“That power of conviction is a hard thing for any writer to sustain, and especially so once he becomes aware of it. …
It is not just a writer’s crisis, but they are the most obvious victims because the function of art is supposedly to bring order out of chaos, a tall order even when the chaos is static, and a superhuman task in a time when chaos is multiplying.”
Hunter S. Thompson, “What lured Hemingway to Ketchum?”
I was surprised at how affected I was at this news, seeing it on the front page of the newspaper this morning. HST inspired me to do many crazy things as a young man, and inspired me to write. He revealed the man behind the curtain in the sausage factory which passes for journalism in NorthAm. For the last decade he has been a puppet show, yet a potent reminder at how irrelevant journalism has become, a plastic shell which seems to convey information, like settling for the mask is enough.
At some point over the last 30 years, journalism became divorced from writing, and in the last five years, as the chaos has increased, become even more meaningless. There’s plenty of information, but no writing, no insight, no meaning.
Saying journalism has lost something is like saying soap operas lost a talent when Brando died or what jingle writers lost with Warren Zevon. But at least there is still the writing.
We have ways to make you talk /
You won’t like at all /
If you can’t run, walk /
If you can’t walk crawl /
But don’t look down /
It’s a long fall /
– You’re A Whole Different Person When You’re Scared (written by Warren Zevon & Hunter S. Thompson)