Sunday, February 20, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson is dead

One of my heroes, an American icon if ever there was one, Hunter S. Thompson is dead. His body was found by his son Juan at their Colorado compound after he shot himself tonight. Thompson is the father of "Gonzo journalism" which I consider to be something of a precursor to blogging journalism. Bloggers make themselves part of the story, so I feel that we may have something in common. Thompson is also the inspiration for reporter "Uncle Duke" in the Doonesbury comic strip. Even though he was a journalist, he never really wrote journalism-type stories. He was more apt to save scraps of paper or tapes to write a novel about his experiences. He wrote an insightful book about the Hell's Angels after spending a year riding with them, The Rum Diaries about his experiences in Puerto Rico, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 about the 1972 presidential race and perhaps his best known book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas about his drug-induced reporting style. That book was turned into a major Hollywood movie starring Johnny Depp and which Thompson consulted on. The red convertible at the beginning is actually his car. I can tell you that many of us who were inspired to write about what we know will miss him terribly. Like I said, he's an American icon and those of us who take to heart his message of writing what you feel and feeling what you write, and understand the true history of America because of his honesty and clever use of fiction where it applied will some day raise a statue in his honor.

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