Famous for being famous | VailDaily.com

Famous for being famous

Don Rogers

Las Vegas is thriving like never before. Hunter S. Thompson is dead. Dead from shooting himself in his own kitchen, barrel in his mouth, shortly after a conversation with his young, young wife. What more do you want to know about the great American Fantasy (not to be confused with that infernal “Dream”)? It ain’t a promise.Thompson in life was a one-trick cowboy, the ultimate maverick. Mostly, in that uniquely American way, he was famous for being famous. His last great work came before Richard M. Nixon resigned from the White House, before Watergate became a household word.Ever since, Thompson was no more than a cult icon, most suited as a sort of anti-Hollywood Squares regular. His greater contribution than “gonzo” journalism was to make Gary Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” a larger literary work than “Fear and Loathing,” “Hells Angels,” the other “Fear and Loathing” (marketing schtick now?) and the rest of Thompson’s overrated works combined. And to think Thompson didn’t even invent the peculiar genre that at root made a lie of journalism. Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese were the true pioneers of gonzo. Thompson, a newspaper sportswriter, simply took it to an extreme, stamped it with a goofy name, and profited from being supremely outrageous about it. Hey, it worked. Good for him. Ward Churchill no doubt took notes. Too bad gross exaggeration for effect has become blase by now.One wag said Hunter could make hyperbole sound more like the truth than the actual truth. What genius. Vail, Colorado

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