Today would have been Hunter S. Thompson’s 79th birthday. I don’t make a habit of pointing out things like this, normally. The birthdays of people no longer around to comment on them. I made a post last year, on the tenth anniversary of his death, as a memoriam and a means to show how much I wish he were still around today.
The reason I’m bringing up the good doctor today, now, is because we find ourselves in the middle of an unprecedented clusterfuck of an election season and it’s one that I feel Hunter would relish in. I feel he would haul his 79 year old bones atop the roof of Woody Creek Owl Farm and, bullhorn in hand, shout to the world “I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.”
I would love to see Hunter on CNN talking about Trump, the now unstoppable Frankenstein’s monster of the GOP, and his orange skin and black heart. Or Hillary Clinton and all of her pantsuit politics and shady behind-closed-doors dealings. The new era of democracy, the choice no one should be forced to make, with people voting to elect a tainted and uncertain future just to fight against the possibility of no future at all.
This is exactly the sort of thing I would love to hear Hunter’s voice on. Maybe he would surprise us all and be a Trump supporter (though not likely), maybe he would back him as a middle finger to politics in general, as a way to tear down the whole damn thing and build it back up fresh again.
Who can say? Hunter is gone, sadly. His voice on matters, old and constant, is always out there in the form of his writing. But new matters, new faces of evil flashing their shimmering eyes from Washington, are beyond his ability to comment. We can only imagine what he’d say.
As a reminder to what fueled Hunter, aside from a passion for life and politics, here’s Hunter’s “daily routine”:
I think I’ll spend today reading The Rum Diary. You celebrate however you see fit.
Marvel Comics has started a bit of hoopla this New Comic Book Day, with the release of CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1. In this issue, Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, dons the costume once more and sets out to fight the good fight against the forces of evil. But in the closing pages, a huge twist that will have ramifications for the entire Marvel universe is revealed.
I won’t say what that twist is here, I won’t spoil for you a comic that has just come out. Comic Book Resources goes in depth with the spoiler here, if you’d like to be spoiled.
No, this isn’t about the spoiler specifically, or even the reaction to said spoiler, but rather the reaction… to the reaction of the spoiler. I know. My head hurts, too.
People are outraged by this spoiler. People are boycotting Marvel, people are threatening to burn their entire collections of Captain America comics, people are taking to Twitter and Facebook to voice their disgust. These are not the people I’m talking about.
No, the people I’m talking about are those responding to these fans. The people who are saying things like “it’s just a character!” or “it’s just a comic book, he won’t be a [SPOILER] for much longer!” or “stop overreacting!”
Here’s the thing, this particular twist isn’t the run-of-the-mill story twist. It’s not your cookie cutter plot twist that you see coming from a mile away and know in your heart will be retconned in a few issues. This twist is one that stretches all the way back to the conception of Captain America, it tarnishes the very idea of Captain America and what makes him who he is and always has been. It spits in the face of his Jewish creators in a way that is heartbreakingly sad and honestly very hard to deal with. It’s more than a simple change of personality or costume that fans don’t care for, it’s a change of the very definition of the character itself.
I feel the reaction has been justified. I feel like the people calling out fans as “overreacting” and telling them that “it’ll all be different in the next storyline, anyway! comic stories are retconned every month!” don’t get what Captain America truly symbolizes and what he means to, not just Americans in general, but a very specific cross-section of Americans.
Count me in the camp of people who hate this twist, count me among the masses who feel this is a cheap and dirty ploy to grab some media attention away from DC Comics and their big story changes going on right now (“REBIRTH”).
That said, I am willing to see where the story goes. I’m willing to see how they handle this grievous misstep in character management, this colossal misunderstanding of their own flagship character, and where they go from here. I’m a fan of story, after all.
But don’t fool yourself for one second into thinking that Marvel didn’t just do irreparable damage to one of the most beloved, and culturally important, characters in modern mythology.
Current Proof of Life:
I should not be awake. I should not be out of bed. I go back to work tonight, for another long stretch of shifts making pizzas for the denizens of the night. I should get my rest while I can. But aside from the need to run an errand or two before I return to bed, sleep has not been kind to me of late. I’ve received some pretty terrible news recently, a hiccup in my father’s road to recovery is all I’ll say about it, and so sleep eludes me. I’ll give in to exhaustion eventually, as my body will have no choice but to sleep.
March 2nd was my birthday, the 31st anniversary of my birth into this world. I worked the night before and the night after, so we called it a loss and decided to celebrate on the weekend. So, this weekend was spent trying to forget my troubles. There was chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes as a birthday dinner, there were brownies specially baked by a good friend’s mother, there was the purchase of the complete series of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. on DVD and the ordering of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D. This weekend was a gift, in many meanings.
Back to the grind tonight, back to pizza sauce, and truck drivers, and drunk people looking to get their greasy fix for the night.
Current Self Promotion:
I wrote a little something last night. It’s called Fuck You and, as you could probably guess by the title, there are some profanities involved. Find it here.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson left this world ten years ago. The world has changed a lot in ten years, a lot of changes that would have driven him mad, a lot of changes that he would have seen coming and accepted with a sort of loud resignation that only Hunter could manage.
More wars. More corrupted politics. More paranoia.
More Fear, and More Loathing.
His voice will live on forever, his writing a testament to a brilliantly broken mind, even as the last generation who could ever truly understand him slowly dies out, while the current population and the unknown masses of the future still have much to relate to in Hunter’s words.
If you’ve never read Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, I urge you to do so. If you’ve never read The Rum Diary, I urge you to do so. I urge you to seek out his essays and his sports commentary, most of which you can find online. In his own words, Hunter was “Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die”, and he truly felt to me like the last of the reckless writers, the last of the dangerous ones. His death closed a book that I’ve always felt we still need open.
Watch Hunter and Ralph Steadman tackle the world.
If you are a Netflix subscriber, you should watch Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson. If you have some time to kill, search for Hunter S. Thompson’s many appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman. There’s a sense of comfort he has when he’s talking to Dave, as it appears that Dave understood him on a level other talk show hosts and seasoned interviewers didn’t.
Everyone can celebrate the life of Hunter S. Thompson in their own way. Myself, I’m going to spend the day drinking beer, listening to music, and reading. Maybe a little writing. Maybe a little trip out into the cold.
Current Proof Of Life:
Current Auditory Stimulation:
Current Empty Promise:
I need to blog more. I need to write more. I’m far too tired on far too regular a basis, but I can not allow that to stop me. It hurts if I go too long without exorcising the demons. The cloud looms above, ever growing, ever darkening.
I have time off this week, a few days in a stretch of time away from the restless job of a midnight pizza slinger. I’ve already decided this time will be spent getting lost in background music and the piles upon piles of unread comics currently staring me in the face. I’m caught up on CAPTAIN MARVEL (god bless you, Kelly Sue DeConnick), but all other series have fallen to the wayside. This must be rectified.
Writing will fit into that. Somewhere.
Plans are also in place to vlog on a regular basis. The rumblings of a YouTube channel to be made with the wife and a good friend are being bandied about. Someday.
Another, longer blog post will follow as soon as I can. A statement that has been made since the beginning of this blog, a statement that I feel will someday be the last words ever published to this blog.
The sun is shining on Minnesota. It sends beams of light and warmth from the depths of space on a quest to light our way and warm our faces, those beams are filtered through the atmosphere, through clouds that cast such a heavenly glow to the skies above and through leaves ever green that dance upon the wind and create shadows that never rest in the same place twice.
Taking a brief walk to bask in this phenomena, while mildly uncomfortable, is recommended, as I assure you it is good for the soul. Wave to your neighbors, stop along the way to watch a squirrel scurry up the side of a tree. Close your eyes and tilt your head upward every so often, so as to allow the rays to reach your face more easily. You will not regret it.
I visited the “I Write Like:” analyzer today. I entered three samples of my writing, and these were the results:
When I write of our place in the universe, it resembles Arthur C. Clarke.
When I write of people becoming zombies, it resembles Cory Doctorow.
And when I write a boring blog entry about nothing in particular, it resembles David Foster Wallace.
I am okay with all of this.
Here is a list of famous last words of some well known authors.
Ernest Hemingway: “Goodnight my kitten.” Spoken to his wife before he killed himself.
Jane Austen: “I want nothing but death.” In response to her sister, Cassandra, who was asking her if she wanted anything.
J.M Barrie: “I can’t sleep.”
L. Frank Baum: “Now I can cross the shifting sands.”
Edgar Allan Poe: “Lord help my poor soul.”
Thomas Hobbes: “I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap into the dark,”
Alfred Jarry: “I am dying…please, bring me a toothpick.”
Hunter S. Thompson: “Relax — this won’t hurt.”
Henrik Ibsen: “On the contrary!”
Anton Chekhov: “I haven’t had champagne for a long time.”
Mark Twain: “Good bye. If we meet—” Spoken to his daughter Clara.
Louisa May Alcott: “Is it not meningitis?” Alcott did not have meningitis, though she believed it to be so. She died from mercury poison.
Jean Cocteau: “Since the day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking towards me, without hurrying.”
Washington Irving: “I have to set my pillows one more night, when will this end already?”
Leo Tolstoy: “But the peasants…how do the peasants die?”
Hans Christian Andersen: “Don’t ask me how I am! I understand nothing more.”
Charles Dickens: “On the ground!” He suffered a stroke outside his home and was asking to be laid on the ground.
H.G. Wells: “Go away! I’m all right.” He didn’t know he was dying.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “More light.”
W.C. Fields: “Goddamn the whole fucking world and everyone in it except you, Carlotta!” “Carlotta” was Carlotta Monti, actress and his mistress.
Voltaire: “Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.” When asked by a priest to renounce Satan.
Dylan Thomas: “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies…I think that’s the record.”
George Bernard Shaw: “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”
Henry David Thoreau: “Moose…Indian.”
James Joyce: “Does nobody understand?”
I’ll leave you with that, as I go off to ponder what my final utterance in this plane of existence will be. I’ll also me making hot dogs for dinner.
Hopefully my last words will not involve hot dogs.
I am currently looking out on a field of green and can feel the warmth of the sun on my face as it beams in through the window. It has been a long and difficult winter, but that time is behind us now. Now is the time of warmth and of shorts and t-shirts, of backyard swimming pools and sprinklers on the lawn. Though it has been spring, in the technical sense, since March 20th, we have gone from wondering if the frozen grip of winter would ever loosen from around our throats, to feeling as though the summer sun will pummel us into the ground with its fiery fists. Indeed, spring has done a fine job of hiding this year.
I’ve spent almost all of the day so far writing. What time I did spend away from the computer was spent trekking to the post office and the local market. The television has laid silent and still in the other room since I woke up this morning, only music has been played, only a handful of YouTube clips have been viewed. All other time has been spent writing, jumping from project to project, and I’m quite happy.
I wrote yesterday, as well. A short piece entitled The Depth of Life. It’s here if you’re interested. Another short (if rambling) piece that I completed this afternoon, called UNTITLED #1, can be found here.
There are other things in the works as well, longer things made up of smaller bits that I’ve been working on. Some bits are finished, others have been started, others still remain untouched as yet. It will all come together someday very soon.
Every so often, Alan Moore awakens from his long slumber and grants us all with his wisdom. Such wisdom can be found below:
August 27th will be the next time I attend a concert. It will be the first time I’ve been to a concert in nearly a decade, the first concert I will be attending with the wife, and the first time I will be seeing Depeche Mode in concert.
I’m very excited.
Here is Dave Gahan talking about their current world tour, their latest album, entitled Delta Machine, and his bout with cancer a few years ago.
And here is the music video for Heaven, the first single off of Delta Machine.
As I finish this post, the sun is now gone and only clouds remain. I think I’ve written enough for today and I feel it’s time to go do a bit of reading. Enough pouring out, time to soak up something someone else has written.
I’ll update again soon, though probably not as soon as I intend to.