Pilkerton's Prognostications

This blog contains some of my past articles for the school newspaper and other musings I feel like posting. Beware liberals!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The death of the American Dream


"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."
-Dr. Johnson

As I was getting ready for bed last Sunday, I turned on Sportscenter only to see a breaking news piece that espn.com columnist and literary giant, Hunter S. Thompson had killed himself at his home outside of Aspen, Colorado. Upon hearing the news I cursed the Great Magnet for taking the man that has played a major role in shaping my writing and political zeal.
Hunter Stockton Thompson was 67 years old when he took his life using his favorite .45.
Best known for writing the cult classic 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', which was made in to a feature film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro, Thompson was much more than the drug-fuelled criminal portrayed in his most popular work.
Thompson's passions were sports and politics, which he often blended together in his 'Page 2' column on ESPN.
com. Most of Thompson's work focused on the political culture in America from the 70's to the present. His book 'The Great Shark Hunt', which dealt with Nixon era politics was what hooked this particular columnist in to pursuing a career in political journalism.
While Thompson exposed and even reveled in the underside of American culture, he created a new style of journalism in which the author was a vital part of the story. As the story goes, T h o m p s o n was covering the Kentucky Derby and his story turned out being about the gross depravity he witnessed surrounding the event. This was the birth of the socalled 'gonzo' journalism.
While Thompson never shied away from showing up for a story ripped and stoned, he had a natural talent for writing that allowed him to see through a story and get the sometimes ugly and twisted truth.
Hunter Thompson was never sorry for anything he wrote, he called things as he saw them and lived at a speed that few of us could ever properly operate at. The man lived a life that should have killed him several times over and much like William S. Burroughs, the Great Magnet kept the world's karma in balance by keeping the good Doctor around this long. Thompson was almost prophetic in his musings concerning the lives of Americans and the path this country and the world are heading down.
We could always trust the Dr. to let us know what was really happening in the world: no glossing over things or being a slave to political correctness, the world is ugly and you need to realize this in order to properly exert your will in life.
Perhaps the last literary giant in the mold of the beatniks to depart us, Thompson would have made those before him like Kerouac, Ginsburg, and Burroughs proud. He was always in search of the 'American Dream' and this search for truth is what defined a man whom the world will miss. We owe the Doctor a thank you for teaching us that what is weird is what is real and life is more fucked up than fiction can imagine. He was fond of saying, 'when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.' The man lived life as it should be lived, at full speed.
I doubt this world could have handled any more Hunter Thompson and the Great Magnet needed a sacrifice so he took a good one. He may have been a handful to his editors and bosses, but he was a professional in the end, the stories of him making 4 a.m. phone calls to frantic editors are legendary and his deadline pushing is infamous, but whatever the consequences, he got the job done.
He worked on campaign trails, for Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and the US Air Force and a million publications in between. He was a force in writing and a booming voice for the consciousness of America. He was the American dream. 'There he goes, one of God's own prototypes, a high powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, too rare to die' The world is a darker place now; we've lost an ally and protector. So here's to Dr.
Gonzo, his voice of truth will be missed in this world where bullshit reigns supreme. We must carry on his search for the American dream, his message of freedom and thirst for life, because, after all, we are professionals.


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