Arts & Entertainment Editor
On Feb. 20, Hunter S. Thompson shot and killed himself. It's still hard to write that, like it's the last concrete realization that he's gone. Thompson was one of my heroes, and a true literary genuis. He's one of the reasons I wanted to become a journalist in the first place.
Thompson didn't live his life like a candle in the wind, he was more like a lit match in a munitions factory. His most widely known work, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” starts off detailing a road trip with enough narcotics, firearms and booze to supply a small country.
Thompson turned journalism on its ear with his “gonzo journalism,” a style of reporting that deeply involved the journalist, making the writer's accounts of what happened a part of the facts. His style wasn't a slap in the face to the old ways, instead his form was built upon genuine journalistic experience and teachings.
My first experience with Thompson was watching an appearance on “Late Night with Conan O'Brien.” Thompson refused interviews, unless they were done on his ranch. While there, he and Conan shot automatic weapons and drank copious amounts of alcohol provided by the bar literally on the shooting range. Normally something like this would look out of place, but with Thompson around reality would warp to the absurd and you didn't really seem to notice.
Thompson never could seem to respect authority. He hated Nixon with a passion that was rare even in his day. As you may have been able to guess, he wasn't a huge fan of Dubya either.
The world has lost one of its greatest literary figures, yet again. Those that have read anything by Thompson understand all of this, and those that haven't can't truly understand what a unique soul the world has lost.
© The Voice, 2005
Revised 050225 http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_13/commentary.htm