Hunter S. Thompson was one of the most controversial journalists of his time, and of any time really. He was the creator of "Gonzo" Journalism - a style of reporting in which the reporter involves themselves in the action so much that they become a main part of the story they are reporting on. People seem to either love him or hate him, but no matter which side of the fence you may be on, there isn't anyone out there who can truthfully say that Hunter S. Thompson was not an influential, effective journalist.
Born in Kentucky, Hunter was a member of the United States Air Force, where he began his career in journalism by becoming the sport's editor for his base. He also did some writing for the sports column there. Thompson left the Air Force in 1958, with an honorable discharge. "In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy," Col. William S. Evans, chief of information services was noted as saying about Thompson.
Famous for "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs", Thompson reported on and wrote about many different politically-charged subjects, including the Kentucky Derby, Richard Nixon, and the U.S. invasion of Grenada. He used Gonzo journalism for it all - becoming personally involved in the stories he chose to cover. I think this is what made his rantings so popular...the fact that he was knee deep in what he was discussing added excitement and a feeling of "being there" for the readers.
Hunter S. Thompson died on February 20, 2005, at his home in Woody Creek, CO of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. What family and police describe as a suicide note was delivered to his wife four days before his death and later published by Rolling Stone. Entitled "Football Season Is Over", it read:
"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won't hurt."
Thompson was known to be a heavy user of psychedelic drugs and alcohol. He had contempt for authority and loved firearms, as well as peacocks. His strange, eccentric personality drew people to him, and his funeral did nothing but prove how many people admired him and his gutsy attitude on life. On August 20, 2005, Thompson's ashes were fired from a cannon atop a 153-foot (47 m) tower of his own design - in the shape of a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button. Johnny Depp, close friend of Hunter's & popular actor, paid for the ceremony. Other famous attendees at the funeral included U.S. Senator John Kerry and former U.S. Senator George McGovern; actors Jack Nicholson, Bill Murray, Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn, and Josh Hartnett; singers Lyle Lovett, John Oates, and numerous other friends. An estimated 280 people attended the funeral.
Hunter Thompson was a man who lived his life to the extreme. Although I don't necessarily agree with the way or the extent that he abused drugs and alcohol, I do look up to him as someone who knew how he wanted to live his life and did what needed to be done in order to make it happen. He was somebody who stood up and shouted for change when most people would have just sat on the sidelines. For that reason, I'm a big fan.
In correspondence, literature and journalism, HST exhaustively explicated the slope, crest and break of American civilization's thrilling, reprobate 20th century prepotency. His oeuvre is an invaluable resource in appraisal of the postwar era's addled, volatile dynamism, when multiplex dysfunction assumed normality and latitude afforded by a sybaritic culture and its unremitting technological advances were exploited for the hedonism of plenteous profit and pleasure. In our era of declension, … more
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