Living In The Kingdom Of Fear Inside Hunter S. Thompson's Head

Remember Hunter S. Thompson? Remember when Rolling Stone was a magazine that mattered? Remember the last time, or was the last time, or was it the time before, this country went to war? There was a young writer who captured a the sociopolitical, the counter cultural, the escapists, the fun, free and loving spirit of the youth of this great country? Hunter S. Thompson was there. Living it. And writing about it. Sure. He mattered once, too. He wrote a (do I dare?) landmark book that was required reading for virtually all college attending males (and likely those who didn’t) in the late 70’s and 80’s. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Perhaps of equal merit were the whimsical illustations by Ralph Steadman that first appeared in Fear & Loathing and which now appear on Bonny Doon and Wing Canyon wine labels. Like many successful franchises, Thompson tried to create line extensions with his Fear and Loathing brand. His third book, Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail barely succeeded on the tails of the original. Oh, and he tried other Fear & Loathing type books. But did any matter? Then Hunter took his brand, attitude, pen, paper and mind and escaped into the darkest corner of the Rocky Mountains. Occasionally, he crawls out to scribble something or another. Maybe to play with his guns. Then back into his cave he goes. I don’t know if fellow Rocky Mountain Gonzo Boy Christopher Locke has reported HST sightings, but might be worth checking in. Or any of his other famous, if not, reclusive neighbors. Locke seemed to run with the gonzo brand and apply it to marketing.

Today, Hunter calls himself “an elderly dope fiend living out in the wilderness.” And at 65 years old his new book, a memoir has eeked its way onto the New York Times bestseller list: “Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century.” Still trying to get mileage out of that “fear” thing. Or, is he simply borrowing a chapter or concept from Michael Moore’s latest film? I jus don’t know. But his interview with John Glassie which appeared on last week is interesting, if not simply entertaining reading. In the way that only Hunter S. Thompson could do.

[…] While the country’s spinning out of control, Thompson says his own lifestyle has been a model of consistency. He still does whatever the hell he wants. In fact, his new book was supposed to be a “definitive memoir of his life,” a long look back by the man who rode with the Hell’s Angels, who experienced the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention, and who has smoked more cigarettes, driven more fast cars, fired more weapons and done more drugs than most living people, let alone most living authors […]

If you’ve read anything by Hunter S. Thompson in the last 30 or so years, browse through this interview. You’ll have a wild ride with a 65 year old lifetime member of the NRA and (elderly) dope fiend who at his age doesn’t mind the “dope fiend” moniker – he’d like to lose the elderly, though. As for regrets about anything he’s done in his rather colorful life?

[…] That goes to the question of would you do it again. If you can’t say you’d do it again, it means that time was wasted — useless. The regrets I have are so minor. You know, would I leave my Keith Richards hat, with the silver skull on it, on the stool at the coffee shop at LaGuardia? I wouldn’t do that again. But overall, no, I don’t have any regrets […]

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