Tag Archives: HUNTER.S.THOMPSON

A Tribute to Hunter S. Thompson – God’s Own Outlaw Journalist

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I have recently had more than one occasion to quote from the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson, a favorite writer from back in the day who is recently deceased from a lethal overdose of harsh reality.

I was just a sprout when I read Hell’s Angels, Thompson’s first major commercial success.  I found the writing extremely entertaining, the author’s skill with language uncanny.  I had no idea that he was just getting warmed up for what would become a phenomenal gale of journalistic and literary hyper-excellence the likes of which the world had never seen.  By the sheer power of his writing he lifted himself into a whole new category in which he remains the sole member.  We’ll not likely see another like him.

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The only other important thing to be said about FEAR & LOATHING at this time is that it was fun to write, and that’s rare—for me, at least, because I’ve always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it’s a bit like fucking —which is fun only for amateurs. Old whores don’t do much giggling. Nothing is fun when you have to do it—over and over, again and again—or else you’ll be evicted, and that gets old. So it’s a rare goddamn trip for a locked-in, rent-paying writer to get into a gig that, even in retrospect, was a kinghell, highlife fucking from start to finish… and then to actually get paid for writing this kind of manic gibberish seems genuinely weird; like getting paid for kicking Agnew in the balls. So maybe there’s hope. Or maybe I’m going mad…. In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile—and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely…. The Swine are gearing down for a serious workout this time around…. So much, then, for The Road—and for the last possibilities of running amok in Las Vegas… Well, at least, I’ll know I was there, neck deep in the madness, before the deal went down, and I got so high and wild that I felt like a two-ton Manta ray jumping all the way across the Bay of Bengal.

“Jacket Copy for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” THE GREAT SHARK HUNT (NY: Simon & Schuster 1979), pp 109-110

Though not a stereotypical hippie (or anything else), Hunter shared our outsider point of view and related to our alienation and disgust with society.  He found shelter, acceptance and friendship among the hippies and affirmation that he wasn’t the only one who saw the larger culture as hopelessly self-destructive and unsustainable, not to mention batshit insane.

The hippies, who had never really believed they were the wave of the future anyway, saw the election results as brutal confirmation of the futility of fighting the establishment on its own terms. There had to be a whole new scene, they said, and the only way to do it was to make the big move—either figuratively or literally—from Berkeley to the Haight-Ashbury, from pragmatism to mysticism, from politics to dope…. The thrust is no longer for ‘change’ or ‘progress’ or ‘revolution,’ but merely to escape, to live on the far perimeter of a world that might have been.

May 1967, “The Hashbury is the Capital of the Hippies,” from THE GREAT SHARK HUNT (NY: Simon & Schuster 1979), pp 392-394

Hunter was loved, admired and held in awe by the hippie community.  He loved us too.

“We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river.”

Hunter S. Thompson

People of my generation speak a lot about the 60s and there are damned good reasons – especially now when they seem so instructive for the current times.  Here’s Hunter’s take on it.

It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant…. History is hard to know, because of all the hired bull, but even without being sure of ‘history’ it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened…. There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda…. My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights — or very early mornings — when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour… booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turnoff to take when I got to the other end… but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: no doubt at all about that. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…. 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.

“Genius Round the World Stands Hand in Hand….”, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Vintage, 1971), pp 66–68

At a time when I hated both politicians and politics Hunter turned me on to the necessity of paying close attention to the clowns in that arena.

“Politics is the art of controlling your environment.”

Hunter S. Thompson

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Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 (1973)

If the current polls are reliable… Nixon will be re-elected by a huge majority of Americans who feel he is not only more honest and more trustworthy than George McGovern, but also more likely to end the war in Vietnam. The polls also indicate that Nixon will get a comfortable majority of the Youth Vote. And that he might carry all fifty states…. This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes… understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose…. Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?

“September,” from FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL ’72 (Warner Books, 1973), pp 413–414

Hunter had a way of cutting straight to the heart of any matter and making complicated truths seem simple and plain.

In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely.

Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)

For all the stir he caused Hunter was poorly understood by many.  He spent a lot of time explaining himself to those who lacked sufficient perspective to grok his genius.

Fiction is based on reality unless you’re a fairy-tale artist, you have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you’re writing about before you alter it.

Associated Press interview (2003)

But speaking of rules, you’ve been arrested dozens of times in your life. Specific incidents aside, what’s common to these run-ins? Where do you stand vis-à-vis the law?

“Goddammit. Yeah, I have. First, there’s a huge difference between being arrested and being guilty. Second, see, the law changes and I don’t. How I stand vis-à-vis the law at any given moment depends on the law. The law can change from state to state, from nation to nation, from city to city. I guess I have to go by a higher law. How’s that? Yeah, I consider myself a road man for the lords of karma.”

Salon interview (2003-02-03)

If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.

BankRate.com Interview (2004-11-01)

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Now before I post this next excerpt let me just say that I do not believe that everyone should emulate Doctor Gonzo’s example and go hog wild on drugs.  I do believe however that we need to stop the insanity of prohibition and the horrendous and counter-productive ‘war on drugs’ as experience has shown that people have always used drugs and always will of the type and in the quantities that they so see fit and the laws, social admonitions and real-world consequences be damned.  Education, harm reduction and compassionate care make sense, none of the rest of it does.  It is just hypocrisy.  That being said, I do not believe that even Hunter S. Thompson could consume the drugs in the dosages and quantities he speaks of in his writing (though I do know he was legendary in this respect and even witnessed it to some extent).  To explain that last parenthetical, I once met the great Hunter S. Thompson and spent the better part of 24 hours with him and another friend known as Doctor John – but that is a book in itself and very much a story for another time.

The fact remains, and should be born in mind, that Hunter, like many good writers, was given to embellishment and hyperbole – though with Hunter it’s hard to know just where to draw that line.  And it bears mentioning here that he was, of course, a mutant.

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive…” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?”

No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.

The sporting editors had also given me $300 in cash, most of which was already spent on extremely dangerous drugs. The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. All this had been rounded up the night before, in a frenzy of high-speed driving all over Los Angeles County — from Topanga to Watts, we picked up everything we could get our hands on. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug-collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we’d get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.

HST – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

As hilarious as that is, Hunter was at his best when he wrote about American politics.  No other subject was better suited to his switchblade wit, laser-vision and extraterrestrial wisdom.

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Welcome to the Big Darkness (July, 2003)

When I went into the clinic last April 30, George Bush was about 50 points ahead of his closest Democratic opponent in next year’s Presidential Election. When I finally escaped from the horrible place, less than three weeks late, Bush’s job-approval ratings had been cut in half — and even down into single digits, in some states — and the Republican Party was panicked and on the run. It was a staggering reversal in a very short time, even shorter than it took for his equally crooked father to drop from 93 percent approval, down to as low as 43 percent and even 41 percent in the last doomed days of the first doomed Bush Administration. After that, he was Bill Clinton’s punching bag.

Richard Nixon could tell us a lot about peaking too early. He was a master of it, because it beat him every time. He never learned and neither did Bush the Elder.

But wow! This goofy child president we have on our hands now. He is demonstrably a fool and a failure, and this is only the summer of ’03. By the summer of 2004, he might not even be living in the White House. Gone, gone, like the snows of yesteryear.

The Rumsfield-Cheney axis has self-destructed right in front of our eyes, along with the once-proud Perle-Wolfowitz bund that is turning to wax. They somehow managed to blow it all, like a gang of kids on a looting spree, between January and July, or even less. It is genuinely incredible. The U.S. Treasury is empty, we are losing that stupid, fraudulent chickencrap War in Iraq, and every country in the world except a handful of Corrupt Brits despises us. We are losers, and that is the one unforgiveable sin in America.

HST – Welcome to the Big Darkness

The following quotes are from the last four or five years of Hunter’s life.  Many of them address matters that are still very much with us…sad to say.

The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now— with somebody— and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.

“Kingdom of Fear” (2001-09-12)

It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy…. We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows?

“Kingdom of Fear” (2001-09-12)

This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed—for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now.

“When War Drums Roll” (2001-09-17)

The last half of the 20th century will seem like a wild party for rich kids, compared to what’s coming now. The party’s over, folks. . . [Censorship of the news] is a given in wartime, along with massive campaigns of deliberately-planted “Dis-information”. That is routine behavior in Wartime— for all countries and all combatants— and it makes life difficult for people who value real news.

“When War Drums Roll” (2001-09-17)

This blizzard of mind-warping war propaganda out of Washington is building up steam. Monday is Anthrax, Tuesday is Bankruptcy, Friday is Child-Rape, Thursday is Bomb-scares, etc., etc., etc…. If we believed all the brutal, frat-boy threats coming out of the White House, we would be dead before Sunday. It is pure and savage terrorism reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

“Domestic terrorism at the Super Bowl” (2002-02-11)

We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear—fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer.

“Extreme behavior in Aspen” (2003-02-03)

It is hard to ignore the prima facie dumbness that got us bogged down in this nasty war in the first place. This is not going to be like Daddy’s War, old sport. He actually won, and he still got run out of the White House nine months later.. . The whole thing sucks. It was wrong from the start, and it is getting wronger by the hour.

“Love in a Time of War” (2003-03-31)

Three journalists have died in Baghdad…. American troops are killing journalists in a profoundly foreign country, under cover of a war being fought for savage, greed-crazed reasons that most of them couldn’t explain or even understand.

What the hell is going on here? How could this once-proud nation have changed so much, so drastically, in only a little more than two years. In what seems like the blink of an eye, this George Bush has brought us from a prosperous nation at peace to a broke nation at war.

“A Sad Week in America” (2003-03-10)

Why are we seeing George Bush on TV every two hours for nine or ten days at a time, like some kind of mutated Mr. Rogers clone? Something is dangerously wrong in any country where a monumentally-failed backwoods politician can scare our national TV networks so totally that they will give him anything he wants.

“The Bush League” (2003-09-09)

I have never had much faith in our embattled child President’s decision-making powers…. I know that is not what you want to hear/read at this time, especially if you happen to be serving in the doomsday mess that is currently the U.S. Army.
I take no pleasure in being Right in my dark predictions about the fate of our military intervention in the heart of the Muslim world. It is immensely depressing to me. Nobody likes to be betting against the Home team.

“Fast and Furious” (2003-10-14)

If we get chased out of Iraq with our tail between our legs, that will be the fifth consecutive Third-world country with no hint of a Navy or an Air Force to have whipped us in the past 40 years.

“Am I Turning Into a Pervert?” (2003-11-18)

This is no time for the “leader of the free world” to be falling asleep at massively-popular sporting events. . .Was [Bush] drunk? Does he fear the sight of an uncovered nipple? Was he lying? Does he believe in his heart that there are more evangelical Christians in this country than football fans and sex-crazed yoyos with unstable minds? Is he really as dumb as he looks and acts? These are all unsatisfactory questions at a time like this.
Is it possible that he has already abandoned all hope of getting re-elected? Or does he plan to cancel the Election altogether by declaring a national military emergency with terrorists closing in from all sides, leaving him with no choice but to launch a huge bomb immediately?. . . Desperate men do desperate things, and stupid men do stupid things. We are in for a desperately stupid summer.

“Bush’s Disturbing Sleeping Disorder” (2004-02-18)

The 2004 presidential election will be a matter of life or death for the whole nation. We are sick today, and we will be even sicker tomorrow if this wretched half-bright swine of a president gets re-elected in November.

“The Big Finale Was a Big Disappointment” (2004-04-06)

Not even the foulest atrocities of Adolf Hitler ever shocked me so badly as these Abu Ghraib photographs did.

“Let’s Go to the Olympics!” (2004-05-18)

These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport.

“Let’s Go to the Olympics!” (2004-05-18)

Today, the Panzer-like Bush machine controls all three branches of our federal government, the first time that has happened since Calvin Coolidge was in the White House. And that makes it just about impossible to mount any kind of Congressional investigation of a firmly-entrenched president like George Bush. The time has come to get deeply into football. It is the only thing we have left that ain’t fixed.

“The pain of losing” Hey Rube, HST’s ESPN column (2004-11-09)

And finally some random quotes.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.

Pray to God, but row away from the rocks.

The last train out of any station will not be full of nice guys.

Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers and warriors.

Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men’s reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ”the rat race” is not yet final.”

~ Hunter S. Thompson, 1937 – 2005

Any words one adds to his seem pitiful, anemic and undernourished.  Suffice it to say we were blessed with a rare genius and he will be missed profoundly by a world no longer good enough, true enough, big enough, or bold enough to contain him.

HST-When-the-fun-stopped

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.

~ Hunter S. Thompson’s Suicide note, February 20, 2005

Goodbye brother.  Rest in peace.

Mahalo.

Res Ipsa Loquitur.

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Hunter S Thompson Discovered Evidence Of Explosives in WTC on 9/11

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Hunter S Thompson Discovered Evidence Of Explosives in WTC on 9/11 Writer warned he’d be ‘suicided’ before mysterious death By: Jay Greenberg  |@NeonNettle on 4th February 2017 @ 11.55am © press Hunter S Thomson was writing about the 9/11 attacks when he died. American journalist and author, Hunter S. Thompson, was working on a story about the WTC collapse on 9/11 and had discovered evidence that the World Trade Center was brought down by explosives, and not planes, telling people that he would be ‘suicided’ right before his death.Speaking to an associate at the Toronto Globe on the night before he mysteriously died of a gunshot wound to the head in February 2005, he said that he had found “hard evidence” that the towers had been brought down by “explosives set off in the foundations” and that people were trying to stop him from publishing it.Thompson’s family had reported that he was happy before he died and that he hadn’t been depressed, suicidal, or in any sort of pain that would lead him to kill himself. Giant Solar Powered… Smartflower? Smartflower is a giant “sun flower” made of solar panels that generate energy for any home. Sponsored by Connatix According to the Toronto Globe: Hunter telephoned me on Feb. 19, the night before his death. He sounded scared. It wasn’t always easy to understand what he said, particularly over the phone, he mumbled, yet when there was something he really wanted you to understand, you did. He’d been working on a story about the World Trade Center attacks and had stumbled across what he felt was hard evidence showing the towers had been brought down not by the airplanes that flew into them but by explosive charges set off in their foundations. Now he thought someone was out to stop him publishing it: “They’re gonna make it look like suicide,” he said. “I know how these bastards think . . .” Prison Planet reports: Hunter S. Thompson … was indeed working on such a story.Now check out this February 25 Associated Press story about Thompson’s death. Sounds a lot like a professional hit with a silencer:”I was on the phone with him, he set the receiver down and he did it. I heard the clicking of the gun,” Anita Thompson told the Aspen Daily News in Friday’s editions.She said her husband had asked her to come home from a health club so they could work on his weekly ESPN column…Thompson said she heard a loud, muffled noise, but didn’t know what had happened. “I was waiting for him to get back on the phone,” she said.(Her account to Rocky Mountain News reporter Jeff Kass is slightly different: “I did not hear any bang,” she told Kass. She added that Thompson’s son, who was in the house at the time, believed that a book had fallen when he heard the shot, according to Kass’ report.)Mack White sums up the questions well:  Thompson’s family says he was not depressed, nor was he in enough to pain to kill himself. In fact, by all reports, he was quite happy. He was talking on the phone to his wife, getting ready to work on his column, when he decided it would be wise to kill himself, so that he could go out (we are told) while “still at the top of his form,” even though this would mean not finishing his column or his expose on 9/11 (potentially the most important thing he would ever write) (?)…This account says Thompson killed himself while sitting in a chair on his typewriter and yet the original account tells us that Thompson shot himself while talking to his wife on the phone in the kitchen. Why has the story changed and what is the significance of the word typed on the paper in light of the fact that Thompson said he would be ‘suicided’ before being able to release a major story on explosives bringing down the twin towers?

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/1875-hunter-s-thompson-discovered-evidence-of-explosives-in-wtc-on-9-11
© Neon Nettle

THE ‘UNCLE DUKE’ ACTION FIGURE THAT MADE HUNTER S. THOMPSON WANT TO ‘RIP OUT’ GARRY TRUDEAU’S LUNGS

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06.10.2016
10:20 am

It was 1974 when Gary Trudeau debuted the newest member of his Doonesburycomic crew, “Uncle Duke,” to the world. And the man whom the character was based on, gun-toting Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson was not pleased. In an interview with High Times, Thompson recalled the moment he became aware of Uncle Duke.

It was a hot, nearly blazing day in Washington, and I was coming down the steps of the Supreme Court looking for somebody, Carl Wagner or somebody like that. I’d been inside the press section, and then all of a sudden I saw a crowd of people and I heard them saying, “Uncle Duke,” I heard the words Duke, Uncle; it didn’t seem to make any sense. I looked around, and I recognized people who were total strangers pointing at me and laughing. I had no idea what the fuck they were talking about. I had gotten out of the habit of reading funnies when I started reading the Times. I had no idea what this outburst meant…It was a weird experience, and as it happened I was sort of by myself up there on the stairs, and I thought: “What in the fuck madness is going on? Why am I being mocked by a gang of strangers and friends on the steps of the Supreme Court? Then I must have asked someone, and they told me that Uncle Duke had appeared in the Post that morning.

Thompson went on to say that “no one grows up wanting to be a cartoon character” and that if he ever caught up with Garry Trudeau, he would “rip his lungs out.” Whilethat never happened, in 1992 Trudeau published book called Action Figure!; The Life and Times of Doonesbury’s Uncle Duke that chronicled the misadventures of Uncle Duke that came with a five-inch action figure of dear Uncle Duke along with a martini glass, an Uzi, cigarette holder, a bottle of booze, and a chainsaw. While theDoonesbury creator has never been one to shy away from controversy, this bold move seemed rather suicidal or at the very least a very direct threat to the current location of Trudeau’s lungs. You can actually still find the book and its sneering Uncle Duke action figure on auction sites like eBay and on Amazon like I did. More images follow.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Watch Hunter S. Thompson exchanging gunfire with his neighbors over their cows

#hunter_S_thompson#action_figure#uncle_duke#garry_trudeau#beatnikhiway.com#ana_christy

EXCLUSIVE The father I feared, loathed – and loved: Hunter S Thompson’s son reveals a childhood with drink, drugs, guns, picnics and parties with Hells Angels and how he adored his ‘alcoholic, idealistic’ dad

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3376299/EXCLUSIVE-father-feared-loathed-loved-Hunter-S-Thompson-s-son-reveals-childhood-drink-drugs-guns-

HUNTER2

#hunter_s_thompson#song#ana_christy#beatnikhiway.com

Hunter S. Thompson’s son shocker:

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Hunter S. Thompson’s son shocker: “Hunter was surprised and pleased that I actually grew up apparently sane”

Salon exclusive: Juan F. Thompson discusses Hunter’s wild times, suicide — and why he didn’t want his dad’s life

TOPICS: HUNTER S. THOMPSON, BOOKS, EDITOR’S PICKS, ,

Hunter S. Thompson's son shocker: "Hunter was surprised and pleased that I actually grew up apparently sane"(Credit: AP/Kathy Willens/Reuters/Rick Wilking/Photo montage by Salon)

When Conan O’Brien tried to get Hunter S. Thompson to appear on his talk show, the writer would only agree to a segment if they went to upstate New York to shoot guns and drink hard liquor. Featuring his most famous proclivities, firearms and whisky, it’s a classic Thompson moment, a television appearance dictated, like his life and like his death, entirely on his own terms. It’s an episode that adds to the Thompson myth, another treatment of him not as a person but as a persona—as a cultural icon whose behavior and success are so inextricably tied together that it’s impossible to understand one without the other. The way he lived was the way he wrote.

But, of course, Hunter wasn’t just a symbol of Gonzo journalism, and he wasn’t just a caricature of the ‘60s. He was a man—a flawed individual known for his bouts of extreme rage, for his unprovoked verbal eruptions, for his short days and long nights. Nobody experienced the unpredictable fits of anger more so than his only child. Arriving nearly a decade after Hunter’s suicide in February 2006, Juan F. Thompson’s new memoir, “Stories I Tell Myself,” details the long path of reconciliation between a father and a son. It’s a journey of love and forgiveness, how one learns to accept a person when there’s no hope for change. It’s a portrait of Hunter as a human being, funny and fearful pages filled with drunk, smoky evenings, famous friends and admirers, extensive travels and financial uncertainty.

Relying on his memory, on what he considers sometimes “treacherous” and “unfaithful” and “perfidious,” Juan shares the 41 enthralling and scary years he had with Hunter: living in Woody Creek, Colorado, in a house stockpiled with guns, where ammo was stored in the kitchen cabinets; riding, as a young boy, on the back of speeding motorcycles; leaving his family and home state behind for a lonely and isolating East Coast school (twice). He starts with his own birth and ends with Hunter’s exorbitant funeral, when his dad’s ashes were shot out of a cannon.

This interview took place over the phone. It has been lightly edited for concision and clarity.

Why write the book now? It’s been almost a decade since Hunter’s death.

I just wrote an essay for Powell’s Books, for the store’s newsletter, and the essay is about why it took me nine years to write this book. I started in 2006, and, well, it took nine years. Why now? Because it took me nine years to write the damn book (laughs).

Were you sorting through his archives and his letters? Nine years is a long time.

A combination of things. First of all, I’d never written a full-length book, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

None of us do.

(laughs) Yeah, my God, my God. Part of it was simply time, too. I got a rough draft done in about a year, but then I realized that was the easy part, getting words down on paper—the basic skeleton. The hard part was pulling all these scraps together into a single, unified and compelling story with an actual arc.

And it was also just really difficult writing about my dad and my past. Much harder than I thought it would be. I figured it would be fairly straightforward and easy to remember, but it was an emotional and taxing process—and not one that I ever looked forward to doing. So I would take long breaks. There were times when I probably didn’t look at the manuscript for six months, and then I’d finally come back to it, and you know, see new things. What I was just writing about in this Powell’s essay was how it turned out that I really did need all of that time. If I had finished this book in a year, it wouldn’t have been a very good book. It would have been pretty one-dimensional. I was grieving. It would have been focused on how much I missed my dad and all the things I had heard about him. And it took years for me to reflect upon his life to realize that I needed to tell more of the story—and be fair. And ultimately, at the end of the day, I loved him, and I respected him. That’s where I ended up. But that doesn’t mean—he did do a lot of rotten things.

“Stories I Tell Myself” opens with a confession that you constructed the memoir based on memories, which are oftentimes unreliable. Even the title is a reference to this idea. Specifically, as a child, you were in situations that most kids never experience. I’m thinking about when Hunter brought you and your mother, Sandy, to hang out with Ken Kesey and the Hell’s Angels. Or even Jimmy Buffett’s wedding, a celebration you would later learn was filled with all sorts of drugs. Since you were young when both of these events occurred, you have had to rely on other people’s testimonials, and I’d imagine your own perception of your own childhood changed when, as an adult, you would hear all of these stories. In that way, you, like so many others, had to mythologize Hunter. Was it challenging understanding your father as a man and not just a persona, or a symbol?

I think part of it was reconciling with my father as a writer, as this caricature, and as the guy I grew up with, as my father. There’s truth in all of them. But I really needed that distance from his death. And I don’t know if I used these exact words in the book, but for those people close to Hunter, there was a very strong sense of loyalty. You have to protect Hunter. You have to be loyal to him. That was an imperative, and that was my first instinct in writing the book. Of course, I’ll protect him.

Were people loyal to him because they respected him, or was there also an element of fear? You describe, growing up, you were always afraid of him, too?

I think it was more that you didn’t question it. Not so much fear, if he did something wrong you would get in trouble. It was that he needs protecting, and our job is to protect him. And that took a while to realize that doesn’t really—now that he’s dead, I don’t really need to follow that obligation. It’s really up to me, and what I believe is important to tell rather than what he would have wanted me to say if he were alive. And that’s a huge factor. It would have been extremely difficult for me to write this book, much less publish it, if he were alive.

What do you think his response would have been if he were alive?

He would have been—I think, it’s so hard to tell what Hunter actually thought—horrified and angry and embarrassed. Because he would have had to deal with the consequences of that knowledge. But I really think—he always expected me to be honest. Once he was dead, and he didn’t have to deal with it, I thought: yeah, tell the truth, don’t cover it up. And I’d be doing him a disservice. I’d be failing in my task, if I were to continue to try to protect him, as we had always done. It wouldn’t be real.

In your memoir, you refer to both your father and your mother as Hunter and Sandy, respectively. Did you call your father “Hunter” throughout his whole life, and not “Dad”? Did you call your mother “Sandy,” and not “Mom”?

Yes, and I have no idea why. As long as I can remember, I always called them that. And I can only imagine it was because that’s how they referred to themselves. It must have been. I don’t think as a 2-year-old I decided that I’d call him Hunter, instead of Dad. Why they made that decision, I have no clue.

You ended up, despite all the craziness, pretty tame. You have a pretty normal life. You live in Colorado, you work in IT. Was being normal, for lack of a better word, a way to rebel?

I think so. At the time, it certainly wasn’t conscious or deliberate. I think it was a reaction against the uncertainty of the craziness. First of all, Hunter was a freelance writer, so there was no guaranteed income. My mom’s full-time job was taking care of Hunter and me until the divorce. So that was definitely a part of it, the financial uncertainty.

But secondly, as a kid and as a teenager, I knew I did not want to live like my father did. For the most part, I rejected the drugs and the drinking. And I think just by my nature, I’m not like him. He was just born that way. He was just born to be Hunter. I don’t think there’s anything in his upbringing—I don’t think, had things been different, he would have ended up an insurance agent like his father. That wouldn’t have happened.

He was just wired that way.

Yes. He was totally just wired that way.

You write a lot about how Hunter was a paradoxical individual. You mention that “one of the most difficult paradoxes in Hunter’s character was the presence of both a strong, genuine caring for others, and a profound self-centeredness.” And that, it was “so ironic that as a father Hunter passed on so few traditions, yet he possessed these traditional reflexes that would show themselves unexpectedly.” When you didn’t shake someone’s hand, for instance, he got upset, even though you had never been instructed on good manners. Is this what made him so unpredictable? That you didn’t know where he stood on certain issues?

Not so much that—he was just so volatile, and I think he became more so the older he got. As countless people will testify, he would erupt into a rage for the tiniest provocation. And that was really scary as a kid. And even as an adult, you don’t just get used to that. I learned to deal with it, I’d leave. But it was always uncomfortable, for sure.

Among swimming and watching movies, one ritual between you and Hunter was cleaning and shooting guns. He taught you how to respect the machines. They brought you together. What was it about firearms that produced such bonding moments?

I think it really could have been anything. But I enjoyed shooting guns, and obviously they were very important to Hunter. Cleaning guns needed to get done, in order to shoot them. It’s a manly kind of thing, and we shared the hobby. Without recognizing it, we probably seized on the opportunity: here’s something that we can do together, that can help connect us. So guns took on a greater importance because they provided a bonding ritual between us.

ana_christy#hunter_s_thompson#juan_thompson#son#beatnikhiway.com

 

Short documentary about Hunter S. Thompson in the 1980s

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Short documentary about Hunter S. Thompson in the 1980s

HUNTER1

Hunter S. Thompson: The Crazy Never Die- Restored

https://youtu.be/yq1QhZ-Ecaw

HUNTER3

“The Crazy Never Die” is a 30-minute, straight-to-video documentary from the late 1980s about Hunter S. Thompson in which we see the good Doctor on the loose at several speaking engagements, The Examiner newspaper, the infamous Mitchell Brothers’ O’Farrell Theater strip club where he was night manager, Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, and inside the old Survival Research Laboratories compound!

Survival Research Labs’ director Mark Pauline told me: “This happened in 1987 around our ‘Delusions of Expediency’ show. I just remember that he was really stoned, and we basically tried to keep him from injuring himself or anyone else at the shop.”

Josh Roush lovingly restored a VHS tape of the documentary.

Much more in Roush’s post here: “AntiCurrent Video Archives Vol 4: Hunter S. Thompson- The Crazy Never Die

vWBLqw

Celebrating the life and death of the famed author of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ with a bang

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Football Season Is Over: Hunter S. Thompson, 1937—2005

hunter

Celebrating the life and death of the famed author of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ with a bang

By | September 22, 2005

FEBRUARY WAS ALWAYS the cruelest month for Hunter S. Thompson. An avid NFL fan, Hunter traditionally embraced the Super Bowl in January as the high-water mark of his year. February, by contrast, was doldrums time. Nothing but monstrous blizzards, bad colds and the lackluster Denver Nuggets. This past February, with his health failing, Hunter was even more glum than usual. “This child’s getting old,” he muttered with stark regularity, an old-timey refrain that mountain-men used to utter when their trail-blazing days were over. Depressed and in physical pain from hip-replacement surgery, he started talking openly about suicide, polishing his .45-caliber pistol, his weapon of choice. He was trying to muster the courage to end it all.

Then, on February 16th, Hunter decided to leave a goodbye note. Scrawled in black marker, it was appropriately titled “Football Season Is Over.” Although he left the grim missive for Anita, his young wife, Hunter was really talking to himself. Here, published for the first time, are perhaps his final written words:

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.

At the bottom of the page, Hunter drew a happy heart, the kind found on Valentine’s cards. Four days later, on February 20th, he committed suicide by firing his pistol into his mouth.

ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 20TH, SIX months to the day after Hunter died, many of his closest friends gathered in the high-ceiling lobby of the Hotel Jerome in Aspen. Since the mid-1960s, Hunter had used the hotel’s J-Bar as his boozy late-night office, its long out door swimming pool as his fitness club. Now, family and friends congregated here, waiting for a convoy of shuttle buses that would ferry them down the two-lane country road to Owl Farm, Hunter’s home in Woody Creek, to say goodbye.

As the hour approached, the Victorian hotel became a Gonzo way station. Reporters wandered about with spiral notebooks while Ralph Steadman and Bill Murray held court at the bar. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Sen. John Kerry said as he boarded a shuttle, his arm around former Sen. George McGovern. “I met Humer in the days of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Then, last summer I offered him the vice-presidency in jest. He’s missed.”

Because Hunter had been a perpetual Peter Pan, accepting the bleak reality of his death came hard. Nobody coveted what his son, Juan, deemed “Dr. Phil closure.” Instead, his family and friends wanted to find a gallant, jubilant way to remember him. Luckily, Hunter provided them with a dramatic, ready-made funeral scheme first hatched nearly thirty years ago, a self-aggrandizing stunt guaranteed to launch his posthumous literary reputation skyward in a final blaze of triumphant glory. “Hunter wanted to be crazy and outrageous in death, just as he was in life,” composer David Amram said on the bus ride to Owl Farm. “Like a phoenix, he planned on rising from the ashes.”

Back in 1977, Hunter had asked Ralph Steadman — his brilliant illustrator and trusted sidekick — to draft a blueprint for a Gonzo Fist Memorial, his warped idea of a pyrotechnics-rigged mausoleum. The morbid notion had been preoccupying Hunter for a while. A few years before, he had asked his artist friend Paul Pascarella to design an official Gonzo logo: an iconic two-thumbed red fist clutching a peyote button, ensconced atop a dagger. Now, with a BBC crew in tow, Hunter and Ralph wandered into a Hollywood mortuary to inquire about transforming the Gonzo symbol into a full-fledged artillery cannon, 153 feet tall, capable of blasting his ashes into the atmosphere. It started out as a lark, but as they years passed, Hunter grew serious about the cannon concept, telling his family and friends it was his “one true wish.” He often spoke of how Mark Twain wanted to report on his own funeral, how France celebrated the death of Victor Hugo with a no-holds-barred parade and, more recently, how Timothy Leary had his ashes fired into space from Grand Canary Island via a rocket. But Hunter had a much grander farewell in mind. He wanted to trump his own suicide with a surefire, high-octane, sizzling Gonzo epilogue complete with a thunderous eight-piece Japanese drum band and a Buddhist reading and his ashes showering down on his lifelong friends while Bob Dylan wailed “Mr. Tambourine Man” from high-decibel speakers.

How one deals with the death of a loved one is a highly personalized affair. Some people weep for days; others take a hike in the woods or count rosary beads. The actor Johnny Depp, it turns out, is a charter member of the Direct Action School of Mourning. Depp and Hunter were home-boys. Both hail from Kentucky, and the two had become friends when Depp played Hunter’s alter ego Raoul Duke in the movie adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. One of Hunter’s great delights was getting Depp enshrined as an honorary Kentucky Colonel in 1996. From induction onward, Hunter always called him “Colonel Depp” — or sometimes just “the Colonel.” Since nothing could bring Hunter back to life, Depp decided to make his buddy’s 1977 death fantasy come true. “Fuck you, Hunter,” he joked one afternoon not long after Hunter died. “You want a Gonzo Cannon? We’ll give you a Gonzo Cannon.”

Following Hunter’s thirty-year-old blueprints, the Colonel commissioned a construction crew to build the cannon. Cost was not a factor. So what if the price tag was $2 million or $3 million? Depp’s recent hits Pirates of the Caribbean and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were financial grand slams, earning the forty-two-year-old actor enough money to buy his owns-land near the Bahamas. Doing it right for Hunter was all that mattered. “I loved him and wanted to make sure his last wish was fulfilled,” Depp says. ‘It’s that simple.” He galvanized Hunter’s inner circle to share his vision of building the most spectacularly weird monument ever erected for a writer. Without hesitation, both Anita and Juan signed up for the ash blast.

But greater Aspen has a notoriously hard-line building code. Pitkin County is NIMBY-land, a place where rich folks with $10 million alpine homes don’t want their scenic views obstructed by a giant day-glo peyote fist. Facing a political minefield, Depp dispatched his movieland troops to the Rockies, determined to construct a permanent monument for the Good Doctor. “There were a lot of community grumbles,” recalls Sheriff Bob Braudis. “Nobody minded a small cannon blast, but 153 feet tall? And permanent? That, quite naturally, raised eyebrows.”

So a compromise was struck. Depp could build his grandiose monument and his friend’s ashes could light up the Western sky in a fireworks orgy. But the memorial would have to be temporary. Two weeks only and down it would have to come. Faced with this reality check, most people would have resigned themselves to building a makeshift memorial, some tawdry papiermâché-like contraption modeled after a disposable Rose Bowl float. But Depp is not most people. “Our goal was to get everything right,” he says. “We wanted to respect the wishes of the people of Pitkin County. These were Hunter’s friends and neighbors. We wanted them to be part of the entire process.”

In early June, construction crews armed with jackhammers, buzz saws and humongous cranes arrived at Owl Farm. While engineers and security guards roamed the property around her, Anita focused on the guest list. Handsome invitations with a silver-foil dagger topped by a double-thumbed fist went out to a select group of family and friends. “Hunter had so many fans, and I wanted them all to come,” Anita says. “But reality dictated that we limit the event to 300 or 400 people.”

Slowly the program began to take shape. Juan would be master of ceremonies, introducing nine or ten of the people closest to Hunter to make brief five-minute eulogies. The tone was funeral-solemn — a wake — but expansive humor was naturally welcomed. Only mint juleps would be served for phase one. A full bar would open up after the eulogies. Music, of course, would be a big part of the evening; given Hunter’s preference for Kentucky bluegrass, Depp lined up Jimmy Ibbotson of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to play “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and Lyle Lovett and David Amram to orchestrate variations on “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Finally, there would be absolutely no cameras or tape recorders or working media allowed at the ceremony. (An exception was made for the New York Times.) “We didn’t see this as a media event,” Juan says. “It was a remembrance of Hunter. Our goodbye. We simply asked people to respect the family’s wishes.” Not everyone got the message. Three days before the event, a freelance photographer who was snooping around the area was run off by Ibbotson, a neighbor of Hunter’s, who fired off his shotgun for emphasis. “If you want to print the fact that neighbors are shooting at paparazzi, please do,” Ibbotson told the Aspen Times. “It might save us a little hassle on the day of the event.”

THE FESTIVITIES WERE SCHEDULED to begin at 7 P.M. As the shuttle buses approached Owl Farm, guests encountered a wall of frenzied fans, wildly waving Gonzo placards while toking on dope and mixing drinks. Virtually everyone claimed some connection to Hunter — be it a Utah book-seller or Honduran smuggler or Houston social maven or Pennsylvania hitchhiker. A few lost souls were even dressed like Hunter in Tilley hats and white Converse sneakers, smoking Dunhills from a cigarette holder. “Those folks weren’t in Woody Creek to rub elbows with glitterati,” said Gerry Goldstein, a close Hunter friend. “They came from far and wide to salute Hunter.”

As I chatted with some of these pilgrims — all in awe of the fifteen-story Gonzo tower standing across Woody Creek Road surrounded by a forested canyon wall — it dawned on me that Hunter had become the Patron Saint of Righteous Rage for the voiceless outcast. Like Jesse James or Billy the Kid, Hunter took on the Bad Boy persona of the average guy’s avenger. He wouldn’t take shit from uppity bosses or dishonest police or corrupt lawyers or phony agents like most of us do. With a fierce vengeance, he lashed out, creating chaos from the mundane, psychedelic sparks out of the terminally placid. Most of us would never drive our Jeep through plate-glass windows or whiff rotten cocaine in a Huddle House parkinglot … so Hunter did it for us. Mayhem was his calling.

And posterity was his obsession. Hunter spent his entire life in a childlike state, wailing like a rambunctious new-born for things like Equal Rights and Prison Reform. He wanted his legacy to be both literary and political. As the invited guests and family arrived, they walked up a flight of stairs — an elegant, gondola-shape pavilion on the hill above Owl Farm, constructed especially for the occasion. The décor was a luscious cross between a Deadwood-like brothel and a Vegas stage show circa 1970. One entrance to the Gonzo palace was adorned by large framed portraits of Hunter’s favorite authors — Hemingway, Faulkner. Conrad, Twain, Fitzgerald. A fine circular bar stood in the center, flanked by furniture draped in black cloth, to be unveiled after the eulogies. Stuffed peacocks and Chinese gongs and other assorted Hunter artifacts were scattered about, his apple-red convertible stuffed with blow-up dolls perched on a nearby knoll. “It was like entering an ancient temple,” says Curtis Robinson, a former editor at the Aspen Daily News. “It reminded me of how much Hunter looked like the Dalai Lama.”

Standing at the podium dressed in a tuxedo jacket, Juan Thompson called for testimonials from his father’s family and friends. Anita. wearing a silk shirt with hand-painted red poppies (Hunter’s favorite flower), sobbed her way through Coleridge’s epic poem “Kubla Khan.” Steadman gave a rambling, hilarious toast, reading some of Hunter’s lengthy faxes to him over the years, including one that demanded an immediate loan of $50,000 (“Keep your advice to yourself,” Hunter instructed, “and send the money”). Ed Bradley of CBS News described encountering Hunter’s work when he bought Rolling Stone at a military PX in Vietnam and eventually growing to trust the notoriously erratic writer enough to allow Hunter to shave his head with a Bic razor. Colleen Auerbach — the mother of Lisl Auman, a young Colorado woman who was being released from prison after Hunter raised questions about her case — read a letter from her daughter. “Hunter saved Lisl’s life,” Auerbach said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t thank him and wish him love.”

Jann S. Wenner, the founder and editor of this magazine, called Hunter “the DNA of ROLLING STONE.” He also commented on the scores of black-clad security officers patrolling the surrounding roads and woods. “Hunter liked to refer to Owl Farm as ‘my heavily fortified compound in the Rockies,”‘ Wenner noted. “Well, today that’s never been more true.”

George McGovern, whose campaign for president Hunter covered for ROLLING STONE, remembered him as “a man of deep goodness and justice and compassion and idealism.” Sheriff Braudis, a longtime friend, gave a heartfelt speech recounting how he had helped Hunter out of various jams over the years. He encouraged those present to keep Hunter’s wife and son and grandson in their thoughts before concluding, “Goodbye, Hunter… motherfucker.”

Juan gave the final ceremonial tribute to his father. “So here we go,” he said. “Let’s do this thing…. Let’s shout, let’s laugh, cry…. Let’s honor the great fallen warrior. Let us spread his ashes on our farm…. Let us celebrate power with power. The king is dead. Long live the king!”

The previous week, Anita had flown to Pennsylvania to deliver her husband’s remains — kept in an oak box draped with an American flag — to Zambelli Fireworks. The company loaded the ashes into ten mortar shells packed with gunpowder. Anita wrote “I love you” on each shell, which were then driven by armored car to Woody Creek and packed into the waiting cannon.

Now the moment had arrived. As “Spirit in the Sky” began blasting over the loudspeakers, even the handful of drunks in attendance sobered up. The massive drapery enfolding the monument was slowly pulled away, revealing the Gonzo fist at the top of the tower — two feet taller than the Statue of Liberty — a multicolored peyote button pulsating at its center. Ed Bastian, a close friend, read part of the sacred text of the Heart Sutra in Tibetan, and a troupe of Japanese drummers began a choreographed ritual. As the drums stopped, champagne flutes were passed around. Then, at 8:46 P.M., more than thirty fireworks rocketed high above Owl Farm, bursting in the night sky illuminated by a nearly full moon. The cannon atop the tower fired, and Hunter’s ashes fell over the assembled guests like gray snow, “Mr. Tambourine Man” blaring from the sound system on cue. Hunter was literally all around us now, a destroying angel whooping it up with one final Rebel Yell. I glanced at Hunter’s compatriots: Kerry looked curious, McGovern sad, Lovett silent. “I have never seen an event like this,” whispered Harry Dean Stanton. “And I’m old. Very old.” Afterward, when the moment came to sing “My Old Kentucky Home,” the performers discovered that no one knew the lyrics. George Tobia, Hunter’s friend and attorney, whipped out his cell phone and managed to find someone to pull the words off the Internet. Struggling to hear over the blare of the music, he wrote the lyrics out in longhand by the light of the moon. Lovett and Amram then took the stage to perform the song, with Depp on guitar and Hunter’s brother Davison on vocals.

Depp, bouncing on his heels, had a wicked grin on his face. He — along with Juan and Anita — had a right to celebrate. They had bucked the tiger and won. Every body knew the tower and its ghostly beacon were temporary. But for the moment Hunter’s family and friends indulged in a well-earned collective pride. They, better than anyone, knew that Hunter was no saint. Far from it. Not even close. At times, in fact, his veins seemed to fill with snake blood. But he was always bursting with kinetic passion and an indomitable prankster vision. Somehow it was hard to mourn his wildly vibrant sixty-seven years with a one-ton Gonzo fist in the sky and Lovett onstage singing “If I Had a Pony” and raw oysters and Gonzo-emblazoned chocolates being handed out like Halloween candy. The party lasted until dawn, with Bill Murray cutting a fine figure on the pavilion’s dance floor and others serenading an inflatable sex doll until the sun finally rose and fatigue settled in and everybody drifted out of Owl Farm full as ticks from food and booze.

As I left the farm with George McGovern and Anita Thompson to deliver a tape of the ceremony to an Aspen bar where hundreds of Hunter’s fans were convened, we stared out the bus window, and there it was, from three miles down the valley — the green orgiastic fist, lighting up the mountain. Jay Gatsby’s green light at the end of the pier had moved west to Hunter S. Thompson Territory. It glowed in the darkness like a long-ago lighthouse on loan from Haight-Ashbury, blinking a sentimental farewell, a bizarre hallucinogenic symbol soon to flicker out forever.

Suddenly, the shuttle bus grew hushed. You could hear the wheels humming down the lonesome Colorado blacktop road. Our transport had become as solemn as an empty church. No human murmurs or casual asides, just stony silence. As the highway turned sharply right, putting the phantasmagoric Gonzo fist out of view, the collective fear of everyone on board was that we had all entered the No More Fun Zone. The Green Light was temporary. The sorcerer was truly gone. The ashes had settled, and only the dark shadow of the valley remained.

From The Archives Issue 983: September 22, 2005

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/football-season-is-over-20050922#ixzz3k1twQ85s
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Hunter S. Thompson on Outlaws | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios

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About That Time #Hunter S. Thompson Joined Hells Angels, For Journalism

Edgy animation memorializes Studs Terkel’s interview with the great Hunter S. Thompson.

Hunter S. Thompson on Outlaws | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios

https://youtu.be/P3QoKqEHS8s

Few figures rank above Studs Terkel and Hunter S. Thompson in the pantheon of American journalism greats. So what, exactly, could be better than Terkel interviewing Thompson? Oh, that’s right: Terkel interviewing Thompson about his time studying the Hells Angels.

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Not to mention a wry cartoon animation of the interview from the PBS web series “Blank on Blank,” which debuted Tuesday. The old-school illustrations capture Thompson’s self-deprecating yet hardbitten tone, as he reveals details about his time with the Hells Angels, and lessons he learned from getting repeatedly “stomped.”

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Terkel conducted a radio interview with Thompson in 1967, as Thompson was poised to take off as a superstar of gonzo journalism. He had just written Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga, a book that stemmed from a breakout article he’d contributed to The Nation magazine.

“Hunter Thompson, our guest, is a new kind of journalist,” Terkel said upon introducing him. “The journalist who is not detached […] in fact he was almost an honorary member, or a dishonored member of the the Oakland Hells Angels.”

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Thompson speaks sympathetically about the Hells Angels, without whitewashing their violent predilections. “I think the Angels came out of World War Two,” he posits to Terkel. “This whole kind of alienated, violent, subculture of people wandering around looking for either an opportunity, or if not an opportunity then vengeance for not getting an opportunity.”

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Though he ruefully recalls falling victim to “bylaw number 10 or 11 […] ‘When an Angel punches a non-Angel all other Angels will participate'” — apparently he once made the fatal mistake of giving a member a hard time for beating his wife — Thompson even sees himself in the frustrated bikers. He confesses to a tendency toward throwing “beer bottles into bar mirrors” and admits enjoying the visceral rush he found in speeding down the highway on a powerful motorcycle.

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Thompson only sped down the open road with the Hells Angels for around a year, but he told Terkel he learned about broader society during that time. “I wouldn’t just call Hells Angels in Oakland the only violent part of our society,” he said. “The Angels reflect not only the lower segments of the society but the higher, where violence takes a much more sophisticated and respectable form.”

He wasn’t just referring to easy marks, like political wheeler and dealer Lyndon B. Johnson, whom he named as having great Hells Angel potential. “I learned a lot about myself just writing about the Angels,” he admitted. “I was seeing a very ugly side of myself a lot of times.”

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In the mid-Sixties, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson spent about a year with the world’s most notorious biker gang to write the book Hell’s Angels, which came out in 1967. He spoke with radio broadcaster Studs Terkel that year for an interview that PBS has now animated whimsically for its Blank on Blank series.

“The Angels claim that they don’t look for trouble,” Thompson said in the interview. “They just try to live peaceful lives and be left alone, but on the other hand they go out and put themselves into situations deliberately and constantly that are either going to humiliate somebody else or cause them to avoid humiliation by fighting.”

But he went on to question their desire for peace, explaining that one of the gang’s bylaws stipulated that “when an Angel punches a non-Angel, all other Angels will participate.” He also said that he was on the receiving end of their wrath. “All during this stomping, I could see the guy who had originally teed off on me that just out of nowhere, with no warning, circling around with a rock [that] must have weighed about 20 pounds,” the journalist said. “I tried to keep my eyes on him because I didn’t want to have my skull fractured.”

Later in the interview, Thompson confided that, like the Angels’ claims, he was then trying to keep a peaceful existence – for his own safety. “I keep my mouth shut now,” he said. “I’ve turned into a professional coward.”

The year Hell’s Angels hit bookstore shelves, the first issue of Rolling Stone also came out. Thompson would go on to become one of the magazine’s most venerated contributors, penning “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and covering everything from the Nixon-McGovern presidential campaigns in 1972 to Bill Clinton 20 years later for the magazine. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2005. An online archive of his Rolling Stone writing is available here.

Blank on Blank animates archival interviews with musicians, actors and other notable people. Recent installments have included Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Tupac Shakur and Jim Morrison.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/see-hunter-s-thompson-talk-hells-angels-in-newly-animated-interview-20150728#ixzz3hPHTeXzX
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rabirius

photography and other things

Bohemian Butterfly

Beautiful gardens, garden art and outdoor living spaces

Art by Ken

The works and artistic visions of Ken Knieling.

Global Art Junkie

A curated serving of the visual arts

andrei plimbarici

Calatorind Descoperi

Edward R. Myers Photography

Captured moments of life as I see it

M. K. Waller

~ Telling the Truth, Mainly

TrappersWildWest

Historian. Artist. Gunmaker.

On The Road Again - 2016

Touring the USA on a Moto Guzzi Breva 750. Archives of our trips in 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 are also to be found here.

Cavalcade of Awesome

All Pax. All Nude. All the Time.

David Mahlow Mosaic Art

Infusing art and photography through mosaics.

phototexas

Welcome to My World......

johncoyote

Poetry, story and real life.

Gypsy Road Trip

Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

All Thoughts Work™ Outdoors

Hiking with snark in the beautiful Pacific Northwest 2011 - 2013

膜龍工坊

光華商場筆電,手機,翻譯機,遊戲機...等3C產品包膜專門店

artsy forager

finding the artsy

everyphototunity

trying to capture the world...my way

BEN TROVATO – Durban Poison

Columns, letters and rants

The Insatiable Traveler

Adventure. Photography. Inspiration. And more!

Stuff and what if...

Exploring writing and the creative randomness of life. Snapshots of moments.

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