An Ode to HST

This blog post is dedicated to one of my most favorite authors. Conveniently, it is also about him.

The late great Hunter Stockton Thompson.

Gonzo

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

-Hunter S. Thompson

It is impossible to write everything about Thompson in a silly little blog post. Anything I could possibly say would not be doing him any justice. Therefore, today’s post will have more of my own commentary.

I fell in love with HST through Johnny Depp, or maybe I just fell in love with Johnny Depp. Either way, both men are fascinating creatures to me. As soon as I saw Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I had to dive deeper into Thompson’s brain; however dark and demented it was.

I decided to embark on my HST journey by watching a documentary about him. This documentary called, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was incredibly intriguing and thrilling to me. It chronicled HST’s life from his childhood in Louisville all the way to his Key West Buffet days and death in Colorado. The best part about the Gonzo documentary was that it was narrated by HST’s long-time friend, Mr. Depp. It would be difficult to pick a better combo than these two.

No one denies that the man was seriously crazy. However, I find his commentary on everything from politics to sports to motorcycle gangs to life in general refreshingly honest. His pull no punches approach to journalism is nothing like we get today in the cookie-cutter media of cable news and liberal ass-kissing print. Hunter brought his disturbed inner thoughts into everything he wrote, and the result was genius. He gave you every detail you needed about an event or story, and yet at the same time, left everything to the imagination.  His style may have been brutal and harsh, but the reality was that the man could not sugar-coat if his life depended on it. I don’t think he wrote this way to prove anything to anyone. He was simply who he was.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson

After watching the documentary and deciding that I was possibly (definitely)  in love with this man’s writing style, I thought that in the spirit of campaign season, I would read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.  During the particular campaign chronicled in the book (1972), Thompson attached himself to George McGovern as his all-time favorite politician. Coincidentally (meaning I am not writing this because of McGovern’s death), former Senator McGovern passed away just a few days ago. Though it seemed that McGovern was a liberal outcast, even by his own party standards,  Thompson feverishly defended this man as potentially the only good guy left. Unfortunately for Thompson, McGovern lost to Nixon in one of the most lopsided defeats in history. Because I am dedicating this blog post to Dr. Thompson, and McGovern was his favorite politician, I will take a moment of silence for his passing.

(take moment now)

“The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes… understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose… Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?”

-Hunter S. Thompson

“So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here — not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”

-Hunter S. Thompson

Maybe he is right: there is no such thing as objective journalism, and all our whining and complaining about liberal this/conservative that/he said/she said will all end the moment we open our brains and not just our eyes and ears. Critical thinking is lost on the person who complains that he cannot find anything objective or “neutral.”

Hunter S. Thompson lived his life in a way that was far from objective or neutral. He lived on the edge; away from normalcy and routine. He fought the fight for the fringes, and died in the only way he knew how–by his own hand, at his own time.

If you have never experienced this man’s writing, or taken the time to watch the movies made from his own life experiences, I highly recommend that you start reading and watching now.

“Weird behavior is natural in smart children, like curiosity is to a kitten.”
―Hunter S. Thompson

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