Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hope You're Still Raising Hell, Hunter

"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson

Today is the one-year anniversary of the death (by suicide) of the great Hunter S. Thompson. I figure Uncle Scott may chime in here, having met the man, but I think it beehooves everyone to look back on what a gigantic presence he was, both in the literary landscape, and in the the world at large.

Now, I should state that I enthusiastically support the idea of assisted or self-induced death, assuming you want to go that route. Although it is really an utterly final option, it is a measure of one's complete ability to control their life until the bitter end, and, believing, in general, that one should be able to have that capability to control, or one cannot truly call themselves free, means that I have to believe you if you say you want to off yourself and you pull it off. Still, though: be responsible enough towards yourself that you realize what you are doing and how it will affect others. Short version: write a decent suicide note. Apparently even Clippy knows that.

I first read "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "The Great Shark Hunt" back in early high school, back before having any real adult experience in the world. Reading those two books (back-to-back, BTW), was, for me, kind of a religious experience. It was all a part of learning about how the real world works, one of those kind of things that really affects how you view society and your role in it.

I can only wonder at the demons HST must have been wrestling with a year ago, and why he took his own life. But, he certainly left a furious mark in the world, and we are all the better for it, even if he's gone and we miss him. Plus, having Johnny Depp shoot your ashes out of a cannon is just too cool.

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