Friday and the air conditioner has been dead for two days. Luckily I have my experience of proper fan placement learned from all those years spent in non-ac'd apartments in San Diego. But the key is to keep all activity, including blogging, to a minimum. After all, blogging is physically demanding. I'm starting to sweat just typing this.
To escape this heat, I hope to take in Gonzo tonight in an air-conditioned movie theater, but I definitely won't have the same experience with the documentary that Will Leitch of Deadspin had. Here is Leitch on meeting Hunter S. Thompson:
I’d like to say he was a fevered, inspirational dervish to the both of us, but that’s not true. Mostly, he just seemed like a sad old man, stuck in a role he invented for himself but would never be able to escape. It was depressing, even for a 24-year-old who hadn’t done shit, to see an American journalistic titan reduced to asking two stranger kids –- children, really –- to relive his great moments for him, moments that were long, long gone. When we left that night, driving to Las Vegas straight, we broke our slackjawed silence only to mock him, to vow that would never happen to us.
Watching “Gonzo” last night, seeing those last days, when Hunter was trapped playing the part of “Hunter,” typing out limp retreads of his blistering early work, I was struck with how much we were the problem. Not just us. All those who met with the Good Doctor to tell their friends about it, to share Crazy Hunter Thompson stories. All those editors who let him get away with anything, especially toward the end, when there was nothing on the page but a legend trampling on himself, because that was all he had left to do.
And yet, as the movie points out, he had one last great piece in him. His piece for ESPN, after September 11, pretty much nails every single world event that was going to happen over the next seven years, events he would blissfully miss out on. At the time, when I read that column, I hated it. I didn’t want to hear about wars and rantings and warblings; I just wanted to drink and hit my head against things. But he was right. It still feels a little bit like Hunter. Even if ESPN was just letting him do whatever he wanted, because, Christ, Hunter S. Thompson is writing for us. Even with assholes like us, dropping by, trying to live off the old man for a while, get a story they can tell people in a blog seven years later, feel cool. We were all making it worse. We were making the old man dance for us. And he did.