First Warren Zevon, now this...
Hunter Thompson committed suicide today. Unfortunately, I can't say that I ever met the man. I've read almost all of his books, and caught his recent articles on espn.com.
As I read his final article last week, a typical offering about calling Bill Murray in the middle of the night about designing a new game that combined shooting and golf, I thought to myself that in this most horrible of times, in this cesspool of a country, where the will of the masses is being trampled by Bible-waving, redneck sheepfuckers in Red states, at least I can count on something. At least Hunter's still got it.
Is this the end of all hope as we know it? Did Armageddon not mention four horsemen, but rather a chemical-tinged scribe biting the dust by his own hand, that ushers in the end of the world? As the lemmings in America bumrush to the edge of that cliff like a Depression-era bank run, the wreckage of 9/11 behind them and fading in the distance, the carrion-like smell of rotting soldier's corpses from a needless war lining their path, with a cocaine-addled fratboy leading them, rattling the Ten Commandments in one hand and a tattered flag in the other, it is the duty of those people still left in America with a conscience to celebrate the pioneering spirit of the American Outlaw that Thompson represented to the literary community. Instead, all we get is an acceptance of voter theft, surveillance of our every move on highways both of information and automobiles and a blank check for big business to poison us all slowly, like an IV drip of Jonestown Kool-Aid.
Thompson represented the last of the writers influenced by the Beats, celebrating a time on America when you could jump in a car and drive the long, dusty, undeveloped highways, the wind in your hair, a drink in your hand and only the faintest notion of a destination. It was a time when only J. Edgar Hoover's FBI had you under surveillance and only then if you were a rabble-rouser, rather than every paranoid Christian freak on the street. There were no cameras at intersections, there were no Wal-Marts polluting the landscape and the signs hanging over businesses in any town were either neon or hand-painted. Hunter Thompson putting a bullet in his head is the ultimate sign that America can never hope to recapture the freewheeling spirit that it still futilely markets to the rest of the world. America is officially lost in a morass of gun violence, depravity and false gods in cheap suits. There is nothing left to conquer in this country. There is no hope for a brighter tomorrow on the other side of the hill. Manifest Destiny is just a buzzword for that cliff that the lemmings climb a little more every day. Goodbye America. It was fun while it lasted.