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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Gonzo send-off for the master of the artform

It could only have happened at a funeral for Hunter S. Thompson...

About 350 friends of the late writer - including Johnny Depp, who played Thompson in the movie version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - descended on Thompson's ranch at Woody Creek, Colorado to blast the gonzo journalist's cremated remains into the air in a fireworks display.

Here's the monument that's been raised to Thompson's memory: it's only like two feet taller than the Washington Monument (which is probably how Thompson would have wanted it) and the moment when Thompson's mortal remains were supposedly dispersed into the stratosphere...

Hunter S. Thompson has always held a lot of fascination for me, ever since I first read about him back in '89 (it was a Time magazine story that had that photo of Thompson shooting a typewriter with a shotgun out in the snow). Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is one of my all-time favorite books (and the movie just keeps getting better with each new viewing). Something about the guy's style, how it was like a running commentary of whatever flashed across his synapses (which were more often than not pretty well "chemically enhanced"). I've tried - and failed, miserably - to honor his style at times, but I just can't nail it. Maybe someday. That's one of my missions in life as a writer: to develop my own voice as a gonzo journalist, not in imitation but inspired somewhat by Thompson... minus the drugs 'course :-P

Anyway, I thought it would be pretty fitting to honor his memory (even though others may not agree with me doing so) with a journalistic nod of my own. Happy trails "Raoul Duke", wherever you are...

You can read more about Thompson's funeral here.