The greatest truth-teller of our time is gone

Dr. Russell Barclay

The greatest truth-teller and professional addict of our age is gone. We shall not see his like again. The young know not what they missed. The old can only reach for their ether and breath deeply of the stuff of Gonzo. I weep for today’s youth who ignored him, even as I drink to the children of the seventies blessedly raised in the literary shadow of America’s Doctor of Journalism, goddamnit!

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson may have seen us as bleating sheep, or looked out upon us and hallucinated pink elephants from time to time, but he was not all wrong in seeing us so. We’ve turned into a generation of swine, academic geeks, and insurance peddlers who tread the high thin line of red craziness. We’re all hair styles and polyester…J Crew and limp professions. Not one among us packs enough firepower to shoot a passing Oldsmobile for no good reason. And that’s just not right.

From now on we ride alone and benighted. Thompson showed us the fat, rancid, somewhat pimply underbelly of America. He did it with a power and style that compelled laughter and tears. He skewered the powerful and the rubes alike. Nobody was safe, nor should they be.

So vexed am I that I took out my .44 magnum and wandered out into the snow to shoot an oak…maybe a larch. Hard to tell at night. And so what? There are no innocent trees, just a bunch of gringo stiffs posing in the fading light.

And that’s the way he left us. Just outside the campfire, peering in at the actors.