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The End of the Counter-Culture

Hunter S. Thompson, 1939 - 2005.

11:00 PM, Feb 21, 2005 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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Thompson, as I can say from personal witness, was not flattered by the Doonesbury valentine. "I don't steal from his stuff, do I?" Thompson grunted in a bar one afternoon in San Francisco. For him, imitation, or caricature, was the least sincere form of flattery, and in his bilious reaction there might have resided a microscopic element of self-awareness. He may well have understood that the drugs, gunfire, motorcycle mishaps, public rantings, and widespread adulation in which he was immersed were evanescent, and that his books were too thin to keep his memory alive for very long.

One must imagine that in his own middle '60s Hunter Thompson looked into the mirror and saw that nobody needed a gonzo interpretation of the world after September 11, that nobody was amused by his capacity to survive fatal doses of sinister concoctions, and that, increasingly, nobody knew or cared who he was.

He was flattered to be described as chronicler of "the death of the American dream." In reality, he described a nightmare from which America awoke years ago.

Stephen Schwartz is a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard.