Monday, February 21, 2005


I note with sadness the passing (well, suicide) of Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Here's a few apt sentences about the man and the legend, written by Cintra Wilson for Salon:
    If artists are the uninsulated emotional conductors for the rest of society, Thompson was a one-man power grid of paranoia, revulsion and defiance. He was a canary in our collective coal mine, an ulcer on our societal tongue, a warning. He was physically a big and strong enough man to recklessly embody the idea that we should all Beware of Where We Are Headed. A shuddering red flag.

    Alienation was a big part of Thompson's voice, but not (I believe) because he wanted to be alienated. HST wrote very movingly about participating in the thrillingly inclusive group energies of the 1960s. He just didn't really fit in very well to anyone else's scene. He was a bit too charismatic, clean-cut and bizarre on his BSA, with his cigarette holder, to blend in with the Hell's Angels. He needed to be the center of attention too much to comfortably share the spotlight in rooms where other luminati of the day were having their moments -- rock stars, politicians, the various and infamous. Thompson was trapped, somewhat, in the limbo between Journalist and Personality: the neither-nor underworld of the rock-star scribe, who wields a little too much personal gravity to yield the focus to a subject other than himself.


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