Hunter S Thompson Was A Goof

Well, I’m just going by Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, but if I had of had to deal with him, I would have beat the piss out of him.

I guess that would make me a goof too, but I don’t care.

This revelation came about after a conversation the other day. A young guy had asked me if I had ever seen Fear And Loathing, and when I replied that I had, he wanted to know if I loved it. I said I figured it was okay, but that I couldn’t really remember everything. I said that I thought it was based on a true story, and he said it was, and he thought Thompson was a genius, yadda yadda yadda, and something about how he admired him for not giving a shit about authority.

“He’s like me.” He told me. “I fucking love that guy. Fuck law and fuck cops.”

cropped-anarchy

I said “That’s all well and good to say ‘Fuck law and cops’, but sadly we need to have laws and rules, and people to enforce them.”

“Fuck that. We only need two rules. Don’t hurt people, and don’t be fraudulent.”

This is where that plan starts to unravel.

“So who do you get to enforce your two rules?” I asked

“Well, we already have all of these police to do it.”

“So it’s okay to drink and drive?”

“No, that falls under the ‘Don’t hurt people’ rule”

“But they haven’t hurt anyone yet.”

“When they do, they get arrested.”

“It’s too late by then. Somebody is already hurt.”

We then discussed the problem of drugs, drinking, and the fact that there are a lot of folks that don’t know the meaning of moderation. This other guy that was there, he drinks two beer on his half hour drive home from work every day.

I said “Look at John. He drinks and drives every day. I know that he can drink twice that many and still be okay to drive. His second beer wouldn’t even be fully into him by the time he got home. He has the same routine every day, and I don’t have a problem with it. I know he’s fine to drive, and he knows that too, but it doesn’t matter to the cops, because they can’t trust that he’s only had two, or that he’s really just going home.”

A little younger than John, but I couldn't find him on Google.

A little younger than John, but I couldn’t find him on Google.

(photo credit)

“Well, he shouldn’t be arrested for that.”

“What about if he really was just driving around getting shitfaced, and could potentially kill an entire family?”

“Yeah, he should get arrested until he sobers up.” He told me.

“But he hasn’t hurt anyone, and when he does, those people are already dead.”

“Yeah, that’s true. I guess there has to be other rules, but I don’t think it’s fair that a guy can go to a bar and get hammered, then go home and beat the shit out of his wife and only get a slap on the wrist, but someone else can get caught with two hits of ecstasy in his pocket, and he goes to jail. Women are allowed to cut a fetus out of their body, and I don’t agree with that, but it’s their body, so I don’t try and stop them. What drugs I put in my body is my business”

“You’re right, but with drugs, it’s not the taking that’s dangerous. It’s what you do while you’re all fucked up. You might get cracked out and decide that you are invincible and do something to someone else. It’s also probably because they can’t figure out how to tax it.”

I think he kind of agreed, and it wasn’t because I was so persuasive, but maybe he just realized that everything isn’t cut and dry. I learned that a few years ago myself. You need to care about shit, and just because you want to get high, doesn’t mean that the people who are trying to stop you are wrong. They just think differently than you do. You may know what you’re like after dropping a couple of hits of acid, but they only know the stories of kids diving off of buildings because they think that they can fly. They aren’t out there to ruin your fun, they just want to keep people safe. I think. Well, most of them do anyhow, and let’s face it, no one should be doing acid. At least that shit I tried a few times in the 90’s. There’s a reason I have never had an urge to do it again.

There are always going to be things that some people find immoral or dangerous, but there are also going to be people who want to try them. It doesn’t make you a bad person to experiment with drugs, but going from experience I can say that there are a lot of people that don’t know the meaning of moderation. This is where drug laws come into account. Do you think there would have ever been a problem if all people did was sit around a living room or campfire with a water pipe and a big bag of cheezies?

Of course there wouldn’t be. No one would have ever been hurt, except for the odd burnt lip from eating marshmallows while they’re still on fire. Surely nothing bad enough to pass a law over. They pass laws because most people don’t know when to stop. They just need to get a little bit higher.

They are the reason that almost every camp in the oilfields have anti alcohol and drug policies now. Aaron and I, and just about every other person working out there used to like to have a few drinks after work and unwind after our twelve hour shift. It was a nice way to relax before bed, and combined with a few games of cards, was almost like having a social life in the middle of nowhere. The problem was with people that couldn’t just have a few.

Anyhow, I really would have disliked Hunter Thompson, because I just watched a David Letterman interview with him from 1988 and I stopped it halfway, because I was getting bored and angry. People like that make me mad, and I guess I have to examine whether I’m the problem. Just because someone is an asshole, doesn’t mean I should get fired up and want to punch them. Maybe I need to write into Therapy Thursday about this.

Before you left me in this place you gave me a look that I could taste,

Birdman

 

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14 thoughts on “Hunter S Thompson Was A Goof

    • Well, it explains a lot. If it’s true. Yeah, who knows what’s going through someone’s mind? Apparently he was ready to off himself at any given time. I’ve since been reading up on him and things make a bit more sense.

  1. I love Thompson’s stuff and have read most of it, and I’m not not at all sure I like him. His book about the ’72 campaign is fantastic (and got me through the 2004 election, which was an exact repeat).

    He was a quasi-journalist who got famous for becoming a character and then he never broke out of that character.

    But 1976, he was pretty well washed up.

    Like William Burroughs (a great druggie writer who killed his wife and stayed addicted to heroin for decades), he’s a great cartoon character. Not a great role model.

    • I’ve heard Burroughs’ name before, but know nothing of him. I’ll have to check some out, as well as more of Thompson’s work. I’ve read a few accounts of his political writing, and although I don’t know much about the candidates, it sounds like it was pretty good stuff.

  2. This was a great post – I’m torn over Thompson. I mean, on the one had, I idolize him as a writer and as someone who did whatever the fuck he wanted (to himself) and didn’t give a shit. Unfortunately, when you have kids and grandkids… you really can’t do whatever the fuck you want if you care for them. I think “selfish” is the best word to describe him… selfish and bat-shit crazy. I like to act like Hunter, in moderation. LOL

    • Thanks, Broseph. I am not commenting on your assholishness, but I think you know you’re one of my favourites. I’d say you’re bang on with the selfish tag. Whether it was acting or not, who knows? Whether it was or wasn’t doesn’t really matter, the fact is that he came across this way and that’s what I’m basing my opinion on.

  3. Hunter’s influence over me as a writer is indescribable. It’s more than that, however. People that “got” Hunter understood the difference between Hunter and Roule Duke (the character from Fear & Loathing). Maybe he embraced it too much, or maybe it was that people saw what they wanted to see in him. Obviously that persona is more engaging (for lack of a better term) than his real-life persons.

    After all, if you’re going to be the center of the stories you’re writing about, you must have a polarizing and dominant personality.

    His political analysis was more accurate than he was ever given credit for, and sadly, his political stuff is never mentioned when people talk about him. He wasn’t a reporter, he was a writer, a distinction he made multiple times.

    Was he an asshole in real life? Probably, but he was much more than just an asshole.

    • Yes, and for all I know he turned into an asshole to portray this character. Some people really liked him as a person, and that has to mean that either they are assholes themselves, or he was different around certain people. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that he was a decent writer, and some people, such as yourself, found him more than decent. I’m going to read a bit of his stuff, but if the primary character is him in everything, I don’t see it getting better. Maybe I’ll start with the campaign coverage and see if that’s different. It’s not that I don’t think the writing will be good, but if you don’t like the main dude, it kind of sours the story for me.

  4. Thompson has influenced the past few generations with his invention of Gonzo Journalism. The Good Doctor broke the mold on writing and changed the world and the voice of counter-culture. His work and antics will live on to influence even more generations to come. I paid tribute to Hunter S Thompson and his work with my portrait and article on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/02/in-memoriam-hunter-s-thompson.html

    • I have no doubt that his spirit will live on forever. I just hope it doesn’t live near me. I know my eighteen year old self would have thought he was pretty fucking cool, but I’m not young anymore, and I must say that I’ve become a bit crotchety in my old age.

  5. I didn’t realize when I was having the debate at the pub you would be posting it on your blog. If I had I would have argued my point better and used fewer curse words. I like that you called me a young guy though. I don’t remember using the words yadda yadda yadda. Even if I was blathering, that’s still bad paraphrasing.

    Anyways, I was trying to quote the three main rules of human law I heard from Robert Menard. He is a strong critic of Canadian law specifically pertaining to personal liberty, . They were; Do not cause harm or put others in harms way, do not steal and do not commit fraud.I think that’s four maybe? Either way it wasn’t my point. I don’t really like Rob Menard all that much but the quote was good.

    My point was if someone commits a crime on drugs why are the drugs even an issue. Crime is crime. Beat a guy sober get charged with assault. Beat a guy while high? …. Charged with assault. People can hurt themselves and others with excess of many legal substances and activities.(alcohol?!?!?)
    But our society has decide some substances are OK and other can ruin your life if you are caught with them and that’s asinine.

    Drugs are a part of near every human culture and are referenced to antiquity. The war on drugs is a money pit for courts, lawyers, cops and prisons.

    Next time one of our conversations are going to be on your blog, can you let me know?

    PS. Z lives

    • (I tried to email the commenter back, but didn’t get a reply, so I will just post a copy of the email that I sent. I wasn’t trying to make him out as an idiot or anything; he’s quite intelligent and well read. I was just trying to use what I remembered of our conversation to start the post. I forget sometimes that not everyone has read the blog before and knows that I don’t always recall everything, but try to get the gist of it when I can. I’m sorry if there was any miscommunication)

      The reason that it isn’t verbatim, contains no real names or locations, and has bad paraphrasing is that I was just using the conversation as a catalyst, and I have a bad memory from my misspent youth. My readers know, because I’ve said it many times, that I ad-lib most conversations that are on here as well as use fake names and whatnot. If I use vagueness and anonymity, it’s because there may be illegalities or improprieties that I don’t want others to know. An example is that I don’t blog about my job or many other parts of my personal life, because a lot of people that know me, know where I work and where I hang out, and may know people that I work with or other friends. If I say that a guy from work robbed a store, or my friend from such and such a place does a gram of blow every night, it could get that person in trouble. I don’t want that to happen.

      As for your argument, I fully agree with you that people should just use courtesy and common sense throughout their lives, and we would have no problems. My point here was really just to say that not many people can control themselves and that’s why we need laws and enforcement.

      I thought the exact same way that you did, up until about five years ago, when I split up with my ex, and actually started to look at everyone else’s point of view. It’s a beautiful ideal, and I would love to live in that society, but punishment for committing the crimes would have to be so swift and brutal, that I don’t know how it could work.

      Anyhow, seeing as you used a fake name, I can publish your comment if you’d like, but I have to take out anything to do with where this happened and add in “the bar” or something that won’t incriminate anyone in our circle of friends. Either that or you can reword it yourself, and send it in again. It’s not that I don’t want to print it, but because it involves an ad-libbed conversation with anonymous people, I can’t take the chance that people figure anything out.

      I fucking hope that this is a real e-mail.

    • Write you are, Stacie. See how I used a homonym? Just because I know how to use them, doesn’t make me a good writer, or a good guy. Luckily for us, you are a great writer, and I think a good person too. Of course it could all be a ruse. *I’m making my suspicious face*

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