Adam Ash

Your daily entertainment scout. Whatever is happening out there, you'll find the best writing about it in here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

On the fact of Hunter Thompson's suicide

A numb fan writes (via Splinters):
"I read an article a few years ago, that I haven’t seen cited in the obituaries yet, wherein it’s stated that Thompson’s body was pretty much packing up on him. His stomach was having problems with toxic substances like, um, food, and his diet was mostly liquid, mashed avocado and yoghurt. He’d spent time in a wheelchair in recent years. His drug use had always been exaggerated for comedic effect, but, at 67, he’d been hammering his body in a committed way for some 50 years. There’s a fair chance he was looking at years of dependency, chronic illness, and listening to his own body die by inches.

"He used and re-used the last line from A FAREWELL TO ARMS, over and over: “I walked back to the hotel in the rain.” Legend has it that he retyped a Hemingway novel to understand how the writer got his effects.

"Hemingway, of course, shot himself in the head. Old and sick and unable to live up to his own ideas on manhood.

"I always thought it peculiarly apt that the man who wrote that line, whose work was all about keeping the expression of human feeling underneath the surface, sat somewhere quiet and alone and put a shotgun in his mouth.

"Hunter Thompson waited until his young wife left the house, and then shot himself in the head with a pistol. He must have been quite aware that either she, or his son, there in the house with his grandson, would find his corpse. Dead bodies don’t lay neatly. They splay, spastic and awful. There is often shit.

"And the numbness, in part, comes from now finding that he was the kind of man that’d let his family find him like that. I have a personal loathing for suicide. It’s stupid and selfish and ugly and cowardly and reeks of weakness. Someone said to me yesterday about Thompson, “What a ripoff.” And I kind of know what he meant. It’s become convenient to write Thompson off as parody in recent years, and there’s a case to be made that he peaked around the age of 36, with FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL ‘72. Probably his great work of the last twenty years was in Being Hunter Thompson. In performance.

"But how you leave the stage is at least as important as how you enter it. And he left it alone in a kitchen with a .45, dying in –- and wouldn’t it be nice if it were the last time these words were typed together? -– dying in fear, and loathing."

I don't know much about suicide myself, but having once been clinically depressed for two years, and not having felt like suicide then, although I would've welcomed being murdered, I can say this: nobody has any idea how bad anyone must feel to snuff themselves. Cast no stones where your glasshouse can't follow. R.I.P. Hunter. I hope you had one last rush as you died.


At 2/23/2005 1:19 PM, Blogger wangateur said...

I will miss him ... BIG HUG for Juan, Jen, Willam and Anita… who will never be able to fill the hole left in there lives by the man in spite of the myth and legend attached to his life..

I am a long time friend of Juan we went to the Aspen Community School together I have been using the blogs to try to send a message of love to him and the family but I know he is totally swamped because of the media attention at Owl farm and we need to let him know that we care for Him, Anita and the whole family in this time of tragedy while respecting his privacy

Let's see if we can get the word out ...
He was first the MAN….
He became the myth and legend
To me he was several people.
He was my best friend’s dad although he always called his dad Hunter
(At Juan’s wedding he said to a friend about me “Look there’s another little bastard I raised that turned out OK”)
He was Hunter S. Thompson retiring shy southerner who loved guns and his freedom
He was the Dr. Gonzo who we all know who would be in your face and try to kill you if you attempted to try to take away his guns, drugs, freedom, privacy and the god given right to go into an explosive tirade about it.

To be such a person required him to have a unique emotional support structure. These people now need our support, love and understanding in this time of grief.

Bradley Laboe

At 2/23/2005 3:21 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Thank you, Bradley. We're honored to have your words here. Evert


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