I’ve been saying for a long time that these ‘famous person’ deaths occur in threes. The Denver Post has pointed up the third; Hunter S. Thompson, who apparently shot himself.

Update: I see his last column was of a conversation with Bill Murray.

Much is explained.

Son of an Update:

In reading some of the drooling going on over this death, I am reminded of my first impressions of the man via his writings: That being that the reader must needs be totally strung out on something or another to be able to claim with a straight face that they actually got anything at all out of reading him, other than eyestrain.

To at least some degree, that perception was reinforced in watching all the various sides of Blogdom (And yes, the MSM, too) lining up with bits on the man… each putting their own spin on it all, and thinking they had some inate understanding of whatever the hell HST was talking about. Amusuingly, a lot of what I’ve been reading is directly contradictory, in their estimations. The far left and the Libertarian extremists are both singing his praises, but contradicting each other in what Thompson stood for… It’s clear neither really understood…. not that for the most part I did…. indeed; I began in the 80’s to doubt even Thompson himself understood. He seemed to me to be making stuff up as he went along.

Look… it’s true… the guy could write.  I did admire him for that ability. And as such, those looking to sell dead trees with ink on them, linked up with him… and the impressionable, upon reading this output, hailed him as some sort of spiritual leader.. a somewhat more prolific Timothy Leary.  Then again, many others also have writing ability, as blogdom rather nicely illustrates. Perhaps being a good writer anymore isn’t the whole story.

A lot of people writing in these last 24 hours have attributed the ‘baby boomer rebellion’ to him… or at least, in light of his method of exit, it’s ending.

In both cases, my answer is the same: Bunk. If anything, he was a reflection of the weirder side of the times… and nowhere near the driver’s seat at ANY point in the journey.  Here’s someone who covered Hell’s Angels from the inside in what one can only term conspiritorial tomes, and at the same time, decided Nixon was the Anti-Christ, and thereby gained a folowing in the anti-war left.  He took the weird and the rebellion against everything that was tradition, and embraced it.

In the end, though, when the rebellion he’d unwittingly inspired faded, and become a bit of memory, like an Iron Butterfly tune… and the world returned to it’s program which was already in progress, Hunter S. Thompson found himself too far out of step for even his own liking. His being weird wasn’t attracting all that many, any more, because frankly, in light of the happenings to these days, he wasn’t all that weird, anymore… the bar had been raised.

And that, in the end, is what I consider drove him over the edge into his paranoia.

If one can take his writings as indication, he was angry right up to the end… Angry at America…. it”s military, it’s current President, it’s Republican majorities, (And perhaps of larger import, the degree of popular support they have…) Agngry perhaps as the leftists were that anger alone wan’t going to cut it, in the end. Angry he could not make a more complete hostile takeover of America… as America, after the 60’s, became America, again…. as Americans, rather than ditching American culture, re-embraced it, instead.

I’m sure we’ll all be hearing in future about how the man was a combination of James Dean and James Joyce or somebody. Doesn’t matter who. Not really. He’ll be held up as some kind of hero to the rebels without a freakin’ clue of all social and political stripes. He will become the next Che, or perhaps the next Chomsky, or on the other side, (Insert libertarian hero here) and someone somwhere is going to make a pile of money off of a poster of him to pass out at political rallies… particularly ones where impressionable school kids with more wet than brains between their ears congregate.

The fact is though, that in the end, Thompson was merely one of the last victims of the paranoic 60’s counter-culture he never found it within himself to grow out of. And in the end, the paranoia that was always there, not far under the surface, took over, and pulled the trigger.

GRandson of an update: OTB has more details. They more or less confirm my read of the matter.