Born in Louisville, Ky., in 1937, Hunter S.Thompson was one of the greatest writers to ever put meaningful words to paper. He was brutally honest, bitterly cynical and brilliantly accurate. He once described America as "a long plastic hallway where pimps and thieves run free and good men die like dogs. There is also a negative side."
In his book GENERATION OF SWINE, Thompson described heaven as "a place where the swine will be sorted out at the gate and sent off like rats, with huge welts and lumps and puncture wounds all over their bodies -- down the long black chute where ugliness rolls over you every 10 or 16 minutes like waves of boiling asphalt and poison scum, followed by sergeants and lawyers and crooked cops waving rule books; and where nobody laughs and everybody lies and the days drag on like dead animals and the nights are full of whores and junkies clawing at your windows and tax men jamming writs under your door and the screams of the doomed coming up through the air shaft along with white cockroaches and red stringworms full of AIDS and bursts of foul gas with no sunrise and the morning streets full of preachers begging for money and fondling themselves with gangs of fat young boys trailing after them."
Thompson studied journalism at Columbia University and began his writing career in the military as editor of the Eglin Air Force Base newspaper. In 1959, he became a Caribbean correspondent for The New York Herald Tribune and later spent two years in South America as a correspondent for the National Review.
Years later, as he was writing a story about the Kentucky Derby for Scanlan's magazine, he was up against a deadline that he couldn't meet so he jerked pages out of his notebook, numbered them and faxed them to the publisher, convinced it would be the last story he would ever write.
"Buy the ticket, take the ride."
Instead, gonzo journalism was born.
Gonzo journalism is a highly subjective and personal form of reporting, characterized by exaggeration and sarcasm. Fact disguised as fiction. The stories are basically true but driven home by outrageous observations.
Thompson was a literary giant in a world gone mad. The day after President Kennedy was assassinated he wrote, "The savage nuts have shattered the great myth of American decency... I mean to come down from the hills and enter the fray." He went on to describe the "fear and loathing" that had engulfed him and vowed to henceforth vent his journalistic rage against the perpetual tide of injustice regardless of the consequences.
His contempt for politicians was legendary, characterizing them as "mainly dull people with corrupt instincts and criminal children." He called Richard Nixon "a swine of a man," Sen. Hubert Humphrey "a shallow, contemptible and hopelessly dishonest old hack" and Sen. Ed Muskie "a vicious 200-pound water rat." He dubbed Bill Clinton "a white-trash hillbilly" and referred to boy George Bush as "a treacherous little freak."
From Thompson's perspective, reality was a daunting existence of inequity and horror. "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me," he once said in an interview.
He was the king of gonzo journalism. His beat was the death of the American dream and he was clearly in deep torment about the subject. For him, the American dream had faded so far beyond the horizon that drugs and alcohol could no longer blot it out, and there wasn't enough insanity left in him to overcome the anguish.
On February 20, 2005, Hunter S. Thompson put the barrel of a .45 handgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger, then lingered at the gates of heaven, waiting to be sorted out from the swine.
But fear and loathing still permeate the long plastic hallway of America.
Thompson left no suicide note. His latest project was an expose on 9/11 (potentially the most important thing he would ever write, linking the government to the tragedy). He was on the phone with his wife, Anita, while his son was in another room at the time of his death. Later in interviews, Anita said she heard a muffled thud sound and was waiting for him to get back on the phone. His son said he believed a book had fallen when he heard the shot -- certainly not the sound of a .45 caliber handgun.
To add mystery to the mystery, Deputy Ron Ryan noted at the scene that the Smith & Wesson .45 found next to Thompson's body had 6 bullets left in the clip but there was no bullet in the firing chamber, as there should have been under normal circumstances. When one bullet is fired, the next bullet in the clip advances into the firing chamber. A spent shell casing was found nearby and a spent slug was found in the stove hood behind the body.
The conspiracy to silence Hunter S. Thompson also leads down the some very diabolical paths, which he may have also been investigating.
One path leads to Bohemian Grove, a satanic summer camp for rich, powerful global leaders located in a secluded area near Sacramento, California. Activities include mock human sacrifices made before a giant owl statue called Moloch, by neo-pagans in druid robes. This satanic ritual is called "The Cremation of Care." Moloch is a demon that requires human sacrifice, also referred to as the Prince of Hell.
Another path leads to a gay prostitute named Jeff Gannon (a.k.a. Johnny Gosch, a.k.a. James Dale Guckert) and a homo-pedophilia ring involved in high levels of the Bush administration. If you dig deep enough, you come across MK-Ultra, the Monarch Project, Lawrence King, boy prostitutes, snuff films, etc. Many spooks in high places want to keep a lid on such nefarious activity.
Fear and loathing abounds where good men die like dogs.
Quote for the Day -- "If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up." Hunter S. Thompson
Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where fear is optional but loathing cannot be contained. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111