Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Observations on a violent end

HST Warhol
Originally uploaded by alflamont.
Hunter Thompson put a bullet in his skull this previous Sunday. I’ve been wondering how long it would take me to get this out. I consider my blog to be an ego-trip. The sad assumption that anyone cares to read it isn’t what keeps me writing in it, but rather the queer therapy that throwing my minced words, and my bizarre life out into the ether for the enjoyment, analysis, and scorn of anyone. When the news of his death reached me, I was away from my home doing things that would make my mother worry.

It’s almost embarrassing what fans of HST will say and do. There are hundreds of websites dedicated to him, and the amount of wannabes who believe that excess will lead to a career in journalism is a real tragedy. His followers will grin when he burns them with a cigarette, and they thrill to obscenity and tales of VD. For a huge group of people he’s become the druggie’s Boba Fett.
An outsider to outsiders.
Unfortunately, outsiders have a desperate need for validation. HST seemingly never sought that. He was a monster , a madman, and his life seemed a tribute to the ability to live hard and outside of the confines of a society which continues to alienate more and more. To those that felt like many rules did not apply he was the validation of all their suspicions. I wager the good doctor didn’t necessarily appreciate or understand that. Not that he needed to. But the adulation of him by freak nation was important to those of us who he inspired to be unapologetic. His old friend Ralph Steadman, his son Juan, and those who knew him best all seem to be more understanding than I. They all say that it was premeditated, a matter of when, not if. To them it makes more sense. To me it left the famed Fear and Loathing.

What the hell am I bound to do? Are all high-powered mutants doomed to a bullet through the skull? Was it his doom or his choice? To go out in a bang? A bloody, meaty, crimson stain on the collective shirt and tie? A reminder that such Idealism will always be pinned to despair, the inevitable companion of all our heroes.

I’ve been in a spiral for the last few days. An uneasy feeling that perhaps I mistook Hunter for something that he was not. Hemmingway always struck me as a bit of a mook for offing himself, but HST was no mook. No, his remains will be shot out of a cannon, no sepulchre for fat boys wearing aviators to get drunk at, no bust to be decorated and splattered by hordes of unoriginal adulators. In the end Thompson proved he was an individual. Beholden to no one, especially the geeks who made him the icon. As the end came for Hunter, he reminded me specifically why he was important. The raw and unabashed personality that he threw and individualism that he stood for. The sense of Hope,and right against the forces of old and evil, are attached to no movement, no party, and no group of nerdy fans, for the true individual even death must be on his terms. Damn Thompson for the ugly lesson, and damn him for knowing what to do.

"I would feel real trapped in this life if I didn't know I could commit suicide at any time." -HST

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