Published March 11, 2005
Our Shaman has Gone Away
By Jeremy Hogan
Somewhere between the Barstow and hell, three universes past the back of the darkest recess of my imagination, I turned on the computer and read today that the doctor is dead. The shock began to take effect…and I turned on the TV as some Jesus freak hell bent on bombing people into freedom declared and declared on CNN.
I don’t agree with suicide, but I understand what might have led him to take his final trip.
It doesn’t take much to figure out that on the other side of his brilliant, to the point political and sociological analysis and off the wall funny writing was of a deeply self-destructive subconscious. But, any human with the insight of Hunter is going to feel the pain of half the world living on two dollars per day, slave child labor used to make our products, 30,000 children under the age of five dying each day from conditions that could be avoided with just a fraction of the money being spent on bombing Iraq – anyone who would think this is OK would be a smug bastard and smug bastards are who Hunter clearly disliked – just read his writing.
What is evident, however, is that truth and freedom and dissent are what our country was founded on and what has made the great aspects of it truly great. And there seem to be precious few contemporary voices outspoken enough to tell the truth as they see it no matter who it pisses off. Hunter used the beauty of the poetic form of literature with the techniques of a journalist to tell his version of the truth as he saw it and we are all the better for it.
In the Spirit of Bukowski, Burroughs, Megas, Dylan
By Michael Dean Odin Pollock
Draggin’ my watermelon head off the couch on a Monday in Smokey Bay. Gawd I was born on a Monday, the telephones ringin’ I pick it up. Hunter Thompson is dead, blew himself away last night. Damn, wait a minute, I feel like I been bitch slapped, what the hell is this? I was thinkin’ about it, but he did it. Feck. Hunter take the bullet on the battlefield but by yr own hand. Did he or didn’t he? I don’t know. I was thinkin’ about it, surprised. I would feel this way like a brother gone down.
Tempted as I am, Hunter, I cannot, will not play into THEIR hands & blow myself away I will gladly be chopped down on the battlefield or taken by nature’s hand but damn Hunter, coming down pistol at hand. Who knows? We don’t know anything.
Hunter S. Thompson, Kentucky Colonel
By Ron Whitehead
My friend Gene Williams and I sold Hunter’s books, we sold the first Rolling Stone magazines in the underground bookstore, For Madmen Only, and in the head shop, The Store, we operated on South Limestone in Lexington, Kentucky. I never dreamed I’d eventually work with Hunter and with members of The Beat Generation: Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Herbert Huncke and others. Their works changed my life.
Hunter shot himself. He died in his kitchen in his cabin at Owl Farm Woody Creek Colorado. I took my children to visit him. He loved young people. He loved his family. I drank and did drugs with him. We watched basketball. One night, years ago, in early May my son Nathanial and I arrived, driving 24 hours non-stop from Kentucky, just in time to watch the NBA playoffs with Hunter. Don Johnson called several times wanting us to come over. Kentuckian Rex Chapman was playing for the Phoenix Suns. The Suns were down by nine points with one minute to go in the game. I looked at Hunter and said I’ll bet you that Rex will hit three threes and tie the game, that the Suns will win by one point in three overtimes. Hunter looked at me and laughed. Rex hit three threes and tied the game. But Phoenix lost in three overtimes, by one point. I got damn close. Hunter paid closer attention to me after that.
I had the honor of producing The Hunter S. Thompson Tribute in Louisville, Kentucky, in December 1996. We had a sold-out, standing room audience of over 2,000. I brought in Hunter, his mom Virginia, his son Juan, the sheriff of Pitkin County, Johnny Depp, Warren Zevon, and many more. The mayor gave Hunter the keys to the city. The governor named Hunter, Johnny, Warren and me Kentucky Colonels.
Hunter is one of America’s and one of the world’s greatest writers. He stands shoulder to shoulder with Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, all five America’s best prose writers, bar none.