Thursday, February 24, 2005

Gonzo From The Grave

There's been a lot of articles about Hunter S. Thompson since he croaked himself last week. I'm a big HST (both of 'em!) fan, so I rounded up a few for you.

From Democracy Now, an obit and interview with HST on Bush, Iraq, and where our nation is headed:
HUNTER S. THOMPSON: That's the answer, I think, for your question is why is the public buying into it. Another reason is that the fear which I -- that's why I tried to address or at least rave about in the book. Fear is an unhealthy condition, living in fear. And as we clearly have been for two years now, it makes the population more obedient, particularly if they're willing to give up their freedom for security. More obedient, more easier to control, and it's, well, it is very much like Nazi Germany.

Remember the old good German syndrome?

We used to ridicule it, the good Germans who just went along with it because that's what the Fuehrer wanted.

And much, much more. Good article.

The Nation reprises a 1965 article: "The Motorcycle Gangs: Losers and Outsiders"
Ever since World War II, California has been strangely plagued by wild men on motorcycles. They usually travel in groups of ten to thirty, booming along the highways and stopping here are there to get drunk and raise hell. In 1947, hundreds of them ran amok in the town of Hollister, an hour's fast drive south of San Francisco, and got enough press to inspire a film called The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando. The film had a massive effect on thousands of young California motorcycle buffs; in many ways, it was their version of The Sun Also Rises.

The California climate is perfect for motorcycles, as well as surfboards, swimming pools and convertibles. Most of the cyclists are harmless weekend types, members of the American Motorcycle Association, and no more dangerous than skiers or skin divers. But a few belong to what the others call "outlaw clubs," and these are the ones who--especially on weekends and holidays--are likely to turn up almost anywhere in the state, looking for action. Despite everything the psychiatrists and Freudian casuists have to say about them, they are tough, mean and potentially as dangerous as a pack of wild boar. When push comes to shove, any leather fetishes or inadequacy feelings that may be involved are entirely beside the point, as anyone who has ever tangled with these boys will sadly testify. When you get in an argument with a group of outlaw motorcyclists, you can generally count your chances of emerging unmaimed by the number of heavy-handed allies you can muster in the time it takes to smash a beer bottle. In this league, sportsmanship is for old liberals and young fools (Is he talking about Dems v. Reps? - ed.). "I smashed his face," one of them said to me of a man he'd never seen until the swinging started. "He got wise. He called me a punk. He must have been stupid."

Good article, but not terribly accurate, at least to this California wild motorcycle man. It led to HST writing his book about the Hell's Angels.

Reminiscences of HST by several people, including Sonny Barger and Rosalynn Carter, in Salon. You may need a free site pass.
Sonny Barger, Hell's Angel:But as time went by, Hunter turned out to be a real weenie and a stone fucking coward. You read about he walks around his house now with pistols, shooting them out of his windows to impress writers who show up to interview him. He’s all show and no go. When he tried to act tough with us, no matter what happened, Hunter Thompson got scared. I ended up not liking him at all, a tall skinny, typical hillbilly from Kentucky. He was a total fake. Hunter got along with some of the members better than me.

Ben Fong-Torres, journalist:There, the last sight I remembered was Hunter, in Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts, carrying a case of Roman candles in his left arm. With his right hand, he was trying to light a match, so that, in the darkness, he could read the directions on the box.

Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady: What we did not know at the time was that writer Hunter Thompson, who was visiting that day, was captivated by what Jimmy said. He had been sitting in the back of the audience, quietly sipping Wild Turkey bourbon disguised as iced tea.

Fucker got around, didn't he?

An article in the Globe and Mail about soaring sales of HST's books since his death? (Good career move?-ed.)

A buncha good links at TalkLeft.

I can't find HST's website today. It may have been taken down or whatever. If you are interested, here's one run by an HST aficionado.

Thompson just entertained the shit out of me over the years. He made me laugh. He made me cry. He made me think. He scared the shit out of me at times. We need another one like him. Adios, amigo.