Wednesday, July 18, 2012



By Doc Lawrence

He was born in Louisville Kentucky on this day in 1937. I still miss the guy years after he “checked out” at his Colorado compound.  I have the memorial edition of the Rolling Stanes tribute edition framed, prominently displayed on a wall near the keyboard as a daily kick in the pants reminder of what a journalist can and should do in today’s world where nitwits discuss government, the economy, lifestyles and sports. Thompson would have these bottom feeders with his morning Wheaties.  The pioneer of  "gonzo journalism," where, according to Garrison Keillor, the journalist “usually ends up being part of the story he's researching, and the story is told through his eyes. There's usually profanity, sarcasm, and exaggeration so that the line between journalism and fiction becomes blurred.”  Thompson, in a Rolling Stone interview admitted as much: "If I'd written the truth I knew for the past 10 years, about 600 people — including me — would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

Hunter S. Thompson was irreverent, ferociously independent, outrageous, insightful, hilarious and disarmingly honest. His defects were front and center in all I’ve ever read by him. He remains supremely quotable: “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas , Thompson quotes Samuel Johnson: "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

Two books on my shelf are treasures, particularly when I find my little world invaded by mindless talking heads doing weather, exposes or covering presidential elections. TheProud Highway: Saga of a Desparate Southern Gentleman, edited by Douglas Brinkley, and Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odessy of an Outlaw Journalist, edited by Dougla Brinkley and David Halbestram. Read a few of these letters when you’ve had enough. Laughter rejuvenates the troubled soul

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