The King is Dead

Hunter Thompson, king of “gonzo journalism,” is dead, reportedly of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

I’ve blogged before about how Hunter, one of my heroes in the 1970s, remained relevant. His Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 ranks among the best pieces of campaign reportage ever.

While Tom Wolfe was recognized as a leader and purveyor of so-called “new journalism,” Hunter took us to the realm of “gonzo journalism.” No doubt Hunter sometimes stepped off the edge he was cutting. Still, his writing style was always worthy of study and emulation. The first sentence of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas will always be one of my all-time favorite first lines: “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.” The entire lede paragraph demonstrates the power of clarity and concision in writing and leaves no doubt what type of ride is ahead.

I’m not totally surprised Hunter would die from a self-inflicted gunshot. And if he consumed a fraction of the drugs, alcohol and other substances he claimed, it’s surprising he made it this far. The sad thing is that while The King is Dead, there is no one to receive the acclaim, Long Live the King.

Note: As the links demonstrate, The Great Thompson Hunt is an incomparable source.

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