I already tried using Hunter as a role model. I read all his work while I was in high school, and I was inspired to get a degree in journalism. I was convinced Gonzo Journalism was a thing. I took a job at a newspaper in a Rocky Mountain ski town, I started a column to vent my carefully cultivated anti-authoritarianism, and I found a bar stool to call my office.
It turned out to not be a good idea. I’m glad I was young enough to reverse course when it became obvious that Thompson was headed full steam ahead onto the shoals.
I’m not sure I’d want life coach tips from someone who ended his own. Don’t get me wrong—the guy was a juggernaut of creative energy during his peak and the world is a far more interesting place for having had him—but by all accounts he burned out his brain with chemicals, endangered countless innocent lives with his behavior, alienated most of the people he ever cared about, and ultimately couldn’t stand his own continued existence.
I remain a fan of his work but I wouldn’t trade my life for his.
Around the world something like a billion people take life coaching from accounts of the life of someone who did the equivalent of march up to the authorities and announce that they were all going to Hell in a handbasket, and he was going to foment revolution. Not directly suicidal but he died as a direct result in his early 30s.
It doesn’t disprove your observations about Thompson, but reminds us that a lot of people disagree with your first observation. “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church”.
What he says mostly makes a lot of sense to me, but as such it does not strike me as particularly revelatory.
Subnormality (sweet, sweet Subnormality) covered much of the same subject matter here in amusing textwall form.
But a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
Seems to me that’s pretty inevitable.
Stochastics. Probabilities. Multiple-choice questions. etc.
In his younger years, Thompson could write.
Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs should be required reading for American Studies.
BRAVO!!! In tears, I humbly exclaim, THANK YOU, MR. FRAUENFELDER! Great post.
agree that it’s his best (well, I haven’t read all his books, but, yeah.)
the bit about the Angels who pull up and tell the service station owner they’re going to commandeer his garage to work on their bikes; he leaves for the day, figuring he doesn’t have any real say in the matter; comes back the following morning, expecting they’ve burned the sucker down; finds every tool has been cleaned with gasoline and an extra twenty bucks in the register–I love that bit.
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