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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

On Hunter S. Thompson

Wendy, my better-half's oldest (that is, since kindergarten) friend, and a wonderful writer to boot, shares her thoughts on Hunter S. Thompson:

I do believe that Hunter S. Thompson is my first, personal literary icon to die in my lifetime....I read Hell's Angels when I was fifteen...At sixteen, I moved on to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and reading this while in Catholic school in Los Angeles was more than a little mind-blowing.

James Walcott points to this post by Steve Gilliard that sites HST as a blogger ancestor. (While Wendy is a poet, Gilliard is tasting Thompson the journalist):

Thompson was lucky in that since he was never inside the tent, they could never kick him out. But most of the great heroes of journalism were and will be forced from the newsroom, because that is not a place for uncomfortable truths. There has never been a national columnist like Jack Newfield or Mike Royko or Jimmy Breslin, and never will be. Because they will never play the game, or even recognize it....

The world of the vital has escaped our fiction, to be replaced by the world of the trivial and self-involved. Why? Because that is what drives the writing program, those who write well about themselves, but without the real introspection needed to be honest....The outlets to discuss American life are now closed off because one group is afraid and the other indifferent.
Which is why blogs are so popular...It's odd to think of the outsider Thompson having won the day about what we call journalism, but blogging allows for a world of outlaw journalists, working cheap and fast ans supporting each other in ways he couldn't imagine. It's not a bad legacy.


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