Literature | Hunter S. Thompson: eggs, sausages and drugs for breakfast – El Salto

It all starts each day with four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, coffee, Rangoon pancakes, half a pound of sausage, eggs Benedict, a slice of key lime pie and cocaine for dessert. There should also be two or three newspapers, a phone and a notebook to plan the next 24 hours.

This is how Hunter S. Thompson described his bizarre breakfasts in an interview, once again feeding the character that gobbled up the man behind Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

I have no idea what to think about Thompson. I am not referring to outlining an opinion among the hundreds that we support every day, I am talking about giving a minimally accurate vision about his life and work, dissecting his personality, the companies that influenced him and his message to the world. That task is dizzying to me, it is easy to get lost in the labyrinthine tangle of words, actions and thought that Thompson exposed in life.

So I will treat the Thompson figure as two opposite people reluctantly renting the head of the same person.

On one side the most unknown Thompson, the tall and devastatingly handsome young man with a soft voice who achieved the trust of the interlocutor for his best stories. The journalist who managed to infiltrate the Hell’s Angels to learn firsthand his rituals and thoughts that he later materialized in his best book Hell’s Angels a strange and terrible saga.

His crowd of followers admire Thompson’s self-destructive capacity, however little is known about his beginnings and the identity traits that called him to create a new paradigm in journalism.

Thompson worked during his youth as Copy in the magazine Hour for 51 dollars a week and used his free time to transcribe with a machine The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald and goodbye to arms by Ernest Hemingway. What he was really looking for was immerse yourself in the style of the authors, word by word, feeling the writing in your hands as it happens.

Thompson’s message is clear: look for your influences, learn from the greatest and steal what you need to continue your path. Later, the author acknowledged in an interview that since he was young he wanted to be “The new Scott Fitzgerald”. And he is curious, he did not even require the same talent for writing, he used a new journalistic model, that of fluid writing where he himself is the protagonist. The journalism gonzo.

To some extent he adopted Faulkner’s premise that fiction is often the best fact. His writing is essentially true, as real as pure subjectivism can be. From my point of view, this was his great success: reinvent journalism and offer future generations a new path.

Thompson didn’t have a life to celebrate. His dabbling with drugs were constant, in fact they were part of his creative process. On Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas he makes an apology for debauchery, but you can still feel the author’s sharp humor and the painful sincerity that consumed him.

Contact with reality fractured Thompson’s existence. As if at a certain moment he was poisoned by understanding the mechanism that winds up the world and he had no choice but to live under anesthesia to endure the moments to come.

We had that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of old and bad. Not in an evil or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy prevailed without more. There was no point in fighting, neither on our side nor on theirs. We had all the momentum; We were riding the crest of a high and wonderful wave. And less than five years later, you could climb a steep hill in Las Vegas and look to the west, and if you have enough eyesight, you could see the line that marked the level of maximum reach of the waters… that place where the waves had broken at end and had begun to recede. Wave.

Thompson was aware of the measure of things, of their inevitable expiration and for this reason, in his writing and in his time on Earth, he let himself be carried away by the present. Gonzo journalism is just that, the author’s apnea in the depths of a story: narrated without duplicity or time to breathe.

In Thompson you have to do a constant batting exercise, separate the substantial thought from the excesses, the extravagance or the destructive tendencies. That embryo of excessive life that accompanied him always ended up colonizing his existence. The character swallowed the man.

The writer is sadly known for his sexual abuse. In 1990 Gail Palmer Slater denounced him for sexual assault and throwing whiskey at him. To celebrate his release without charge he organized an orgy at Woody Creek Tavern. His first wife, Sandy, also mentioned in several interviews that he often had manic bouts.

His journey to the abyss ended at the age of 67 when he decided to take his own life with a shot to the head.

Thompson is the deconstruction of the American dream and, in the end, only the pieces remain that some of us try to unify. Thompson obsessed with current information. Gun loving Thompson. Thompson’s father worried about his children. Thompson stoned to the brim as he writes. Thompson leaving his suicide note. No time to pause.

“No more games. No more bombs. No more rides. No more fun. No more swimming. 67 years old. It’s been 17 since I was 50. That’s 17 more years than I wanted or needed. Bored. I am always unbearable. I’m not fun for anyone. I’m getting greedy. Behave according to your advanced age. Just relax. It won’t hurt.” Suicide note.