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Registration date: 2007-12-16
|Subject: Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:09 am|| |
I just finished this oral biography by Jann S. Wenner and Corey Seymour. I'd heard about Thompson here and there over the past few years, watched his biopic. But I'd never gotten a sense of the man, have only a sense of him after reading the biography and still haven't read any of his books.
Sandy Thompson, his wife of many years, summed him up at the end of the book and said that "underneath his bravado and violence and anger and fear, though, was an under-standing that he was not living the right life--that he was hurting people" by his power to seduce and manipulate them. Such anger and manipulation do not arise in a void, I would say, but deep inside one's life; that his antics and the constellations of both great interpersonal difficulties and charms were fundamentally due to that roiling void; and that his gigantic drug and alcohol addictions were also spawned by that dearth. Many might disagree with the attribution of inner discontent to behavior, but whatever literary prowess and burgeoning humor that I have I would attribute to the sharp scraping of a similar inner discontent against the wit and artistic sensibility that fashions art and humor out of life's dross; which is close to the psychoanalytic postulation of the origin of these modalities as an interaction between instinct and conscience through the higher-order functions of the ego.
Another product of such interaction is fun, and what fun he concocted along his way! Later in life he was fond of blow-up porn dolls and posted one on his lawn to mark his house for visitors. During his first years writing for "Rolling Stone" he established arriving at their offices with a large bag containing his tricks, one of which was a siren, which he would blast up and down the office corridors.
I've not read of another man so talented, flawed and fun.
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Registration date: 2012-04-04
|Subject: Re: Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:51 am|| |
That might be some of the most telling insight into the life of a person who probably for the most part never wanted to be understood. I remember reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when I was a teenager and being blown away with how riveting and impulsive a true life tale could be. Honestly, I don't think at that point that I had ever read anything as shocking.
Years later someone passed me a copy of "An Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo" by Oscar Zeta Acosta, who I found out was the infamous Dr. Gonzo. Of course Hunter describes him as Samoan in F&L, perhaps as a form of misdirection, as Acosta was a true life lawyer, politician and activist. Anyway, that book was just as crazy. Sadly Acosta disappeared in 1974, & was never heard from again and perhaps served as a beacon of light for Hunter, showing him the direction in which his life was heading. That said, Thompson was highly functional, and perhaps more grounded than he made himself out to be via his public persona. Not that he wasn't a bit insane, just highly functional and very, very intelligent.
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Registration date: 2009-03-22
|Subject: Re: Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:48 pm|| |
Hunter S Thompson was a fascinating man. I love Bill Murray and Johnny Depp's interpretations of him in films.
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|Subject: Re: Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:34 pm|| |
I think his writing was very much colored my his deep unhappiness. While indeed humorous, there was a very cynical undercurrent to almost everything he wrote. He said for many years beforehand that his life would end as it did. Suicide.