself) just when we needed him the most. Sure, RMH was the perfect foil for HST: small, dark, flawed, and pretty darn evil. But Nixon was so . . . so. . . what’s the phrase?. . . FUCKING LONG AGO, that the invective Thompson spewed toward him and all he stood for is, frankly, while hysterical, pretty much lost–in the sense of having any real personal resonance–on anyone under the age of 50. We (by that, I mean American bipeds with a shred of intelligence and dignity) could really have used the laser guided observations and acerbic wit of the Good Doctor to help frame the current battle between the forces of Good and the forces of 43 and his merry band of roving lunatics. However, by the time we got deep into this current pickle, HST had reduced himself to a babbling, gun-toting infant, barely able to string together a coherent thought (the occasional dead on quote being nothing more than the proverbial room full of monkeys plinking out the Bible on Selectrics) holed up in his own physical and spiritual bizarro world. The way I see it, our Icon flat out gave up, the well ran dry, and he reduced himself to a decade and a half long series of mindless jabbering broken only by an occasionally mildly interesting news story (anyone remember the shotgun “art”?) and pathetic and downright gawdawful sports columns published out of sheer pity by ESPN.com on its Page 2.
No, folks, my mourning started 15 years ago and ended Sunday. I mourn the man who brought us Hell’s Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and all of those brilliant–genius–shorts from the world of sports and politics. Alas, even for me, these reads were less topical than the unfettered joy of pure entertainment. The tragedy is that Hunter Stockton Thompson never gave our generation the unique blend of modern cultural relevance AND a gut splitting good time that is early work provided to his first edition readers.
So, there it is folks. No fancy links, no cover art. Just the truth, Ruth.
Res Ipsa Loquitur, let the good times roll.