Dead Man Talking
Ok, so I don't know who the heck Hunter Thompson is (other than the fact that's he's a dead guy now), but I do have some questions after reading about him here.
(Just as a word of warning - some of what I'm going to say is probably going to sound harsh. I would REALLY appreciate it if someone who is sympathetic to the ideas in this article could please attempt to explain how you think about the world, because I really just don't get it. I want to like him, really. Anyone named 'Hunter' has got to have something going for him. But I'm just having a hard time buying it).
So here's the scoop...
- good 'ol Hunter is 67, married to a wife of 32 (hmm, that's interesting)
- the article calls him a 'literary champ,' an 'icon' (so he was good enough to actually make money writing... impressive!)
- the guy had broken a leg and spent a year convalescing (so he's been a bit depressed, but hey, plenty of people have to deal w/ a lot worse)
- he's so depressed that he'd recently been talking about suicide w/ his family (but no one thinks he's serious)
- he's so serious that while he's talking with his wife on the phone he shoots himself w/ a .45 (a .45 being a fairly worthless caliber for anything other than suicide)
But a small circle of family and friends gathered around with stories, as he wished, with glasses full of his favored elixir — Chivas Regal on ice.Ok, I understand that the family feels terrible about losing their loved one. I am not trying to minimize that one iota. In fact, I feel awful for them. But I simply cannot fathom how anyone can look at this as heroic. How far does someone have to go before we finally say, "This was selfish, self-centered, unloving... IT WAS WRONG!"
"It was very loving. It was not a panic, or ugly, or freaky," Thompson's wife, Anita Thompson, said..."It was just like Hunter wanted. He was in control here."Anita Thompson also echoes the comments that have been made by Hunter Thompson's son and daughter-in-law: That her husband's suicide did not come from the bottom of the well, but was a gesture of strength and ultimate control made as his life was at a high-water mark.
"This is a triumph of his, not a desperate, tragic failure," Anita Thompson said by phone, recounting that she was sitting in her husband's chair he called his catbird seat in the Rockies.
She added: "He lived a beautiful life and he lived it on his own terms, all the way from the very beginning to the very end."
Anita Thompson, like her husband's other close relatives, understood how Hunter Thompson wanted to make his ultimate exit.
Now, I realize we don't like to say bad things about dead people. But at some point someone had to stand up and say 'the emporer has no clothes!'
As I read this article, what strikes me is how self-centered this man was, in both his living and his dying. Hunter spent his life controlling his circumstances and the people around him. And when the reality of life began to catch up with him - when he began to be faced with his own mortality, his own inability to control his destiny - he bailed. Bigtime. And he stuck his family members with the bill. Heartfuls of hurt that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. This is noble???
Dying for others is noble. Dying for yourself just seems selfish.
I know that sounds harsh, but I have known too many people who have had pick up the pieces after their loved ones pulled the plug, and the scars they leave are truly awful.
At the same time, I understand that people are weak, sick, tired, and scared, and people like this sometimes do desperate, evil things.
But I just don't see how we can treat such actions as a virtue. We seem to be losing the capacity to call vice, vice. To call sin, sin. To realize that no action occurs in a vacuum. Everything we do, no matter how small, touches the lives of others.
Is there anyone out there who really thinks this article got it right?