Monday, February 21, 2005


By now, just about everyone knows that Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo writer, anarchic spirit, and New Journalism pioneer, committed suicide over the weekend (though I far prefer the Brit slang snuffed it, myself).

I won’t get into the suicide, because I’m frankly not very interested. I’m interested in the work and the legacy.

Hunter S. Thompson is a profoundly influential writer (to me at least).The blending of fiction and non-fiction, the personal and objective, the mind-reeling spiral of the senses, the sense of weary confusion at an unyielding world – all a wonderfully chaotic spiral of the senses. He took us to new places, and that’s a rare and wonderful gift.

I place Thompson, Tom Wolfe, and Jack Kerouac in that special pantheon of writers, strange/wise minds for strange days. Creative non-fiction pioneers out of the groaning mid-20th Century in America. I place these three writers among the most influential for me as a writer and the way in which I view the world.

I'm sad that Thompson is gone, but there's a lot of great things, great stories, great moments to remember and hold onto.

I found HST's ESPN column –- a position he held up until his unnatural death — to be one of the best and looniest sorta-best-kept-secrets on the Net. Each piece was a loopy ride, and I tried to read it whenever I got the chance.

I don't think the film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas did HST as Writer justice. Johnny Depp looked great and the performances were neat/disturbing, but I found the experience like the ickiest dope trip I never took. There was very little of the manic energy turned hilarious freaked out aside-rich turbulent word-storm that comes across in HST's best passages.

Maybe, if we're lucky, HST's death will remind us what journalism is at its best, what writing is at its best, what creative non-fiction is at its best.

Thompson may be gone, but his writing will remain and remind and live on.

Great writer, I pay tribute to thee.

DB Note: For much more blogging action related to HST, check out our sister station,

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