21 February 2005

with a bang

The Night Mayor of Woody Creek does not go gently.
Some words by and about the good Dr. Gonzo, and Ralph Steadman remembers
A fitting eulogy, and, a funeral I'm going to be sorry to miss.
Here comes the weirdness. Were they listening? How about Gary ?

According to biographer McKeen, Thompson imagined ending his life on the drive from Louisville to Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle, at the halfway point where the road winds around Iron Mountain. "My concept of death for a long time," he told McKeen, "was to come down that mountain road at a hundred and twenty and just keep going straight right there, burst out through the barrier and hang out above all that ... and there I'd be sitting in the front seat, stark naked, with a case of whiskey next to me, and a case of dynamite in the trunk ... honking the horn, and the lights on, and just sit there in space for an instant, a human bomb, and fall down into that mess of steel mills. It'd be a tremendous goddam explosion. No pain. No one would get hurt. I'm pretty sure, unless they've changed the highway, that launching place is still there. As soon as I get home, I ought to take the drive just to check it out."

Although posthumously assured by his lawyer that his death had nothing to do with the 2004 election, or the contempt in which he held our recent "choice" of administration, I am nevertheless somewhat ashamed as well as saddened, as if I were somehow partly to blame, at what has happened in a few short years to Hunter's country, to our country, a supposed example for the world to emulate, a nation worth believing, worth following; one which he warned us time and again, in his own unique way, which must either have the courage and the decency to continually judge and correct itself according to those same principles upon which it claimed to base its moral and ethical standards, or risk becoming yet another failure, in the end more trouble than it was worth: part of the problem.

As he wrote in Rolling Stone, "The question this year is not whether President Bush is acting more and more like the head of a fascist government, but if the American people want it that way. That is what this election is all about." And, in Kingdom of Fear : "We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world - a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts... Get out of our way, or we'll kill you."

Hunter, I'm so sorry that you had to leave us like you did, in the state of affairs in which we all now find ourselves. However intentionally outrageous or bizarre, you were a much-needed voice of conscience, who will be as sorely missed as you will be difficult to emulate, and as much needed by us all now as you ever were.

So rest well, old man. You earned it. There's nothing more that you can say or do, and what lives on in your words will be up to us to remember, and to carry on as best we may without your help anymore. No big deal.

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