Wednesday , July 24 2024

Blogcritics On Hunter S. Thompson: Lost Gonzo

I am stunned and deeply saddened, but no one should be shocked that Hunter S. Thompson took his own life Sunday night with a gunshot at his Woody Creek, Colorado home.

What do you think “gonzo” means? It means fueled by adrenaline, drugs, riding an idea out until it dead-ends or flames out, it means writing and living with wreckless abandon, it means hoping you die before you get old – give or take a decade or two. It means Hunter S. Thompson alive, married, and writing for ESPN is just too weird to be true – and now it isn’t.

My 17 year-old son — exactly my age when the series began in ’75 — and I watched the two-hour special about the first five years of Saturday Night Live last night and that show did to television what Thompson did to writing: they used themselves and their experiences as the foundation of both narrative and a platform for biting, often slashing social commentary riding the rodeo bull of wired experience until the bell rang. This was very cool for those experiencing the fruits of this labor, and was surely a trip for those who lived it, but for some the bell never rang and they didn’t survive. When you live on the edge, odds are some are going to fall off.

I wonder if Thompson watched this show last night, and if so what affect did it have on him? Recall that SNL’s Bill Murray played Thompson in Where the Buffalo Roam. Who else has had both Murray and Johnny Depp (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) play them in film?

Of the most notorious celebrants of the la vida loca from the ’60s and ’70s, probably only Keith Richards’s longevity is a greater surprise than Thompson’s, and now Keith has no competition at all.

Thompson speaks for himself, here and here.

We have a wealth of thinking on the life and art of Hunter S. Thompson from both before and after the end:

Ashes to Ashes: Saying Good-bye to Hunter S. Thompson and Peter Jennings
I remember my father’s two-year transition into the world of respectability. He was promoted from beat-cop to detective. He quit smoking and drinking and bought some new suits. He did it for the family. We needed the money…
Posted to Culture by Eyebrow Esquire on August 20, 2005 06:01 AM

Thoughts on Hunter Thompson’s funeral
You fucker, you won. You went out on your own terms. How you did it, to me, was bullshit. With your son and grandson in the other room and your wife on the phone? What kind…
Posted to Culture by Lono on August 18, 2005 04:04 AM

Hunter’s Last Flight
In a fitting end to a life that skyrocketed through the stratosphere of reporting, Hunter S. Thompson’s friends and immediate family are gathering together to shoot his ashes out of a cannon. According to the article below these were…
Posted to Books by gypsyman on July 12, 2005 08:05 AM

Hunter S. Thompson: An Iconoclast for the Ages
Brief introductory explanatary note about title. I describe my blog thusly: “The rantings of a long haired iconoclast.” Periodically this word will pop up in my reviews or commentaries, as it forms such a large part of the…
Posted to Books by gypsyman on June 11, 2005 07:20 PM

Hunter S. Thompson: News and Updates
News on Hunter Thompson’s memorial We finally have some details about the August memorial: there will be no August (public) memorial. The plans for a public event have been formally scrapped by the family in favor of a smaller and more…
Posted to Culture by Lono on May 30, 2005 03:28 AM

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Remembered by Former Presidents and Distinguished Writers
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was not a shallow, selfish schmuck. Al Barger on leads with: “Hunter S Thompson was a shallow, selfish schmuck.” Then Mr. Barger quickly allows: “Now, he made some at least moderately valuable contribution to the…
Posted to Books by Thrasher on March 12, 2005 06:44 PM

Frank Rich weighs in on Hunter S. Thompson in a column to run Sunday in the print edition of The New York Times. It’s already on the Times website here. A sample: Read “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail…
Posted in Straight Up on March 4, 2005 11:11 AM

The item about Stephen Schwartz’s crackpot burial of Hunter S. Thompson continues to resonate: “I read his article on Thompson,” a Straight Up visitor writes. “It brought to mind the sound of an empty garbage can bouncing its way down…
Posted in Straight Up on March 3, 2005 11:24 AM

Hunter’s Last Word – Literally
Hunter S Thompson’s parting word – plot device or comment?
Posted in Blogcritics on March 3, 2005 12:09 AM

HST is dead—get over it
Hunter S. Thompson managed to fool the Leftists who clung on to him – if only they knew the truth about the “Good” Doctor.
Posted in Blogcritics on March 2, 2005 07:18 PM

Hunter Thompson and PJ O’Rourke: The limitations and influence of HST
Hunter S Thompson was a one trick pony. He did a fairly amusing trick, but it was pretty limited. It went something like this: Get journalistic assignment to cover a political campaign. Get really wasted on as many exotic chemicals…
Posted in Blogcritics on March 2, 2005 04:02 AM

Hunter S. Thompson’s eternal hell
An observation …
Posted in Blogcritics on February 28, 2005 11:46 PM

Shallow, selfish schmuck: Afterthoughts on Hunter S Thompson
Hunter S Thompson was a shallow, selfish schmuck. Now, Hunter Thompson made some at least moderately valuable contribution to the art of letters. His style was innovative, and highly readable. His adventures and rants were often more interesting than the…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 26, 2005 04:59 PM

Dead Gonzo: Glorification of Suicide?
As in life, there is a twlight blurring of the boundaries between Hunter S. Thompson as esteemed literary figure, and the actual person who lived on this earth. Even his family participates in the myth-making, buying into — at least…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 25, 2005 10:16 AM

HUNTER S.THOMPSON [1937-2005] Loathsome Secrets… Of a Star-Crossed Child… In the Final Days… Of the American Century… Whore that he was… That Hunter S.Thompson… For having the last laugh… Son-of-a-bitch… Bowing out like that… Just as the world ignites… Kapow!…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 24, 2005 07:17 AM

Dear Ralph, we killed like champions > Final Thoughts on HST
Hey all, this will probably be my last Hunter piece for a bit… at least here at Blogcritcs. The reason is because beginning any day now he will be on the cover of every magazine and a zillion writers and…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 24, 2005 03:16 AM

Gonzo Obits
Writers’ obituaries by other writers are normally very well-written. Besides chronicling/reminiscing about the deceased, they afford us a chance to appreciate the eulogizer’s own writing and life. Occasionally, as illustrated by Jan Herman, obits afford one final chance to drive…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 23, 2005 10:11 AM

As H.L. Mencken wrote, “It is the national custom to sentimentalize the dead.” By now you’ve probably seen Tom Wolfe on Hunter S. Thompson. If you haven’t, you should. It’s terrific. It was fast. And it doesn’t sentimentalize him. Wolfe…
Posted in Straight Up on February 22, 2005 02:47 PM

Hunter S. Thompson. The Savage Journey Ends
We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.
Posted in Blogcritics on February 22, 2005 11:52 AM

Hunter S. Thompson
Well, damn. HST was undoubtedly one of the strangest and most evocative writers that I’ve ever encountered. And one of the most alive. We are all the poorer for his loss. Here’s some brief words of wisdom from HST: “I…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 21, 2005 10:25 PM

Hunter S. Thompson: Soundtrack Where the Buffalo Roam
Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) A soundtrack with Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Neil Young has to be great, right? Well, the soundtrack is better than the film just for it’s eclectic song selection alone. But what…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 21, 2005 09:04 PM

Hunter S. Thompson – Writer
“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…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 21, 2005 05:51 PM

The suicide of Hunter S. Thompson is a huge, irreplaceable loss. A lot of people didn’t know of the Page 2 column he wrote on the Web for But Hey, Rube was treasured by many of us who were…
Posted in Straight Up on February 21, 2005 03:52 PM

Hunter S. Thompson, Mahalo
Hunter S. Thompson came to prominence by writing about what is was like lead the life of a madman. He wrote about hallucinogenic drug-fueled antics and savagely insulted and/or threatened just about any figure of prominence that came into his…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 21, 2005 03:01 PM

Hunter S Thompson
My tribute to Thompson is this: Because I read Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail, I will never
Posted in Blogcritics on February 21, 2005 02:50 PM

The Doctor Is Out
Hunter S. Thompson is dead. Recalling good times with the good doctor – before the Big Darkness came.
Posted in Blogcritics on February 21, 2005 04:30 AM

HST Goes Into the Darkness
One of the great writers of our era, Hunter S. Thompson – dead on his own terms and at his own hand at 67.
Posted in Blogcritics on February 21, 2005 03:14 AM

Hunter Thompson, goddamn you!
Well, I just found out minutes ago that Hunter S Thompson is dead. This is terrible news for me because he was a god to me. I am sad and torn and will deal with this the way I deal…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 21, 2005 01:17 AM

Hunter S. Thompson – Dead At 67
A Great Loss…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 21, 2005 12:31 AM

Hunter S Thompson Suicide
Uncle Duke has checked out. Reports are coming in that 67 year old author Hunter S Thompson shot himself to death Sunday, February 20 at his home in Aspen, Colorado. [For local coverage from the Denver Post, CLICK HERE.] Hunter…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 20, 2005 11:58 PM

Hunter S. Thompson’s Hey Rube
In his latest collection of essays Hunter S. Thompson looks at sports and politics in his unique and head-spinning way and comes up with moments of both great insight and great confusion. The essays in Hey Rube are collected from…
Posted in Blogcritics on February 19, 2005 01:57 AM

The Blessed Reverend Repulski writes: “Dropped into the Albany town library and there noticed Hunter Thompson’s name on the current Rolling Stone cover. Guess what? He fell for the shoe-in Kerry jive too. Some forecasts are too painful to consider….
Posted in Straight Up on November 7, 2004 02:41 PM

Hunter S Thompson – still alive
Hey all, we often wait until a great talent is dead to stop and take a moment to appreciate their impact. I want to stop and talk about a great influence in my life and style while he is still…
Posted in Blogcritics Archives on August 13, 2004 03:58 AM

Hunter S. Thompson on Limbaugh
Did anyone know that Hunter S. Thompson writes a column over on’s Page 2? This week he discusses Monday Night Football, Rush Limbaugh, and other things in sports. Rush Limbaugh is a lame professional Swine and he makes a…
Posted in Blogcritics Archives on October 9, 2003 09:27 AM

Kingdom of Fear : Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century – Hunter Thompson
“We are few, but we speak with the power of many. We are strong like lonely bulls, but we are legion. Our code is gentle, but our justice is Certain – seeming Slow on some days, but slashing Fast on…
Posted in Blogcritics Archives on July 31, 2003 03:24 PM

Pirates of the Caribbean: Fear and Loathing on the Seven Seas
Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow as if Hunter S. Thompson himself was on a magical, pirate-infested acid trip.
Posted in Blogcritics Archives on July 19, 2003 10:40 PM

Gonzo Wedding
Hunter S. Thompson got married: Surprise surprise, eh? It was done with fine style and secrecy in order to avoid the craziness and drunken violence that local lawmen feared would inevitably have followed the ceremony. I know nothing about planning…
Posted in Blogcritics Archives on May 3, 2003 09:31 PM

Hunter S. Thompson and Other Youths Rally Against the War
Hunter S. Thompson has joined the poets in opposing possible war against Iraq. Given his ethos of retribution and reckless love affair with guns, I am surprised by his anti-war stance this time around. I hope it isn’t that his…
Posted in Blogcritics Archives on February 3, 2003 09:51 AM

Kingdom of Fear
First I removed the jacket so I wouldn’t have to look at Hunter Thompson’s naked ass everytime I picked up the book. The rear cover is adorned with a full body nude shot of the author carrying some kind of…
Posted in Blogcritics Archives on January 27, 2003 07:58 PM

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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