I wrote in my little private paper journal a while back, writhing in a fit of angst and doubt about whether We will turn It around, "...and where's the Hunter S. Thomson of my generation? Probably off somewhere blogging..." I long ago fell under the sway of the Duke's particular brand of morality and truth-telling. He gets at the secret bloody crevaces of the human condition, sinking into the stinking realm of sweat and violence and fear. He's a dowager for the good kind of righteousness, a human divining rod for peace and honesty. He's an old man now, and probably too tired and burnt to take another tour on the front lines -- though God love him he's sure to try. Hence my intuative sense that these times demand a new incisive firebrand of Personal Truth and The Best Way Of Living, someone decidedly outside the fucking box and committed to driving forward like a scandalous addled cannonball. Sigh.
Hunter S. Thompson's latest, Kingdom of Fear, is a semi-auto-biography that blends little-known tales of the Gonzo Doctor's upbringing with current (circa summer 2002) observations and well-loved recollections from everywhere in between. There's something to be said about Hunter, something that's often lost in the lurid honesty about sex and drugs and power, and that's that the man can turn a phrase. His style is easily recognized, in truth even formulaic at times, but anyone who trots out the line that he's "become a parody" of himself if just player-hating. More than any of the excesses or eccentricities of his life, Thompson is a widely known and loved public figure because he has got game with words and ideas and the human spirit. If he were less of a Freak, he'd probably still be a best-selling novelist (or perhaps a successful politician). Instead he's what every lefty blogger wishes they were, someone who took the notion of first-person reportage to the limit and emerged with shining gems of quality and insight.
I take to heart Thompson's words about, "not endorsing my lifestyle for anyone else." I've seen many people who went after the HST tao of chemestry. It's not all that difficult. All you need are a few underworld connections and some ready cash; ask around at your local bar and someone will know someone who can hook you up. There's a phone number to be shared for whatever you're in the market for. What's far more rare are his mastery of language, heart-rending frankness and committment to personal ethics. These are his sources of value, not LSD or anything else.
It's common wisdom now that we're headed into another radical period, and in many ways the Establishment (The Man) is far more thuggish and well-equipped than last time around. Hew to the ethos.