He got in trouble with the Hells Angels, called his house a fortified compound, pioneered Gonzo journalism, ran for sheriff (and nearly won), wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, loved guns, usually had coke and a few sticks of dynamite lying around his house, was brilliant, irascible, mercurial. Pissed a lot of people off but inspired more than one generation. On 2005, aged 67, he shot himself. At his funeral, a private ceremony, Thompson’s ashes were fired from a cannon atop a 153-foot tower of his own design (in the shape of a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button) to the tune of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” and Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Red, white, blue, and green fireworks were launched along with his ashes. Now THAT is how you go out (the cannon and fireworks, I mean)
“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, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.”
Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak arabic, love music, and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers, and warriors.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.
So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?
Hopes rise and dreams flicker and die. Love plans for tomorrow and loneliness thinks of yesterday. Life is beautiful and living is pain. The sound of music floats down a dark street.
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.
I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes.
America… just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I’m here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba…
THE EDGE– there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.
A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
A word to the wise is infuriating.
If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people – including me – would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.
Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish—a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow—to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested . . . Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.
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 . . . honking the horn, and the lights on, and just sit there in space for an instant, a human bomb, and fall down into that mess of steel mills. It’d be a tremendous goddam explosion. No pain. No one would get hurt. I’m pretty sure, unless they’ve changed the highway, that launching place is still there. As soon as I get home, I ought to take the drive just to check it out.
There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation. It’s a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.
In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.
It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.
You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when its waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye.
The Sixties were an era of extreme reality. I miss the smell of tear gas. I miss the fear of getting beaten.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
You better take care of me Lord, if you don’t you’re gonna have me on your hands.