View Full Version : Hunter S. Thompson- dead

2005-Feb-21, 11:35 AM
great writer- dead by self inflicted gun shot wound

2005-Feb-21, 02:24 PM
So sad. I personally witnessed the man's wild and weird view of the world, but I'm truly shocked at the act of suicide. I interviewed him back in the early 80's when my college radio station sponsored him as a speaker on campus. His public life was no act, the man's appetite for living at the edge was insatiable. Just the ride from the airport to the campus (usually a 1-hour drive) turned into a 3-hour lesson in excesses. Obnoxious, selfish, cheap (stopped in 4 bars and he never dropped a dime, everybody had to buy for him), bossy, and one of the wittiest people I've ever met. He was pretty bent by the time we got to the show, over an hour late. The crowd was unruly, with quite a few jeers at his first few comments. He retaliated with some great insulting insights, the crowd settled in and the rest of the event went fine. What a maniac!

2005-Feb-21, 02:56 PM
I sorry about this and feel bad for his family, but it kind of seems to me that this was the only way he could go. "Thompson dies peacefully in his sleep at the age of 107" would have been the weird headline :-? .

2005-Feb-21, 03:28 PM
Life lived on the edge comes with a complementary freefall when you misstep. This guy's biggest mistake was living long enough to see 1970, after that, all the wit and intelligence in the world didn't mask the fact that he was miserable with the idea that the rest of civilization went into rehab and reclaimed its grip on reality.

2005-Feb-21, 03:28 PM
I agree the way he died was very much in keeping with who he was...

Eta C
2005-Feb-21, 04:05 PM
Given his lifestyle, HST would probably not have made it to 107. An overdose might have been one way he would have died, but his fascination with guns (they feature prominently in all of his books, e.g. the .357 Magnum in "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas") makes this choice understandable although not acceptable.

While he was sharp enough early in his career, I think HST's commentary started going downhill after the 72 election. "Fear & Loathing on the Campaign trail" is an interesting look at that election and is probably his best book (certainly his most coherent). Since the mid 90's though he had become something of a broken record and increasingly less relevant. For a person who craved the limelight, that is intolerable.

Oddly enough, the end of his life creates a final parallel with the life of Ambrose Bierce, who was also an author and columnist based in the San Francisco area. In his heyday, between 1880 and 1910 Bierce wrote a satirical column for the SF Examiner that tore into the hypocricies of the day. In the late 80's and early 90's the Examiner hired HST to write a similar column (collected in a book called "Generation of Swine" if I recall correctly.)

After 1910, Bierce too began sounding tired and dated. He lost his columnist job, and the publication of his collected works produced nothing but critical scorn. No one knows exacly how Bierce died, he vanished in 1914 after claiming he was on his way to Mexico to observe the revolution there. This has led to all sorts of speculation (as in the movie "The Old Gringo"), but the concensus is that he went out somewhere in the southwest desert and killed himself with a gun.

2005-Feb-21, 04:43 PM
His somewhat regular ESPN columns (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/archive?columnist=hunter_s._thompson&root=page2) became a concern when he issued nothing on the Superbowl (2nd to last article was 12/21/04)---not a word on a subject near and dear to his gleeful gambling heart. Then, a few days ago, his bizarre last column on Shotgun Golf/Bill Murray.

Celestial Mechanic
2005-Feb-21, 06:48 PM
Using the techniques of "Gonzo Journalism" (OK, making stuff up off the top of your head) I reconstruct HST's last moments as being something like this:

Marmots!! Coming out of the sky!! Don't just stand there!!!

AAUUUUGGGHHH!!!! They're dancing on my head!!!!


Sadly, this tasteless attempt at humor is probably very close to the truth. Drugs are not good for children and other semi-sentient beings. If you're on this merry-go-round, GET OFF IT NOW!

2005-Feb-21, 07:11 PM
Hunter S. Thompson and Hubble Space Telescope have the same initials. Coincidence? I don't think so. 8-[

2005-Feb-21, 07:15 PM
His own personal wave has crashed.
The waterline should always be rememberd.

2005-Feb-21, 08:46 PM
I wonder if over the next few days information will come to light that explains why he did it. Depression? Effects of long-term drug use? Conscious decision on his part due to his advancing age?

2005-Feb-21, 08:50 PM
Depression? Effects of long-term drug use? Conscious decision on his part due to his advancing age?

...easy access to a gun?

mike alexander
2005-Feb-21, 08:50 PM
Thompson was one of the great stylists of the second half of the 20th century, make no mistake. Some of those rambles of his look easy-but they aren't.

Eta C's reference to Bierce is insightful. Bierce wanted to be remembered as a man of letters, but he wrote just a handful of good stories (A Horseman in the Sky, Moxon's Master, Chickamauga come to mind) and one great one (An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge). His best writing was his reportage (and his Dictionary), and his anger came through there best. Neither suffered fools gladly. Both seemed to fight back against depression and hopelessness much of their lives. Both did great work in places used the next week to wrap garbage.

I thought of Bartleby, the Scrivener:

Conceive a man by nature and misfortune prone to a pallid hopelessness, can any business seem more fitted to heighten it than that of continually handling these dead letters and assorting them for the flames? For by the cart-load they are annually burned. Sometimes from out the folded paper the pale clerk takes a ring:--the finger it was meant for, perhaps, moulders in the grave; a bank-note sent in swiftest charity:--he whom it would relieve, nor eats nor hungers any more; pardon for those who died despairing; hope for those who died unhoping; good tidings for those who died stifled by unrelieved calamities. On errands of life, these letters speed to death.

Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!

I will truly miss that gonzo screwball.

Eta C
2005-Feb-21, 09:22 PM
His somewhat regular ESPN columns (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/archive?columnist=hunter_s._thompson&root=page2) became a concern when he issued nothing on the Superbowl (2nd to last article was 12/21/04)---not a word on a subject near and dear to his gleeful gambling heart. Then, a few days ago, his bizarre last column on Shotgun Golf/Bill Murray.

Yes, the man was a football fanatic. One of the more surreal espisodes in his book on the 72 election is his description of a car ride he took with Nixon before the New Hamshire primary early in the campaign. Apparently Nixon was as much of a football fanatic as Thompson and wanted someone to talk with during a ride to the airport. Thompson was the only one available and the trip went smoothly as the discussion was limited to football. As he put it:
The scene was so unreal that I felt like laughing out loud--to find myself zipping along a New England freeway in a big yellow car, being chauffered around by a detective while I relaxed in the back seat and talked about football with my old buddy Dick Nixon, the man who came within 100,000 votes of causing me to flee the country in 1960.

2005-Feb-21, 11:45 PM
The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

Hunter S. Thompson

2005-Feb-22, 02:06 PM
Hail you on that one. There is a certain cleansing effect that comes from going to The Edge. Even more so from stepping off and being saved. The blood flows very sweetly after having been threatened with being stilled permanently. So much of the flotsam, **, and games people run on each other seem so absurd and such a waste. Is it OK to use ** here?

2005-Feb-22, 02:31 PM
Is it OK to use ** here?
Kind of, because it generally doesn't have the meaning here that you might think. In the Lunar forum it refers to Bart Sibrel, an Apollo Hoax proponent. ** is full of **. :lol:

2005-Feb-22, 02:34 PM
Depression? Effects of long-term drug use? Conscious decision on his part due to his advancing age?
...easy access to a gun?
Oddly enough I just read that he was an avid member of the NRA and collected weapons.

The local newspaper is also reporting on his visit to Bermuda in 1960, he essentially got a ride here on a yacht and figured he could hitch a ride back on another ship. He couldn't and after a while the Government detained him (illegal immigrant you know) and sent him back to the US.

2005-Feb-22, 10:06 PM

This offers a few more details, apparently the motivation was a little more mundane than initially believed. Apparently, he was a little more lucid than we gave him credit for. Still a huge waste.

2005-Feb-23, 08:50 PM

More info, gotta admit, even having passed, he's still off the wall. Apparently he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes shot out of a cannon. :o

2005-Feb-24, 04:15 PM
. . . Then, a few days ago, his bizarre last column on Shotgun Golf/Bill Murray.

Told a friend of mine all about the shotgun/golf thing. He and I are sold! He lives near a golf course, and literally has collected bushel-baskets worth of golf balls. Another pal lives on 40 acres of land, with plenty of open field available for the "hole" to be built.

When Spring gets here, we very well may give this a shot! (pun fully intended!). =D>

2005-Feb-25, 05:05 AM
A brilliant man, one of the greatest writers America has ever produced.

2005-Feb-25, 05:12 AM
...When Spring gets here, we very well may give this a shot!...
Gonzo Golf!

mike alexander
2005-Feb-25, 06:30 PM
I heard a friend of his said that "He died with his glass full."

In reality, I probably wouldn't have wanted to be with several miles of the man. But I feel the same way about Mt. Saint Helens when it erupts. Scary, dangerous, but what a show.

And Tuckerfan is right.

2005-Feb-25, 08:06 PM
A news article (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2151&ncid=2151&e=2&u=/cpress/20050225/ca_pr_on_en/thompson_death_wife) with more details on his death. If it's true I'm rather saddened by his reasons for his suicide.

John Kierein
2005-Apr-06, 01:49 PM

Shot from a cannon in the fist! Won't go higher than 500 feet? Time for a trip to Aspen in August to see and hear this.