So Hunter S. Thompson kills himself and suddenly he’s a hero. Suddenly I go to a bookstore and there are his books, strategically placed at the front of the shop, on the counter, very near the cash register, as if to say, "We’ve always loved this man. We’ve always thought his writing was piercing, ironic and bursting with dramatic statements about the corruption of the American political system." Stuff like that. Like what Nick Hornby says about kids who were always punk rock. The employees of the independent bookstore were always liberal, open-minded, idea-worshiping people and it didn’t happen the day they found the independent coffee-shop with all the cool vintage-contemporary furniture and the thoughtful looking chess-player with his tweed jacket and elbow patches, as if that day wasn’t also the very day they discovered Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the complete works of Hunter S. Thompson. A very loaded day, but all the same. It’s all the same. A bunch of crap.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. I think it’s ridiculous that the media worships the weak artistic type whose life is finalized in a culminating moment marked by self-murder. What kind of mixed message is being promoted through idolizing "artists" who blow their brains out, while imprisoning the sociopath who blow out the brains of their neighbors? Anyway, that’s not exactly what I’m so annoyed about. I don’t really have a huge problem with suicide unless it directly affects me. I feel bad for the people left behind, but I can think of a few people who ought to just do themselves in. I won’t name names. The main problem I see is that some celebrity-jerk is immortalized because he/she is weak and takes the easy way out, while the strong celebrities who survive and die of natural causes just fade away and are mentioned in a stupid blip at the edge of the newspaper as in: Deaths today: Bill Rosenrosen, star of the daytime hit "Sand through the Hourglass" etc. Instead of the suicide headline like:
BILL ROSENROSEN BLOWS HIS BRAINS OUT,
MAID FINDS BODY IN BATHTUB
followed by a lengthy description of the death scene, his family situation, and a detailed account of every major or minor work or influence he’s had on anything from television to salad dressings.
Celebrities who live long lives and dedicate a portion of their funds and time to charity are sorely overlooked, to the detriment of the masses. Celebrities who remain faithful to their spouses and families, put them first, are ignored. Writers who are not manic-depressive and die of natural causes are thought to be boring. A writer with too many demons for good mental health is worshipped regardless of the amount of destruction he might have caused in his life. And obsessing over celebrities is unhealthy.
Here’s my disclaimer for anyone who might actually read anything I’ve written: I have nothing personal against Hunter S. Thompson. I’ve never seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, nor have I read any of his writing. I was using his suicide as an example of a malaise in the media. Nothing more. Thank you.