I was saddened - nay, depressed - to hear the news that Hunter S. Thompson, the originator of “gonzo” journalism, was found dead Sunday night, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
HST was a true original. His drug- and borderline psychosis-fueled writing, especially his works from the 1970’s, were startlingly funny and incisive, different from just about anything else you would ever see on the printed page. His landmark novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was an inspiration to me and my friend Steve when we made our post-graduation cross-country trek thirty years ago, although there was no way a human being with normal body chemistry could even attempt to replicate most of the stunts Thompson chronicled in that book. His report on the 1972 election, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, was a new generation’s Making of the President, capturing perfectly the spirit of that desperate and twisted Presidential race. And when She Who Must Be Obeyed and I went to the big island of Hawai’i for the first time, my appreciation for the place was magnified by having seen it though the lens of HST’s mania in The Curse of Lono.
There are people who still refer to me as “Dr. Gonzo” on the basis of my affection for the good Doctor’s works (and possibly my similarly bizarre personality), and I consider myself honored.
How tragic that Thompson died by his own hand...but then again, he always did have a fondness for Very Large Guns. I - along with other HST devotees like Nino the Mindboggler - will mourn.
Requiescat in pace, Dr. Gonzo. Vaya con queso.
Not surprisingly, the Blogging World is turning out en masse to grieve at the passing of the Good Doctor. Be sure to read the fine obits by Roxanne, Pete, and Ricky - and let’s not forget the photographic tribute by Mark.