[FoRK] Gonzo Suicide
owen at permafrost.net
Mon Feb 21 04:00:36 PST 2005
I guess this should have been expected. Still sad though - I read his
last column on espn.com
> Author Hunter S. Thompson commits suicide
> Journalist penned 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'
> *(CNN) -- Journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson, who unleashed the
> concept of "gonzo journalism" in books like "Fear and Loathing in Las
> Vegas," fatally shot himself in the head Sunday at his home near
> Aspen, Colorado, police and his family said.*
> "On Feb. 20, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson took his life with a gunshot to
> the head at his fortified compound in Woody Creek, Colo.," said a
> statement issued by Thompson's son, Juan Thompson, to the Aspen Daily
> News as reported by the Denver Post.
> "The family will shortly provide more information about memorial
> service and media contacts. Hunter prized his privacy, and we ask that
> his friends and admirers respect that privacy as well as that of his
> A dispatcher for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Department confirmed
> Thompson's death.
> Thompson, 67, was associated with the "New Journalism" movement of the
> 1960s, in which writers took a more novelistic and personal approach
> to their subjects. His account of a drug-fueled trip to cover a
> district attorneys' anti-drug conference as a writer for Rolling Stone
> magazine was the seed of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," perhaps his
> best-known work.
> Subtitled "A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream," the
> 1971 book included his lament on the passing of the 1960s and its
> "sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil."
> "There was no point in fighting -- on our side or theirs," he wrote.
> "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 -- the place where the wave
> finally broke and rolled back."
> In "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," he described the
> campaign leading to Richard Nixon's re-election as president with
> terms like "brutal" and "depraved," speculating that Democratic Sen.
> Ed Muskie was under the influence of an obscure African psychoactive
> drug and bemoaned Nixon's looming victory by proclaiming, "Jesus,
> where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to
> become president?"
> Other works included "The Great Shark Hunt," a collection of
> Watergate-era essays; "Generation of Swine," his lament on the youth
> of the 1980s; and his account of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential win,
> "Better than Sex." His lone novel, "The Rum Diaries," was published in
> 1998, while a collection of letters, "The Proud Highway: The Saga of a
> Desperate Southern Gentleman," came out in 1997.
> In recent years, he wrote a column for the sports network ESPN's Web
> site. In his most recent piece, posted Feb. 15, he describes shooting
> at golf balls like skeet with a friend near his longtime home -- he
> called it "a fortified compound" -- outside Aspen.
> "The general reaction here is shock and dismay, because he was such a
> figure in town," Aspen resident John Hoag told CNN. Still, Hoag said,
> Thompson remained a private person. "The most news we heard from him
> was when a pack of dogs killed his peacock, Atillah, and he broke his
> leg in Hawaii last year."
> Thompson also was the model for the character of "Uncle Duke" in the
> "Doonesbury" comic strip. But Thompson strongly disliked the
> characterization, once telling an interviewer that he would set
> "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau on fire if the two ever met.
> In later years, however, Thompson said he had made peace with the
> "Uncle Duke" portrayal.
> "I got used to it a long time ago," he told Freezerbox magazine in
> 2003. "I used to be a little perturbed by it. It was a lot more
> personal ... It no longer bothers me."
> In 1980, actor Bill Murray portrayed Thompson in the film "Where the
> Buffalo Roam." And in 1998, the film "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"
> was released, based on Thompson's book and starring Johnny Depp as the
> journalist. A new film reportedly is in production based on Thompson's
> novel "The Rum Diaries."
> The writer himself, Hoag said, will be missed. "There's no one in the
> world these days who writes the truth ... as he seems to, to me," he
> said. "He spoke to the world and said what people were afraid to say."
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