July 18 ~  Braved the Storm of Life Great Shark Hunt

"So we shall let the reader answer the question for himself. Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?" ~ Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson

Counterculture journalist Hunter Stocton Thompson (1937–2005) was born on this day in Louisville, Kentucky. The son of an insurance salesman and star athlete in high school, he joined the Air Force where he began his writing career.

He observed: "Enough is never enough, and even more is usually inadequate."

Thompson pioneered New Journalism--or gonzo journalism--in which the writer made himself key to the story with irreverent and subjective observations. He catapulted to fame as a writer for Rolling Stone and Playboy and with the creative nonfiction Hell's Angels (1966) and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972).

"Fiction is based on reality unless you’re a fairytale artist," Thompson said.

His essays were known for their brilliant insight about the state of American politics and culture. Whether the subject was Richard Nixon, sports, Hell's Angels, drugs, Watergate, or Las Vegas, Hunter wrapped his words around his topic with outrageous humor and explosive passion, forever capturing his vision of life in the turbulent 60s and 70s.

"He spent his life in search of an honest man, and he seldom found any," said James Silberman, his longtime editor.

Thompson also was the model for the character of hard-living "Uncle Duke" in Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury comic strip."I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone," Thompson wrote, "but they've always worked for me."

"Obviously, my drug use is exaggerated or I would be long since dead," he told a USA Today reporter in 1990.

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"So long and Mahalo."