Monday, November 26, 2007

Gonzo

I read this book for the same reason I stare at an auto accident and then drive around the block for a better look.

This is the story of a horrible wreck. Lives were damaged in many ways.

I subscribed to Rolling Stone in the early seventies. Hunter Thompson was a writer for it at that time. It's possible I read some of his stuff but I don't remember. I haven't since.

My memory of him was of his drug and alcohol excess. That is what this book is mostly about.

It was also about how he would borrow money and not pay it back, how he would steal, about various crimes he would commit and about how hard it was to get him to do his job.

Yet he was a hero. He was an icon. He was the pinnacle of the drug, alcohol and sex generation. I think that is why it was hard for his peers to criticize him. To do so would call into question all they had fought for.

It was the same reason the feminists couldn't denounce Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinski scandal.

A recurring theme in the book was how hard it was to get Hunter to do his writing. The drugs and alcohol got in the way. It was always late if at all. Assistants and editors would be driven close to insanity with the process.

He was on the lecture circuit for a while but even though he could have made millions, his lifestyle was in competition. He would either be hours late, not show up at all or be incoherent.

It's amazing that he lived as long as he did. He ended his life with a .45 slug through his mouth and brain stem. His grandson was in the other room.

After his death, his fans held him up as a man totally in control of his life to the end. They say he decided how he would live and how he would die.

He may have ended his life but he didn't control how he lived it. His personal demons did that. The drugs and alcohol ruled.

To someone with experience of a transformed life this is a particularly sad story. Things could have been different.

The fun turned to tragedy. Many people besides Hunter were hurt by the way he lived and the example he set.

So what about us? What is trying to get control of our life?

Is something controlling us, are we trying to control our life or is God in control of our life? Don’t live life Hunter’s way.

Philip

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