February 21st, 2005
I’m still in shock about this and I’m not even sure I believe it yet but apparently, The Good Doctor has taken his own life over the weekend. He was 67.
I’ve never been much of a reader, but thanks to a couple of very good friends (Jason and Geoff, who don’t know each other but both share a fondness for Hunter) have kept me in supply of Thompson books. I consider myself lucky to list books like Hells Angels, The Great Shark Hunt, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas and his only purely fictional novel, The Rum Diaries as books I’ve finished all the way through ;^). I loved all of the books as well as the random Rolling Stone articles and his missives for ESPN.com’s Page 2.
I really liked Terry Gilliam’s take on “Fear and Loathing” (Depp was incredible as usual) but what I remember first was Bill Murray’s take on the man in “Where the Buffalo Roam.” At the time, I didn’t know this was supposed to be HST or that any of those accounts were real (or based on unreal stories), but I loved the movie. Someone once told me that HST wanted Murray dead for making a mockery out of him (a list that also included Gary Trudeau), but if you read his last Hey Rube! entry over at espn.com, I would say they were able to patch things up. If I remember correctly, the movie ends with him doing a lecture at some university, well a couple of years ago I came across a bootleg of a recording of him doing the same lecture in 1977. It’s very cool to listen to him and hear him interact with the students. He was as gonzo as his writings made himself out to be.
The old version of this site, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, featured a logo from the same writing used in many of Thompson’s work by the artist Ralph Steadman. [update: I had to bring it back.] Christ, I even bought Flying Dog Beer because it had the same artwork as his books.
I just can’t believe he took his own life, what a shitty way to go, especially after all the effort he put in to his life. But he will be missed by a lot of people, mostly guys I’m sure who loved to read about drugs, sports, gambling, crooked politicians, and ner-do-well thugs. Count me in that group.
Some early obits:
“Those bastards at Rolling Stone” haven’t bothered to get off their asses to pay a little homage to one of their most significant writers in their questionable, journalistic history. How much do you want to bet that he doesn’t get the next cover either?