Sunday, February 27, 2005

the right kind of eyes

"the summer is over
the harvest is in,
and we are not saved."
-- jeremiah 8:20

fuck you, hunter thompson.

i guess the fucker really did kill himself. i was holding out writing this because i figured he would reappear, claiming to be King Lono – prince of royal polynesian blood, ruler of all the islands, born 1700 years ago in a canoe off the kona coast of hawaii.

i mean, how great would it have been…he could have had everybody waiting for his ashes to be blown all over the place, and then from the smoke, the twisted sonofabitch parachutes back to earth and announces the rebirth of the weird.

but it seems that’s not gonna happen…so i have no other choice than to sit down and lash this together.

it’s gonna be real easy for people to write this old cat off as a casualty from the acid generation or just another stupid dope freak. people might say that he lived to become a caricature of himself, a packaged commodity. apart from his sporadic ramblings on espn2’s website, hunter was busy refining prince jellyfish, a work that was written and set in [where else?] the sixties. the ghost of hemingway seemed to hang heavy over his door. in casual conversation just the other day, some lunkhead mentioned something about smoking hunter’s ashes. that’s a lowlife, right-against-left reaction, one that he no doubt will endure after his passing as he weathered during most of his wild life. granted, he was a habitual and shallow dope fiend, one who would raid your stash when you were looking…an unpredictable, sometimes violent, multiple felon who posed a threat to national security and no doubt cost his friends countless sleepless nights and more than a little of their hard-earned dollars in bail money. and there's also his negative side.

and i wish those kinds of people who would sneer with contempt at the doctor could come around, but fuck them anyway. time now to gather round your own…mourn for a fallen.

he was a warrior in the culture war that still rages today…the man was there for the sixties and all the idealism that went along with it. and then he saw it fall by the wayside, or take a turn in the wrong direction, or get caught up along the way…however you’d like to see it and say it. the walls of evil that they railed against in the sixties closed in quickly…and what better way to inoculate yourself against it than to load up on drugs…get absurd. surely, whatever shit you could put in your system couldn’t twist you up as bad as the bad-trip nightmare that became the american dream. so load up, buy the ticket, take the ride…maybe on that trip you could find something to peel away all of this bullshit “reality” that the motherfuckers with the power want you to believe is the only way for something that cuts a bit closer to the bone, to the truth, to the beauty.

and since those forty-odd years ago…whatever fantastic universal sense of righteousness that seemed to spread against the forces of old and evil seems to be long gone. hunter thompson lived to see all that shit…understood it early…and it haunted him…gave him the fear.

did he know that fear-soaked loathing would see his end?

i’ll admit, all those drug-soaked stories have that can-you-believe-this-shit factor to them…but there was something within his words that rose above that dumb-fun level. i got a little faith out of it. that through all the craziness, you really can get your mind open…that above all else, you can find beauty and truth in even the darkest of places. if kerouac showed me the beauty of the written word, then thompson showed me its power.

he was an outlaw and patriot in the truest sense of the word. he believed in the promise of this country so much that he refused to sentimentalize it…training a cold and calloused eye instead on the monster the typical american had become. he got in the thick of it all and lived to tell about it with words that may have told lies but never failed to get to the truth. he was cursed to live, like he told steadman, as a man both before and after his time. and for that, i guess, we can be thankful.

mahalo, bro…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Let the good times roll... fuck, why not. How else are we to do a thing like this rightously?

I wonder though, has Dr. Tompson yet developed the right kind of eyes, is he searching for that Someone or Something tending the light at the end of the tunnel? Or did he give up on that too?

And what would a conversation between the two be like? What kind of interactions would go on? And Who would be the first to call the other a Scurvy Pigfucker...

I sincerely hope it was worth it all. Through all the bullshit, albeit incredibly entertaining bullshit, but though it all, for some time I knew that in some well-defended corner of our universe, that there was someone who, while maybe not tending the light at the end of the tunnel, was keeping a careful eye on it and reporting on it as he saw it.

I am a relative newcomer to the world of Gonzo. I had never, so far as I know, read any of his work, or even knew of him until around 98/99. My first exposure to him was seeing a trailer for Fear and Loathing. I don't remember whether it was in the theatre or on TV. I remember thinking that it looked like another drug movie, but there was something different about it. How right I was. I didn't see it in the theatre though.

Now some of you may say,"you're not a true Thompson fan! All you know is the movie!" To which I reply, "Fuck off, thank you kindly." This is my story.

When I finally got around to renting it I thought it was brillant. And it wasn't just the drug aspect to it. There was something pure, and true, and yes, twisted within it all. A giant fuck you to authority, to the establishment of which I felt myself slipping into.

It should be noted that I rented Fight Club the same weekend, but that is another story.

Both of these movies changed my life and forever altered it. I think for the good. What they did was give me a chance. Indirectly, they put into words and feelings that I supressed so much that I was dimly aware were even present. But they were always knawing at the back of my mind like some sort of mutant rodent on amphetamines. I honestly changed after seeing those movies.

The decisions I made allowed me to escape a doomed lifestyle. One of expected marriage and childrens, and the house bigger than you can afford, and the credit card payments, and the rest of my Friday nights spent indoors. Shut in. Closed off. Ignorent of the wonders and the evils I have been a part of.

Oh yeah, that, and girls. A few anyway. Some of them even twice.

Since then, my cronie and I have discovered that this Raul Duke is a real person, not just a fictional character. I have read much of his work. I am thankful that I got the opportunity to share a brief period of existance with him. And I am thankful that, while he is no longer with us, there is an entire body of work I have yet to discover. What treasures do I still have to uncover? What else of his will embed itself into my brain?

Now, he is gone. There are others around for sure, and more will come, but no one can replace him. Or his twisted vision.

Perhaps that is not entirely correct. I think more fitting, would be his vision of a twisted reality.

Hunter once wrote of Heaven as a place where the swine were turned away and sent packing with puncture wounds over their bodies. Well. I hope when he got there, they let that particular swine in.

9:20 PM  
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