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Hunter S. Thompson

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Harley Litzelman

on 30 May 2013

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Transcript of Hunter S. Thompson

The Note Why did Hunter S. Thompson Kill Himself? Harley Litzelman, Period 2
May 30, 2013 "My concept of death for a long time was to come down that mountain road at 120 and just keep going straight right there, burst out through the barrier and hang out above all that . . . and there I'd be, sitting in the front seat, stark naked, with a case of whiskey next to me and a case of dynamite in the trunk . . ." (McKeen, “Larger than life”) Bad at Birth Born to Jack and Virginia Thompson in Louisville, Kentucky in 1937.
Thompson "...puzzled his mother, who often wondered why he did the things that he did" (McKeen, "Outlaw Journalist" 1), remarkably painting the gates to Hell on his bedroom floor.
Father dies before Hunter turned 15 of myasthenia gravis, sparking his mother's alcoholism and long work hours.
Arrested at 17 for armed robbery. His school district's superintendent prevented him from taking his finals and therefore graduating. Going Gonzo The End February 20, 2005. 5:42 p.m.
Woody Creek, Colorado
Found stationed at his typewriter by his son Juan
Notifies police with three shotgun blasts (Armstrong). Thompson, suffering from unconquerable writer's block, frantically submits his notes from the Kentucky Derby to the Scanlon's Monthly
Boston Globe Sunday Magazine Editor Bill Cordoso praises his breakthrough style, writing "This is it. This is pure Gonzo" (Martin). The Coming Tide Truman Capote and Tom Wolfe popularized "New Journalism" with long-form novelized journalism that explored the realms of story theme, character development, and mystique.
New Journalism teetered between the introspective storytelling of maverick journalism and the sensational compromise of truth for shock and sales. New Journalism's Red-Headed Stepchild Fear and Loathing Welcome to the journalism of the id.
Plot is impossibly unfocused.
Usage of unreliable narrator,
And intoxicated narrator Las Vegas, Campaign Trail '72, America
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas released in 1971 in a two-part series in Rolling Stone
Follows the antics of Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo The Gonzo Mindset "The only way to prepare for a trip like this, I felt, was to dress up like human peacocks and get crazy, then screech off across the desert and cover the story. Never lose sight of the primary responsibility" (Thompson, "Las Vegas" 12) Two paragraphs later "Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only real cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas" (Las Vegas 12) "Believer" “The obsession with violence and chemically induced dementia in Thompson’s writing gave it a kind of post-Altamont, Manson-family, death-of-the-sixties aura, and made him a favorite not of the protest marchers and flower children of the sixties but of the youth of the burned-out decade that followed” (Menand). But this apparent corruption of New Journalism reveals instead his unintentional distillation of the genre. Liberation from Journalism Tom Wolfe got his Ph.D while Thompson begrudgingly freelanced for the National Observer in South America. "He hated journalism at first, but needed it to pay the bills (Hirst 3).
Thompson described the success of "Kentucky Derby" like "falling down an elevator shaft and landing in a pool full of mermaids" (Sullivan).
Thompson would later gloat in "Las Vegas"
Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits, a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector..." (Thompson, Las Vegas 200). A Crusade for Independence As a copy boy for Time, Thompson reproduced works of Fitzgerald and Hemingway (Thompson and Brinkley 139).
Landed first writing job as a sports editor for The Command Courier lying about experience.
Sports columnist for Playground News (McKeen, "Outlaw Journalist" 31).
Fired from Time in 1959 for insubordination (Thompson and Brinkley 152).
Fired from The Middletown Daily Record for breaking an office candy machine.
Wrote two novels after bouncing between publishers, "The Rum Diary" and "Prince Jellyfish" Losers and Outsiders The Nation commissions Thompson to write about California motorcycle gangs in 1965 (McKeen, "Outlaw Journalist" 94).
"The Motorcycle Gangs: Losers and Outsiders" reflects on the Hell's Angels after the alleged rape of a 14 and 15 year old girl in Monterey.
The freedom The Nation afforded him provided him a transition to Gonzo.
"The difference between the Hell's Angels in the paper and the Hell's Angels for real is enough to make a man wonder what newsprint is for" ("Motorcycle Gangs"). A Strange and Terrible Saga Thompson allies himself with Hell's Angels leadership to write "Hell's Angels" for Random House.
Less of a story told than a portrait painted.
Its purpose is to humanize the Hell's Angels, a purpose both caring and emasculating.
"Many are supported by working wives and girlfriends, who earn good salaries as secretaries, waitresses, and nightclub dancers. A few of the younger outlaws still live with their parents, but they don't like to talk about it" (Thompson, Hell's Angels 52). Like a Rolling Stone "Strange Rumblings in Aztlan" chronicled the killing of Ruben Salazar by the LAPD.
During this project he met Oscar Zeta Acosta, the basis for his character Dr. Gonzo in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."
"Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" was his major broadcast of his hatred of Nixon.
If there were any such thing as true justice in this world, [Nixon's] rancid carcass would be somewhere down around Easter Island right now, in the belly of a hammerhead shark” (Thompson, Rolling Stone). Winding Down Contributed to the San Francisco Examiner throughout the 1980's (McKeen, "Outlaw Journalist 286).
Published "The Curse of Lono," "The Gonzo Papers," "Kingdom of Fear," and "Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness."
"Hey Rube" brought him back to his sports writing roots, now with a Gonzo twist. The End “It’s an occupational hazard: if you construct a career raging against the system, you can’t stop raging just because the system has accepted you, or has ceased to care or to pay attention” (Menand).
Thompson would not die at the hands of a drunken Hell’s Angel or in the psychedelic grip of a button of mescaline. He was overtaken by health problems stemming from breaking his leg and hip and back surgery (McKeen, Outlaw Journalist 346). http://www.ralphsteadmanprints.com/images/00art/gonzo/01brain.jpg http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=41384325 http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/12800000/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas-fear-and-loathing-in-las-vegas-12887673-500-225.jpg?1368421993476 http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/500/69774222/Hunter+S+Thompson+Young+Hunter.jpg http://www.theunexcused.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/The_Kentucky_Derby_Is_Decadent_and_Depraved.jpg http://images.nymag.com/news/media/1972-0214-cover-250.jpg http://www.ralphsteadmanprints.com/images/00art/gonzo/01brain.jpg http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_wqQSYPpNBlE/S4l0lRHDD4I/AAAAAAAAAJI/DmCwB5a1-vQ/s400/fear_and_loathing_in_las_vegas.jpg http://truenorth68.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/fear-and-loathing-in-las-vegas-1-10.jpg http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l4dplatz8Y1qay4w3.jpg http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/thompsonCor460.jpg http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lq20m26xCq1r0j3tvo1_500.png http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_s77XPQZjRl0/S5Rlx2ldlVI/AAAAAAAAF0g/m-BGBcLBjZs/s400/hunter+s.JPG http://www.unc.edu/~wellons/images/HellsAngels.jpg http://hstbooks.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/17449288-17449290-large.jpg http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Film/Pix/pictures/2010/5/4/1272974673272/Hunter-S-Thompson-at-home-006.jpg Works Cited http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/02/29/article-2108210-11F93186000005DC-887_306x423.jpg Armstrong, John. United States. Pitkin County Sheriff's Office. Law Incident Table. Woody Creek: Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, 2005. Web.
Brinkley, Douglas. "Football Season is Over." Rolling Stone. 8 Sep 2005: n. page. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.
Fremont-Smith, Eliot. "Books of The Times; Freak-Out in Day-Glo." New York Times 12 August 1968, n. pag. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.
Hirst, Martin. "What is Gonzo? The etymology of an urban legend ." . School of Journalism & Communication, University of Queensland, 19 Jan 2004. Web. 28 Mar 2013.
Homberger, Eric. "Hunter S Thompson." Guardian. 22 Feb 2005: n. page. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.
Knickerbocker, Conrad. "One Night on a Kansas Farm." New York Times 16 January 1966, n. pag. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.
Martin, Douglas. "Bill Cardoso, 68, Editor Who Coined 'Gonzo', Is Dead." New York Times 16 March 2006, n. pag. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.
Menand, Louis. "Believer." New Yorker. 7 Mar 2005: n. page. Web. 3 Feb. 2013. McKeen, William. "Hunter S. Thompson 1937-2005: Larger than life, a mystery in death." St. Petersburg Times 22 February 2005, South Pinellas 1.E. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.

McKeen, William. Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson. 1st ed. New York City: Norton & Company, 2008. Print.

Sullivan, James. "Hunter S. Thompson Dies: Famed "RS" contributor takes own life in Colorado." Rolling Stone. 21 Feb 2005: n. page. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.

Steadman, Ralph. "Hunter S. Thompson 1937-2005." ralphsteadman.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar 2013.

Thompson, Hunter S., and Douglas Brinkley. The Proud Highway, Saga Of A Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967. 1st ed. New York City: Random House, 1998. Print.

Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Hunter S. Thompson. New York City: Little, Brown, and Company, 2009. 337. eBook.

Thompson, Hunter S. "Strange Rumblings in Aztlan." Rolling Stone. 28 Apr 1971: n. page. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.

Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. London: Harper Collins, 1972. Print.
Thompson, Hunter S. Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga. New York City: Random House, 1966. Print.

Thompson, Hunter S. Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 2004. Print. http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mceho6420p1qhoi9qo1_500.jpg
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