Monday, July 4, 2011

Suicide Notes: Hunter S Thompson

(A new category of topic, arising from my son's discussions on the suicide note left by Hunter S Thompson)

"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won't hurt." 

-       Suicide note of Hunter S Thompson (1937-2005),
who committed suicide by self inflicted gunshot wound.

Hunter Stockton Thompson, American journalist and author, was the writer of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the creator of what came to be known as gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories.  Thompson was also known for his unrepentant lifelong use of alcohol and drugs (including LSD, mescaline, cocaine), his love of firearms and his hatred of authoritarianism and Richard Nixon.  His suicide when he was suffering a bout of chronic health problems, the fatal shot being fired whilst he was on the phone to his wife, who was at a gym. In accordance with his wishes, his ashes were fired from a cannon atop a tower, along with fireworks.  The funeral was funded by friend Johnny Depp.

Btw, it was not Thompson who coined the term “gonzo journalism”, that came from Bill Cardoso, a Boston journalist who wrote to Thompson in 1970 about one of Thompson’s articles "This is it, this is pure Gonzo. If this is a start, keep rolling."  Thompson was later to comment “Gonzo all started with Bill Cardosa…after I wrote the Kentucky Derby piece for Scanlan’s…It’s the first time I realized you could write different. And…I got this note from Cardosa saying, ‘That was pure Gonzo journalism!’…Some Boston word for weird, bizarre.’  The meaning of the word has today been widened.  It no longer refers only to journalism  in which the writer is a key participant, it now also means wild, crazy, exaggerated, conspicuously unconventional or unusual.  It has also been used to mean unrestrained, hedonistic, extremist as in a style.

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, shouting GERONIMO!"

The above quotation has appeared in altered form over the years, sometimes referring to chocolate and/or martini in hand and sometimes changing the word Geronimo to Woo Hoo.  Nonetheless the above quotation is the original form by Hunter S Thompson from his 1966 book Hell’s Angels, an account of his year spent riding with the outlaw motorcycle gang. The relationship when the Angels felt that they were being exploited by him and demanded a share of the profits received by him for his writing.  He ended up being savagely beaten, referred to as a “stomping” in Angels’ jargon.


  1. The only difference between the Sane and the Insane is IN and yet within this word, the Sane have the power to have the Insane locked up. - Dr Gonzo


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