by Gabrielle Price
This morning, a good friend of mine – one helluva Marine – sent me a link to check out. He always sends me anything to do with Hunter S. Thompson as we are both fans [only one of us takes that a little far…though, I’ve read that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery]. I suppose it is a bit different for a woman to have such an affinity for a man known for womanizing, boozing and doping it up.
But Hunter was so much more than his carnal instincts – much more than most would perceive from a movie based on his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He was a patriot, a serious lover of freedom and the constitution, and one of the best writers, and I believe commentators of a moment in time because of his higher instincts. He was poised at the edge of a political world on the verge of losing it’s ever-loving mind. He was passionate. And sometimes that passion was mistaken for hatred, or anger – though, he had plenty of reasons to be angry – like the rest of us. I think that’s why he always resonated with me. He was able to say, without apology, how he felt about what he saw happening to this country…and he purged his disgust and anger in a way that made me feel relieved afterward. He said it for me – I didn’t have to – and ladies don’t talk like that, dont’cha know?
I come from a family that has its roots in both Virginia and Kentucky [where HST hailed from]. Hunter’s colorful language and flair for humorous descriptions and people, made his writing feel as if I had just sat on the front porch with him and spun yarns over a few beers. I’ve been told for years that when I am angry, a bit of a southern drawl creeps in and that my writing style can only be described as Gonzo. I never really embraced that until after he was gone and I began writing during the “stolen term” of the Bush Administration. 9/11 was a very hard time for a lot of people and Hunter spoke a lot about this. It was really hard for me to see him go in 2005…but there was no need for me to ‘go Gonzo’ when his work was there for all to read. I thought, who the fuck was I to pick up that baton? There are other journos out there telling it like it is – maybe even humorous Kentucky colonels covering politics?
Turned out, not so much…but I often imagined what he might say even though I lacked a few colors from his marvelous verbal palette.
Even in 2005, I was terribly naive about a lot of things that he wrote about [i.e. foreign policy, militarism] and I had some learning to do. LOTS of research if I was going to have the audacity to put those hat and glasses on.
By 2008, when Bush was finally leaving – politics got more personal and just uglier than hell. I understood more and more…but I didn’t write often about issues when I worked on my music project. THEN the BP oil spill happened and I got fired up again. Then I learned about peak oil and sat my ass right back down to study. Nowadays, I see the political landscape from a safe distance [for my health and to maintain any friendships…agreeing to disagree doesn’t happen like it used to] and I wonder what Doc would have to say about this whole mess.
Then I figure he kinda already did say everything he wanted to say [or could say] about what he knew and saw and got the fuck out while the getting was good. Wish he could have been here to see Occupy…
I’ve had days where I thought I was going to be done with writing altogether in these last few weeks…just ready to chuck it all in. Trying to figure out how the hell to share peak oil information that would make grown men with muscle cars weep in a puddle of piss, and make Ikea shoppers go to addiction groups to deal with never being able to buy Swiss-modern petroleum based plastic everything from cups to shitty wall art. Like Tyler Durden said, “Martha Stewart is polishing brass on the Titanic…it’s going down, man.”
I thought about this recent media trip, Occupy Fear and Loathing – which ended up nothing at all like what was intended; loss of footage, a camera, several missed interviews, didn’t get home for Christmas, a piece of shit truck with no stereo, a nightmare of a travel partner who couldn’t even pump gas who left me stranded in Phoenix…and who still has my documentary footage.
I wondered what the fuck point is there in writing about the trip or anything at all. And just when I thought I couldn’t stand to read another link…
We come back to this morning’s message with this link that was shared with me. A report from the Los Angeles Review of Books, called “Love, Boxing and Hunter S. Thompson.” In the beginning of the report is a synopsis where one of the authors mentions two books – for my purposes, I will mention only the one – and thank the author and my friend from the bottom of my Gonzo heart.
Tom Lutz – “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas […] colossal failure of mission, spectacular performance of the art of being sidetracked, of being shanghaied by errant attention, or, perhaps, [a] perfect example of the way art is, at its best, a perversion, a turning away from more straightforward intentions.”
Ho ho! Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.
Rest in peace, Doc. I got this.
“I shared a vagrant optimism that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles — a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other — that kept me going.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson / The Rum Diary (1993)
Occupy your fear.
Then let it go.