Thursday, February 24, 2005
"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy." - Edwin W. Edwards
In the same month the planet gets to know the 'journalist' James/Jeff Guckert/Gannon, Hunter S. Thompson decides to make The Big Bit-Spit and eject from the planet. This could be sacrilege, and I hope his family will forgive me, but there is something wretchedly fitting in the confluence. Thompson, the acerbic counterculture writer who popularized a new form of journalism in books like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, fatally shot himself Sunday, Feb. 20, 2005, at his Aspen-area home, his son said. He was 67.
Hunter was a drunk and a drug-sucker. He would go to cover an event and slather himself with LSD. He went to the '72 GOP convention as a wild-eyed liberal and elbowed his way into the activist bullpen, grabbing a sign reading 'Garbage Men Demand Equal Pay' before charging the floor with the Nixon-shouters to howl "Four More Years!" at John Chancellor. He wanted to write about motorcycle gangs, so he went out and joined the worst of them, and got his ass stomped in. And wrote about it.
Hunter Thompson is the reason I write politics. Period. He was the most honest man in the business. Everyone else had and has an angle, a reputation, or a source to protect. Hunter stripped it down to the raw throbbing nerve and let it fly. How is this for prose:"How many more of these goddam elections are we going to have to write off as lame but 'regrettably necessary' holding actions? And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils? I understand, along with a lot of other people, that the big thing, this year, is Beating Nixon. But that was also the big thing, as I recall, twelve years ago in 1960 - and as far as I can tell, we've gone from bad to worse to rotten since then, and the outlook is for more of the same."