February 21, 2005
The end of Fear and Loathing

The father of gonzo-journalism, Hunter S. Thompson, shot and killed himself yesterday. As sad as the news is, one hesitates to believe it entirely. Ending his life like that seems very much 'in character' for Hunter S. Thompson. Clearly, fading away would not be his cup of tea (or shot of bourbon or dose of mescaline). Not only that, but Thompson even wrote a piece about what drove Ernest Hemingway, a masculine icon of Thompson's, to shoot himself in remote Ketchum, Idaho.
Thompson himself had chosen a similar life as a mountain recluse - even if Aspen is a good deal flashier than Ketchum.
Thompson will be missed, even if he was very much a 70s phenomenon. Possibly the most memorable quote from Thompsons later years was in honour of Thompson's 'archenemy' Richard Nixon, on the occasion of Nixon's death in 1994.

Richard Nixon is gone now, and I am poorer for it. He was the real thing -- a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy. He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. He lied to his friends and betrayed the trust of his family. Not even Gerald Ford, the unhappy ex-president who pardoned Nixon and kept him out of prison, was immune to the evil fallout. Ford, who believes strongly in Heaven and Hell, has told more than one of his celebrity golf partners that "I know I will go to hell, because I pardoned Richard Nixon."

I have had my own bloody relationship with Nixon for many years, but I am not worried about it landing me in hell with him. I have already been there with that bastard, and I am a better person for it. Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.

Nixon laughed when I told him this. "Don't worry," he said, "I, too, am a family man, and we feel the same way about you."

Maybe Thompson simply ran out of good enemies.

Posted by Claus at February 21, 2005 10:35 AM | TrackBack (0)
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