Civilized Savage in the Mad World
Update: I was going through my archives and saw this post that I wrote in the first month of this blog and since it didn’t get too much recognition then, I wanted to repost it noticing one funny thing. The part where I describe The Rum Diary’s character fleeing ‘himself’ made me think (for some reason?) of my own trip to Amsterdam that will be happening in August. Well, enjoy!
“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.” A man I admire said that. You probably know him as Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or if you’re a true fan you know him as the man, the legend, the inventor of Gonzo Journalism, Hunter Stockton Thompson. He’s lived the life that most men dream of but don’t have the balls to lead. Sure, some may say he lived a child’s dream and he never really grewup, but I ask you this, “Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” If you claim the latter, I do not blame nor will ever understand your mentality, but if you’re courageous enough to understand and embrace a lifestyle of braving the storm and truly living, then I salute and tip my hat off to you.I wish I could say I’ve seen the latest bio about him called Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. HST but in fact I was kicked out of the theatre half way through the flick. Those fucking manky bastard security folks couldn’t take two couples and a friend drinking, smoking, rendezvousing, and having fun without being twats about it. I know it might seem rude to do that when there’re other people in the cinema, but in my defense, there were only 3 other people in the entire theatre, and it’s not like we were watching Madagascar, we were viewing a biography about the same man that joined theHell’s Angels just to write a book about them. Bah, it’s like telling people at Woodstock to not smoke ganja. From what I remember though, it was a decent film. I liked how they had Johnny Depp tell his bit about his time spent with the man.
Look at this, I’ve been blabbering on about Hunter S. and I haven’t even given him a true introduction to the folks that don’t know him or his works. I know you’ve seen Fear and Loathing in LV, which was based on his book, which was based on his experience in Las Vegas. But that’s not even close to the amount of insanity mixed with genius that went into the greatness of his life and works. His liberal views on politics; his anti-Nixon ramps; his running for Sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado; his years with the Hells Angels; his many non-fiction writings; his incredible novel entitled The Rum Diary; and of course his memorable funeral. From what I hear, he was a fantastic family man as well, but surely enough I lack the information to continue on this post discussing his family life. Though I will surely discuss the bunch of other shite he’s completed in his life that normal people don’t get to experience in 23 lifetimes.
The Rum Diary, a short novel written by him when he was only 22 and which I’ve read three times, is an incredible look at human nature. There is a quote in the book that I don’t recall word-by-word because I gave away my copy to a friend that’s not living in the country, but it was at a time when the main character, Paul, was moving from the States to San Juan, and when asked why he was leaving, his explanation really stuck in my mind. It surrounded the essential idea of just going and leaving his town, leaving all that old routine just behind, but really just fleeing from himself. There’s a powerful notion of trying to find the meaning of existence, but believing that the only way to do that is going out and experiencing it somewhere else… somewhere foreign. Nevertheless, there’s an ongoing drunk, loathsome, savage, and disgusting feel to the nature of this book which not only makes it a fun read, but it makes it a masterpiece. There’s been a talk of a movie to come out with Johnny Depp about this story, but as time goes on it seems like it’s never gonna happen.
What’s most appealing about Thompson, however, must be his true-heartedness and open sincerity. Even though he was a conniving selfish twat, he didn’t deny that fact, and though I see him as a portrayal of everything that’s wrong with humanity, I don’t criticize him for it, but just the opposite, I commemorate him. He had the balls to be real, while the rest of ‘us’ go around smiling like there’s nothing wrong and everyone and everything is so goddamn dandy, while in reality there’s shit in every which way you look.
Some would say HST committed suicide at age 67, while skeptics claim the government had a hand in his death. Either way, a great man died on February 20, 2005 at his fortified compound in Woody Creek, Colorado at 5:42pm. To be utterly frank, I wouldn’t expect any other type of death for him other than suicide. He lived how he wanted, and he chose to die how he wanted. The words ‘control freak’ come to mind.
My next bottle of Havana Club goes out to him… RIP Hunter S.