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Hunter S. Thompson Overview

born: 1937
born in: Louisville
died: 2005
Revolutionizing journalism, Hunter S. Thompson created his own brand of reporting -- more like reportage from a cockroach's-eye-view -- with an exaggerated style that reflected the chaotic period of American history he was not just observing but living. Thompson, never a... [more]

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Excerpt from "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved"

Another problem was [artist Ralph Steadman's] habit of sketching people he met in the various social situations I dragged him into - then giving them the sketches. The results were always unfortunate. I warned him several times about letting the subjects see his foul renderings, but for some perverse reason he kept doing it. Consequently, he was regarded with fear and loathing by nearly everyone who'd seen or even heard about his work. He couldn't understand it. "It's sort of a joke," he kept saying. "Why, in England it's quite normal. People don't take offense. They understand that I'm just putting them on a bit." "Fuck England," I said. "This is Middle America. These people regard what you're doing to them as a brutal, bilious insult. Look what happened last night. I thought my brother was going to tear your head off." Steadman shook his head sadly. "But I liked him. He struck me as a very decent, straightforward sort." "Look, Ralph," I said. "Let's not kid ourselves. That was a very horrible drawing you gave him. It was the face of a monster. It got on his nerves very badly." I shrugged. "Why in hell do you think we left the restaurant so fast?" "I thought it was because of the mace," he said. "What mace?" He grinned. "When you shot it at the headwaiter, don't you remember?" "Hell, that was nothing," I said. "I missed him... and we were leaving, anyway." "But it got all over us," he said. "The room was full of that damn gas. Your brother was sneezing and his wife was crying. My eyes hurt for two hours. I couldn't see to draw when we got back to the motel." "That's right," I said. "The stuff got on her leg, didn't it?" "She was angry," he said. "Yeah... well, okay... Let's just figure we fucked up about equally on that one," I said. "But from now on let's try to be careful when we're around people I know. You won't sketch them and I won't mace them. We'll just try to relax and get drunk." "Right," he said. "We'll go native."

Excerpt from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of "history" it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time - and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened. My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights - or very early mornings - when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket... booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take wen I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change)... but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that... There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda... You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning... And that, I think, was the handle - that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting - on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave... So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
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