Height of Hunter S. Thompson
The height of Hunter S. Thompson is …m.
1. Where did Hunter S. Thompson come from ?
Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author, and the founder of the gonzo journalism movement. He first rose to prominence with the publication of Hell’s Angels (1967), a book for which he spent a year living and riding with the Hells Angels motorcycle club to write a first-hand account of the lives and experiences of its members.
2. What could we know about Hunter S. Thompson besides his height ?
In 1970, he wrote an unconventional magazine feature titled “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved” for Scanlan’s Monthly, which both raised his profile and established him as a writer with counterculture credibility. It also set him on a path to establishing his own subgenre of New Journalism that he which name is “Gonzo”, which was essentially an ongoing experiment in which the writer becomes a central figure and even a participant in the events of the narrative.
3. What are the projects of Hunter S. Thompson ?
Thompson remains best known for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971), a book first serialized in Rolling Stone in which he grapples with the implications of what he considered the failure of the 1960s counterculture movement. It was adapted on movie twice: loosely in Where the Buffalo Roam starring Bill Murray as Thompson in 1980, and directly in 1998 by director Terry Gilliam in a movie starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro. The Doonesbury cartoon character Uncle Duke – who was modeled after Thompson – pens an essay about “my shoplifting conviction” titled “Fear and Loathing at Macy’s Menswear”, a reference to Thompson’s book.
4. Somme collaborations with Hunter S. Thompson ?
Politically minded, Thompson ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, in 1970 on the Freak Power ticket. His run for sheriff is chronicled in the documentary movie Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb. He became well known for his dislike of Richard Nixon, who he claimed represented “that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character”. He covered Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign for Rolling Stone and later collected the stories in book form as Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.
Thompson’s output notably declined from the mid-1970s, as he struggled with the consequences of fame, and he complained that he could no longer merely report on events, as he was too easily recognized. He was also known for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal narcotics, his love of firearms, and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism. He often remarked: “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”
Thompson died by suicide at the age of 67, following a series of health problems. In accordance with his wishes, his ashes were fired out of a cannon in a ceremony funded by his friend Johnny Depp and attended by friends including then-Senator John Kerry and Jack Nicholson. Hari Kunzru wrote, “the true voice of Thompson is revealed to be that of American moralist … one who often makes himself ugly to expose the ugliness he sees around him.”
Thompson was born into a middle-class family in Louisville, Kentucky, the first of three sons of Virginia Ray Davison (1908, Springfield, Kentucky – March 20, 1998, Louisville), who worked as head librarian at the Louisville Free Public Library and Jack Robert Thompson (September 4, 1893, Horse Cave, Kentucky – July 3, 1952, Louisville), a public insurance adjuster and World War I veteran. His parents were introduced to each other by a friend from Jack’s fraternity at the University of Kentucky in September 1934, and married on November 2, 1935. The Guardian journalist Nicholas Lezard, stated that Thompson’s first name, Hunter, came from an ancestor on his mother’s side, the Scottish surgeon John Hunter. A more likely explanation is that Thompson’s first and middle name, Hunter Stockton, came from his maternal grandparents, Prestly Stockton Ray and Lucille Hunter.
On December 2, 1943, when Thompson was six years old, the family settled at 2437 Ransdell Avenue in the affluent Cherokee Triangle neighborhood of The Highlands. On July 3, 1952, when Thompson was 14 years old, his father, aged 58, died of myasthenia gravis. Hunter and his brothers were raised by their mother. Virginia worked as a librarian to support her children, and is described as having become a “heavy drinker” following her husband’s death.
Interested in sports and athletically inclined from a young age, Thompson co-founded the Hawks Athletic Club while attending I.N. Bloom Elementary School, which led to an invitation to join Louisville’s Castlewood Athletic Club, a club for adolescents that prepared them for high-school sports. Ultimately, he never joined any sports teams in high school.
Thompson attended I.N. Bloom Elementary School, Highland Middle School, and Atherton High School, before transferring to Louisville Male High School in September 1952. Also in 1952, he was accepted as a member of the Athenaeum Literary Association, a school-sponsored literary and social club that dated to 1862. Its members at the time, generally drawn from Louisville’s wealthy upper-class families, included Porter Bibb, who later became the first publisher of Rolling Stone at Thompson’s behest. During this time, Thompson read and admired J. P. Donleavy’s The Ginger Man.
As an Athenaeum member, Thompson contributed articles to and helped produce the club’s yearbook The Spectator. The group ejected Thompson in 1955, citing his legal problems. Charged as an accessory to robbery after being in a car with the perpetrator, Thompson was sentenced to 60 days in Kentucky’s Jefferson County Jail. He served 31 days and, a week after his release, enlisted in the United States Air Force. While he was in jail, the school superintendent refused him permission to take his high-school final examinations, and as a result he did not graduate.
Thompson completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and transferred to Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois, to study electronics. He applied to become an aviator, but the Air Force’s aviation-cadet program rejected his application. In 1956, he transferred to Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Florida. While serving at Eglin, he took evening classes at Florida State University. At Eglin, he landed his first professional writing job as sports editor of The Command Courier by lying about his job experience. As sports editor, Thompson traveled around the United States with the Eglin Eagles football team, covering its games. In early 1957, he wrote a sports column for The Playground News, a local newspaper in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. His name did not appear on the column because Air Force regulations forbade outside employment.
Thompson was discharged from the Air Force in November 1957 as an airman first class, his commanding officer having recommended him for an early honorable discharge. “In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy,” chief of information services Colonel William S. Evans wrote to the Eglin personnel office. “Sometimes his rebel and superior attitude seems to rub off on other airmen staff members.”
After leaving the Air Force, Thompson worked as sports editor for a newspaper in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, before relocating to New York City. There he audited several courses at the Columbia University School of General Studies. During this time he worked briefly for Time as a copy boy for $51 a week. While working, he used a typewriter to copy F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms in order to learn about the writing styles of the authors. In 1959 Time fired him for insubordination. Later that year, he worked as a reporter for The Middletown Daily Record in Middletown, New York. He was fired from this job after damaging an office candy machine and arguing with the owner of a local restaurant who happened to be an advertiser with the paper.
In 1960, Thompson moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to take a job with the sporting magazine El Sportivo, which ceased operations soon after his arrival. Thompson applied for a job with the Puerto Rican English-language daily The San Juan Star, but its managing editor, future novelist William J. Kennedy, turned him down. Nonetheless, the two became friends. After the demise of El Sportivo, Thompson worked as a stringer for the New York Herald Tribune and for a few stateside papers on Caribbean issues, with Kennedy working as his editor. After returning to the United States, Thompson hitchhiked along U.S. Highway 40, eventually ending up in Big Sur working as a security guard and caretaker at Slates Hot Springs for an eight-month period in 1961, just before it became the Esalen Institute. While there, he published his first magazine feature (in the nationally distributed Rogue magazine) on the artisan and bohemian culture of Big Sur.
During this period, Thompson wrote two novels, Prince Jellyfish and The Rum Diary, and submitted many short stories to publishers – with little success. The Rum Diary, based on Thompson’s experiences in Puerto Rico, was not published until 1998.
From May 1962 to May 1963, Thompson traveled to South America as a correspondent for a Dow Jones-owned weekly newspaper, the National Observer. In Brazil, he spent several months as a reporter for the Brazil Herald, the country’s only English-language daily, published in Rio de Janeiro. His longtime girlfriend Sandra Dawn Conklin (or Sandy Conklin Thompson, subsequently Sondi Wright) later joined him in Rio. They married on May 19, 1963, shortly after returning to the United States, and lived briefly in Aspen, Colorado, where they had a son, Juan Fitzgerald Thompson (he is born in March 23, 1964). Hunter and Sandy divorced in 1980.
In 1964, the family relocated to Glen Ellen, California, where Thompson continued to write for the National Observer on an array of domestic subjects. One story told of his 1964 visit to Ketchum, Idaho, to investigate the reasons for Ernest Hemingway’s suicide. While there, he stole a pair of elk antlers hanging above the front door of Hemingway’s cabin. Thompson severed his ties with the Observer after his editor refused to print his review of Tom Wolfe’s 1965 essay-collection The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, and moved to San Francisco. He immersed himself in the drug and hippie culture taking root in the area, and soon began writing for the Berkeley underground paper Spider.
In 1965 Carey McWilliams, editor of The Nation, hired Thompson to write a story about the Hells Angels motorcycle club in California. At the time Thompson was living in a house in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood very near the Hells Angels’ house—which, incidentally, was across from the Grateful Dead. His article appeared on May 17, 1965, and after that he received several book offers and spent the next year living and riding with the club. The relationship broke down when the bikers perceived that Thompson was exploiting them for personal gain and demanded a share of the profits from his writings. An argument at a party resulted in Thompson suffering a savage beating (or “stomping”, as the Angels referred to it). Random House published the hard-cover Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs in 1966, and the fight between Thompson and the Angels was well-marketed. CBC Television even broadcast an encounter between Thompson and Hells Angel Skip Workman before a live studio audience.
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