Remembering Hunter S. Thompson
Thomspon was found dead on Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 67.
In addition to writing countless groundbreaking books including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72, Thompson was an original Page 2 writer. His knowledge of sports mixed with his knowledge of the world made for a one-of-a-kind read. Join Page 2's Jeff Merron at 2 ET on Tuesday to talk about Thompson's life and writings.
The ShowGirl (4:38 PM)
Good morning, SportsNation. In light of the tragic passing of Hunter S. Thompson, Jeff Merron's discussion of this week's List will be postponed. Today, Jeff will host a discussion of The Good Doctor.
The ShowGirl (10:57 AM)
Here's what we know ... http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=1996230 .
Buzzmaster (1:58 PM)
Thanks, ShowGirl. Jeff will be here shortly.
Jeff Merron (2:01 PM)
It's a sad afternoon for me, folks. I didn't know Hunter. But I sure was proud just to share a little of the same cyberspace with him.
who's Jeff and why?
Jeff Merron (2:05 PM)
I ask myself those questions every day, Jack. I write for Page 2. Lilke many other readers and writers and reporters, I knew HST only through his writing, and through some anecdotes told to me by friends. But I'm interested in hearing the thoughts of SportsNation about Hunter's work on Page 2 and in his many books and other outlets.
Is there any updated news about the tragedy?
Jeff Merron (2:06 PM)
Last I read, Chris, his family and close friends were saying no news, they'd talk later.
Jeff Merron (2:08 PM)
By the way, if you haven't yet done so, I recommend you head over to Page 2 and read ESPN.com editor Kevin Jackson's fine and fond farewell to HST, "Mahalo, Doc." The Page 2 brain trust has also turned over the entire page to the Doctor, and neatly organized the best of what he's written for ESPN.
Hunter's contributions to sports writing will be remembered forever. The man invented gonzo journalism.... and will be missed.
Jeff Merron (2:11 PM)
It's easy to forget that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was borne of an SI assignment. That "The Curse of Lono," which is sadly out of print, was Hunter covering the Honolulu Marathon, of all things (hilarious). Without much trouble, you can find one of my favorite sports pieces that he's written, "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved." He wrote that in 1970. A classic.
6 letters: R.I.P. H.S.T.
Karthik (Blacksburg, VA)
It is always tragic when the world loses such an original voice - this tragedy makes me think of Ralph Wiley - both paved the way for new things to come, and nobody who followed them could achieve their greatness. He will be missed, and I only hope that he gets the attention that he deserves. The news media, sports media, and Page 2 especially, lost a great man today.
ALthough I respected his love of sports, yesterday was a bad day for the 1st Amendment. HST was a role model ro all who want to be the voice of dissent and will be missed.
Paul (Portland, OR)
While occasionally, Hunter's columns could leave me scratching my head, I could usually take something away from them, particularly amusement. What saddens me more, is that this is the second contributor Page 2 has lost, the first of course being Ralph Wiley.
tom (parkville, md)
The man was a writing marvel, taking readers on fantastic trips in which you weren't always sure if you actually left. He had a way of making the most ridiculous embelishment seem true and sometimes would catch you offguard with a seeming tall tale that actually happened (talking college football with Nixon in F&L'72). The stories about him are as legendary as the ones he told. I'm grateful he existed.
Jeff Merron (2:16 PM)
Tom, I'm glad you mentioned the Nixon anecdote. To me, besides being one of HST's great tangential stories, it was also a reminder ... there was something HST and Nixon could share -- talk of football -- even though you'd have trouble finding two men who were much different than those two.
Donnie (Columbia, MO)
Hunter's legacy will be giving the world a view in print that had never been allowed before. He was a prominent voice of a generation who's revolution failed, but left an indelible mark on America.
For those who have never read any of Hunter's material, I would certainly spend some time reading his unquie gonzo style of writing. Hey Jeff, do you have any favortie articles or books that you would recommend for those people out in the world that are not familiar with his works? Maybe you can enlighten a few people today about some of your favorites. I sure will miss his articles and books.
Jeff Merron (2:20 PM)
Hey, Chris. I'd recommend Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas first, because if you're going to like HST, you're going to chew up that book and spit it out in two hours. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail is still a classic, maybe the most admired collection of political reportage ever. The greatest political reporters *wish* they could/could have done just a little of what he did during the 1972 campaign. Hell's Angels, his first book, is tremendous. The Great Shark Hunt is a tremendous collection.
Jeff Merron (2:22 PM)
And the amazing thing about Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail is that it's journalism -- deadline journalism, published every two weeks in Rolling Stone -- and you read it 30 years later and it stands up as great reporting and great and funny writing.
Gary (Los Angeles)
I'm a little stunned that he committed suicide...was he sick? Some disease that precipitated his taking his own life? Stunned and saddened...
Jeff Merron (2:23 PM)
I don't know, Gary. It seemed to me that he had more and more trouble writing, but that's just my impression a couple of degrees removed.
Erick (work (hell))
I love reading his stuff and just scratching my head wondering where the hell he came up with it. That last piece of his on Shotgun Golf was great and entertaining.
Jeff Merron (2:26 PM)
Genius at work, Erick.
tom (parkville, md)
He had two movies made about him WHILE HE WAS STILL ALIVE! The actors hired to portray him were Bill Murray and Johnny Depp! Really, can life get much cooler than that?
Jeff Merron (2:28 PM)
Here's the amazing thing to me, Tom: Depp and Murray are great actors. And neither one quite did the good Doctor justice. "Where the Buffalo Roam," the Bill Murray rendition of HST is pretty good, though. It was panned when it came out, but is worth watching.
Doug Huntington Beach, Ca
I believe Hunter did not want to get old old. I've watched my mother get old old and anyone Hunter's age knows it's an ugly way to go when someone has to help you use the toilet. Were humane to our dogs and cats and yet we put our loved ones through what must be hell. Hunter had too much life in him to let that happen, I think under these circumstances the word 'suicide' should not be used. He just choose to die on his terms. Maholo Doc you will be missed.
Paul (Portland, OR)
Did people read his last column about shooting golf balls out of the sky? Kind-of a creative concept for a sport, no?
Jeff Merron (2:31 PM)
That column was a great example of how as hard as you tried, HST just didn't fit under any label. You wouldn't call him liberal or conservative, blue state or red state. He was radical, but somehow managed to make sense enough of the time to be a true original.
Rich (long island)
i met thompson at a book signing in nyc a few years back. believe the hype, the man was crazy-cool. a true original has left us.
Justin (Farrell, PA)
I'm so sad, I feel like I lost my best friend. A best friend I never got to know
Joe (Greenville, SC)
Cheers to Hunter a?? and Cheers to his editors through the years that approved his outlandish reporting style (and expenses!) that gave his writing such humor, thoughtfulness, and life.
Jeff Merron (2:35 PM)
Joe, I think that's a terrific point. There were at least a few people behind the scenes -- some we know, like Jan Wenner, and some we surely don't -- who took big chances in assigning HST stories, and then in publishing some stuff that was very far out on the edge. In retrospect, it seems like, you know, it was bound to happen. But HST had what you need to be a great writer -- tremendous courage to put down what you think, no matter. And there were some editors who took some career risks, too. Must not have been easy.
Who's teh next HST?
Jeff Merron (2:37 PM)
No next, Jeff. Hundreds (thousands?) have tried. In my opinion, he'll be talked about in the future like Mark Twain and Jack Kerouac -- singular great figures in American writing.
I don't think he ever got enough respect for his skills as a journalist. Not only was he able to write with great clarity and humor but he also added a lot of insight and surprisingly deep thought on the subject he wrote about. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas isn't just a hilarious, druken, dugged-out journey through Sin City, it is also a statement on how the failed revolution of the flower childeren had deteriorated. A magnificent writer.
Love HST, but was a little disappointed that he went out like this. I guess we'll hear more later.
Karthik (Blacksburg, VA)
We can only hope that he is smoking a thin Cohiba up there in the sky, wondering what all the hoopla is about. The man went out on his own terms, and to answer Jeff from Charlotte, there is no next HST. There will be another writer who breaks new grounds, but there will no next HST; I doubt that there will ever be anybody even half as good as he was. So few people can write about sports so fluidly, and so few people can write journalism so successfully - to find one man who could do both is a tall order.
Sam (Minnetonka, MN)
This tragic event seems strangly similar to Elliot Smiths passing. It is well over a year later and we still don't know the details of that tragedy. I hope we find out more about the good doctors passing.
Edward (Overland Park, KS)
I think the best thing that could be said about HST was that he was a Storyteller. It didn't particularly matter which parts are truth and which are fiction; he told the Story with his own voice and made the Story accessible to anyone who wanted to read it, ponder it, and understand it. For a few years, I wrote a series of short stories trying to emulate the Good Doctor's style, and I discovered exactly how difficult it is to produce anything approaching his universe just once, let alone for twenty years. And this is what I thank the Good Doctor for - reminding us about the importance of the Storyteller.
Jeff Merron (2:44 PM)
Thanks, Edward. Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts this afternoon. You can also contribute to the SportsNation remembrance at: http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/mailbagESPN?event_id=7369
Jeff Merron (2:45 PM)
Up next: College Hoops with Andrew Glocker, followed by Jeff Gordon!
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