February 20, 2005

Hunter Thompson

Hunter Thompson Kills Himself

I just learned this. I didn't have it in me to write an obit for Arthur Miller, but Hunter Thompson is something else. I haven't read him for a while, I'll admit, but I went through my phase where I read everything by him: Fear and Loathing, Hell's Angels, Curse of Lono...I really loved the movie, "Where the Buffalo Roam," with Bill Murray as Hunter Thompson. For some reason, that movie gets a lot of bad reviews. Way better, to me, than Johnny Depp in the Fear and Loathing movie--which was all insane with none of the artistry. Sure, the man did a lot of drugs, but you can't be such a good writer without taking writing seriously. The poetry was gone from that movie. I have the same problem with the film version of Jesus' Son. All of the darkness with none of the lyricism.

So every young writer--especially male--will probably have his Hunter Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski phase. Which isn't to say that these guys shouldn't be read after a certain age, but it may be best in your early twenties--when you're looking for debauchery and a way to be artful about it. There aren't too many American literary legends, especially in the second half of the 20th century, and he was one of them. He was unapologetic, bold in ways I wish I could be. Suicide is a stupid, brutal, horrible thing, but shit, I knew nothing about his life. It may be unsurprising. I have a book about John Lennon which ends with the sentence, alone on a page: "What a fucking ending."

Update: Here's a good collection of Hunter Thompson links from Rox Populi.

Update 2: Hunter Thompson killed himself on Kurt Cobain's birthday.


Billy said...

ijust read about his death on yahoo. sorry to say i have never read any of his books. i will try to get one today at the library.

Bradley Laboe said...

I will miss him ... BIG HUG for Juan, Jen, Willam and Anita… who never be able to fill the hole left in there lives by the man in spite of the myth and legend attached to his life..

tequilita said...

i tried to watch "fear and loathing..." -it lost me after 10 minutes. i really wanted to understand the fascination with that movie. after reading some of his stuff in the last couple days, however, i did enjoy reading him more than the movie. maybe i need to try to watch it again? i loved the movie "jesus' son" though -didn't read the book.

Henry Baum said...

Actually, the word "darkness" is wrong in describing the "Jesus' Son" movie. I remember the character being a sort of hapless fuck-up in the movie, and in the book--one of my favorite books--he's profoundly aware of what's going on. Same can be said of "Fear and Loathing."

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