Comparisons in a Confused Universe

August 25th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

” If sex is so much fun how come old whores don’t do much giggling”-Hunter Thompson
Written by Le Duke de Fromage
Confused, Erratic, Humorous, Bewildering and at times painfully truthful describes reading Hunter Thompson, but it sure is fun. Author Tom Wolfe called Hunter Thompson the greatest comic writer of the 20th century. In response Hunter Thompson called Tom Wolfe numerous things -all unflattering.
Hunter Thompson died Feb.2005, Jack Kerouac died Oct.1969. There are certain parallels between the two that continue to be questioned today. In death,both choose suicide as a means of escape. Kerouac by excessive drinking, Thompson by a shot fired into his head. In an illogical universe Thompson was a natural succession to ‘Beat’ literature. In fact, their lives were strangely similar. Thompson popularized ‘Gonzo’ journalism, a style written without claims of objectivity often as a first person narrative. Use of sarcasm,humor,exaggeration and profanity is common. Kerouac ,a leading exponent of Beat journalism, a form that included rejection of values and disdain for ruling class. “Comparisons are odious”, claimed both Marlowe and Shakespeare. Possibly, but sometimes necessary in order to establish lines of clarity.
“Don’t touch me I am full of snakes”,-Jack Kerouac
Both authors wrote in an abuse fueled frenzy, Hunter often haunted by delusions and strange visions, at times unable to complete. Kerouac as a means to finish in one long marathon of alcohol and uppers. In life, there is no evidence they actually met, nor is there evidence that Kerouac was aware of Thompson. Conversely,Thompson was acutely aware of Kerouac and had met more than several of his friends.The list included Allan Ginsburg, Greg Corso, and Neil Cassidy. Thompson was enamored of Cassidy and stated that Kerouac’s use of him in “On the Road” had influenced his thinking. He also stated that Kerouac’s confessional prose made an impact on his own philosophy for living. He later said that his own wonder-lust made Kerouac look like a piker.
“Too strange to live, too rare to die”- Hunter Thompson
The similarities of their lives draw strange conclusions. They both had fathers who deserted them, strong mother’s influence and both athletic, Jack football,Hunter baseball.Each had attended Columbia. both had taken memorable cross-country trips and both had alter egos, Jack’s was Sal Paradise, Hunter had Raoul Duke.As a result the pressure to live up to the legends helped destroy them.They also shared a certain disdain for women, which is evident in a great deal of their published works. Women were either objects of scorn ,sex, or no great importance. Curious, considering both were raised by strong women whom they held in high esteem. Although Hunter’s mother suffered from alcoholism. They were mediocre husbands and not considered very good lovers.Both were self destructive in abusing alcohol and drugs, and a hatred for authority, class elitism, and a conventional thinking which was strongly voiced in their works. See Thompson’s ranting hatred for Richard Nixon.
” I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion”-Jack Kerouac
Toward the end of their lives, they both suffered from years of alcohol and drug abuse, Their writings faltered and both were accused of rehashing old material due to their inability to produce. It appears they had either lost interest or were unable to to generate enough enthusiasm to write. Hunter Thompson realized he was sick, tired of life and decided to to end it. Jack Kerouac lost in alcohol died of abuse. Two writers, great impact. Did Kerouac have more of an impact on Thompson than he admitted? or was gonzo journalism a logical extension of the beat style of writing?
Whadayathink, connected, similar, or nothing alike?
[some writers quotes from]

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One Response to “Comparisons in a Confused Universe”

  1. Michael Tabor Says:

    Some very interesting factoids about this prodigiously talented writer yet very flawed human being. I have never met a person, whether they’re big readers or not, who hasn’t had some sort of strong opinion about Hunter, good or bad. Most people can’t get enough of him, then grow tried of him, and then move on. An acquaintance of mine thought the whole tough guy thing was an act, and I couldn’t help agree with him in terms of his over-the-top machismo. However for me, it was Hunter Thompson’s style of writing – ‘Gonzo journalism, which attracted me to him. My Favorite book is actually “Hell’s Angels’, a book I plan to reread.

    I think what a lot of people miss about Hunter, is his sense of humor, sarcasm, and exagerrated way of expressing himself (something my friend “didn’t get”). Again, we see this mother fixation – I seriously must blog about this; just so uncanny how all of these wildly eccentric men can’t let go of mommy.

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