Wednesday, February 23, 2005

"Do It Again." Tom Wolfe on Hunter S. Thompson





This essay by Tom Wolfe is a zillion times better than the New York Times obit on Hunter Thompson that I read. I already loved Tom Wolfe and this just makes me love him more. Check out this sentence:

"Hunter's life, like his work, was one long barbaric yawp, to use Whitman's term, of the drug-fueled freedom from and mockery of all conventional proprieties that began in the 1960s."

There is just so much information packed into that sentence, more than you might get from a whole page of someone else's writing. In one motion Wolfe is legitimizing Thompson's craziness, connecting it to the originality of Whitman, and acknowledging that it was drug-induced without implying that it was immature or self-indulgent. And on its own, that sentence would be pompous and over-intellectual, but it's packed between a bunch of stories so down-to-earth and heart warming that you know that Wolfe understands that the simple wild story is worth more than any of his theoretical musings.

What a blessing that Wolfe was able to hang out with Thompson and capture these hysterical snapshots of his life.



(Today's song of the day is "Right Here Now" by James McMurtry, off the album Where'd You Hide the Body. For an audio clip of Hunter S. Thompson click here.)

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