The media reports that Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, 67, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on February 20, 2005. Details are sketchy at this point and Thompson's son, Juan Thompson, has asked the media vultures to respect the family's privacy.
According to Alexander Cockburn, Boston lawyer George Tobia, Jr. told the Globe the 67-year-old author sat in his kitchen Sunday afternoon in his home in Woody Creek, Colo., stuck a .45-caliber handgun in his mouth, and killed himself while his wife listened on the phone and his son and daughter-in-law were in another room of his house.
Thompson spent the past few decades chronicling the death of the American Dream. As a champion of personal freedom, I suspect the Doctor couldn't bear to see the state hammer the final coffin nail into the American Dream's casket. Whatever personal reasons Thompson had to take his own life, I'm sure he has been dying a little bit every day. Anyone who attempts to live as a free person dies a little every day as the concept of freedom in America gradually slips away.
Al Giordano sums it up nicely: The (American) dream is dead inside those borders, and this is especially true of the journalism sweatshop in which (Thompson) labored. There, simply, wasn’t a shred of dream left for him to cover.
Thompson started his career as a sports writer and ended it as a writer for ESPN (see Fear and Loathing in America below). Between gigs as a sports writer, he gave us numerous articles and books to contemplate. Thompson's book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, published in 1971, has been compared to Kerouac's classic, On The Road. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas inspired a movie by that name and still sells well. What has Kerouac done for us lately?
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, published in 1973, showed Thompson to be the modern equivalent of H. L. Mencken. A must read for students of politics, this book explored the 1972 election cycle. The movie Where the Buffalo Roam was based partly on this book. If you aren't already cynical about politics, read this book.
Doctor Thompson took a look at the Clinton and Bush years, respectively, in the aptly named books Generation of Swine and The Kingdom of Fear. Thompson was an expert on both swine and fear in politics. Read these books with both your gun loaded and your bong loaded. When you buy any of Thompson's books from Barnes & Noble, pay cash so there will be no record of your purchase and keep the doors locked when you read them.
The saddest thing about the death of the man who invented gonzo journalism is that there is nobody to fill his shoes. The best political writers today use disturbing facts and they lack humor. They don't inspire you to live free. Instead, they make you want to commit suicide after you realize how horrible things really are.
The insipid clowns that call themselve "humorists" who spew the "common sense" line of the Republican Party or the "politically correct" line of the Democrat Party make me want to puke.
Writers like P. J. O'Rourke and Al Franken often come very close to telling the truth, but being ass-kissing political flunkies, they are too corrupted to know they are part of the sham themselves. Thompson could have whipped both their asses at the same time.