Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman sit down with a funeral director to discuss Thompson's funeral plans, which include erecting a 150-foot tall 'gonzo' monument consisting of a giant cylinder topped with a double-thumbed fist, from which will be ejected a capsule containing Thompson's ashes, which will explode, thus distributing his mortal remains across the Colorado landscape. While Hunter is describing this bizarre edifice, Steadman sits quietly to the side, sketching out Thompson's mad vision for the funeral director, who seems to take the two maniacs sitting in his office at face value; when Hunter S. Thompson asks him 'We're looking for something 'Albert Speer-ish'...you know who Albert Speer is?', he gamely responds 'Yeah...I think so. I think I met him once...'Oh, Uncle Duke. You madman. You goddamn madman. We were all set to believe you'd live forever, you fool, no matter how fatalistic you could be. But at least you outlived Nixon. I know you knew this, cause you crowed mightily about it. I'm going to have that as a consolation right now. At least you outlived Nixon, you crazy bastard.- excerpted from an online review of the BBC documentary Fear & Loathing on the Way to Hollywood
It wasn't political, was it? It couldn't have been political, no matter how loudly you agonized when the prevailing climate wasn't the way you liked. And you'd have been the last person I'd have expected to do himself in just because some idiot is in office. That's a cop-out. We live through administrations we didn't like. You raged through them. When you ran against the Republican mayor with a crewcut in 1970, you shaved your head so you could refer to him as "my long-haired opponent." So that can't be it. So maybe it was a health thing. Maybe you knew something was up, something that you wouldn't be able to kick. You couldn't have turned into an invalid. There was no way. I can see you taking final control like that. It's not driving a speeding car off a hill into a gas station, though -- but it's one last stubbornly defiant scream.
You made us scream, too. You made us angry. You made us confused. You made us wonder what parts we were reading were real, and what were Gonzoed up for the benefit of the story. I stand by my opinion that Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 is the best piece of political journalism ever written, simply because while there may be bullshit there, it's not bullshit. If that makes sense.
So I poured the Wild Turkey 101. I poured one for you, too, but you're not here so I had to down it for you. I hope you don't mind. I wanted to get out and break stuff in your memory, I wanted to holler curses in foreign tongues at passersby, I wanted to be angry for you because you're not going to have the chance to be angry anymore.
Only I'm not. I'm staying at home writing in a LiveJournal as if I was writing directly to you, as you'd have given two wet ones about what an anonymous reader wanted to say about you online. (That's the difference between you and me, there. I say I'd want to do something; you'd have actually gone out and done it. Or at least written that you'd done it. Guess I wasn't a keen a student as I could've been -- but I recognize goddamn genius when I see it.)
And really, what would it serve besides gratification for the here and now? There's no battle to be won because of it. And there's always one fight you end up losing in the end.
And that, I think, was the handle--that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting--on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark--the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.Even after showing defeat, you'd rear on back and find another trimuph to go for. And to that, you crazy motherfucker, I drink. Enjoy what's next.
And maybe Oscar Acosta will finally show up at your funeral.