We’re still feeling a little raw, a little banged up from the weekend, primarily because we lost one of the best Sunday. The good Doctor was one of our heroes, not so much for his storied excesses—they only served to push him further down the road to self-caricature—but because the man wrote like some kind of avenging demon, brewing up a heady mix of satire that owed much to Mark Twain with a brutal honesty that seems like an artifact from a lost era. And while the speculation as to the cause of his suicide began the moment the story hit the wires, we’re not interested in adding to the babble, if only because that’s the one question that nobody can ever really answer with any degree of certainty. Hell, this guy
offed himself because he couldn’t keep it real like Freddy Mercury; we just bet if he’d allowed himself another go at the suicide note, Cobain would’ve excised the odd reference.
But enough of this morbid shit. Above all things, Thompson was a man of letters, and even long after he’d deliquesced into a mumbling, jibbering lunatic, he could still put together a sentence every now and again that could blow through your synapses like burning jet fuel. And no one will ever do invective––that scalding cascade of logorrhea, those torrents of abuse––with more antic joy. Hilarious, bilious, an enraged voice of the disenfranchised and a man with no interest in sucking from the teat of party politics, HST was an American original. We’ll not see his like again.
Res ipsa loquitur.“And that, I think, was the handle - that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting - on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave ... So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
– Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
Update: Hunter’s friends have been silent for the most part, although Tom Wolfe
came through with this elegy, which adds to the legend a very funny story about a formal luncheon torn apart by a nautical distress signal. Partner in crime Ralph Steadman
offers up his own elegant take, which includes a reprisal of the classic “Fuck the Pope” story.