Media people

Gonzo tributes

HSTGetting two days' jump on the print edition, the LA Weekly has posted online some of its writers' thoughts on the death of Hunter S. Thompson. The pieces are by Marc Cooper, Nikki Finke, Steven Mikulan and Steven Kotler. Here's a taste from Cooper:

I only met Hunter once face to face . . . and under circumstances I choose to keep to myself. But he was a huge if not defining influence on me and scads of other writers. A little bit of HST always seems to be sitting on my shoulder every time I do some feature reporting, and itís not infrequent that I will ask myself What Would Gonzo Do? Unwilling (and certainly unable) to answer that question by cracking open a stash of two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of blotter acid, a salt shaker of coke, and a galaxy of uppers, downers, screamers and laughers ó as HST did as he crossed the Clark County line into Las Vegas ó I usually settle for some good old-fashioned Gonzo inspiration.

Thompson was a ferocious wit, a brilliant and immensely entertaining writer who grabbed you by the short hairs and dragged you along on some harrowing, illuminating and ultimately unforgettable ride. Unbeknownst even to many of his most ardent fans, HST was also a world-class reporter. His books on the Hellís Angels and Las Vegas were his big breakthroughs; lesser known is the solid reporting career he had already racked up long before he became a counterculture icon. It was perhaps his little-noticed stint as South American correspondent in the early í60s for the now-defunct National Observer that first brought him face to face with the less attractive aspects of the American Dream. Or maybe just growing up in Kentucky was enough to acquaint him with the Nightmare, something he could never shake off.

His Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail, 1972 may not have inspired as many journalists as Watergate and All the President's Men, but it must have been close. Other local writings on HST from Tony Pierce (where the illustration was lifted) and Ken Layne (via Emmanuelle Richard), Roger L. Simon, Matt Welch, Mick Farren, Brian Linse, Alex DeLarge and Gerard Van der Leun.


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