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News From the Front

Anita Thompson, the young widow of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, recently announced she will open up the great man’s Owl Farm compound as a museum. She says his office and living area are virtually unchanged since his death, so visitors will get a genuine view of how the King of Gonzo worked and lived.

She has also said that only three people per day will be allowed to take the informal tour, which will be capped with a cocktail.

I have a strong feeling that some of the Great Men and Noble Saints of the past, now viewed as transcendental angels whose feet never touched the ground, were, in fact, flat-out hell-raisers and stone lunatics.

I’m also getting the vibe that Anita doesn’t plan on trying to “rehabilitate” Hunter’s reputation. Which is refreshing. Usually, by now, those in charge of a deceased drunken master’s estate have rolled out several large barrels of whitewash and got to work with the biggest brushes they can lay their hands on.Now, those are tough odds, considering how many HST acolytes are out there, but I totally get it. I don’t think Hunter would have dug having his yard paved into a parking lot, a gift shop in his living room and a long line of looky-loos parading through his digs.

Not that she has much choice. Some people’s reputations defy whitewashing, and Hunter’s is one of them. It’d be like trying to lay a coat of paint on hot lava. If anything, judging by the biographies that have appeared since his death, his wildassness will be magnified and compounded, for good or ill. You won’t be soon seeing any articles in the Atlantic revealing Hunter was actually a sweet sensitive soul who spent his summers swimming with the dolphins and teaching blind orphans to read down in Guatemala.

At least not in our lifetimes. But once all the living witnesses are dead and the lava begins to cool, biographies tend to change. I have a strong feeling that some of the Great Men and Noble Saints of the past, now viewed as transcendental angels whose feet never touched the ground, were, in fact, flat-out hellraisers and stone lunatics.  That they ripped shit up so much their survivors built huge rock structures over their graves, not as the “monuments” they’re presently mistaken for, but because they were afraid the wild bastards would claw their way out of the dirt and pick up where they left off.

Who knows, a thousand years from now they might say Hunter was a clean-living teetotaler who specialized in quiet prayer and carrying beggars around on his back, just to stay humble, and his remains were shot out of a cannon because he wanted to get closer to the Cosmic Equation or whatever the hell they’ll be worshipping in the 31st century.

Which is why I think it’s very important that Anita accept my request to go on one of those special tours. I’m not only a good listener but also the sort of fellow to keep the flame tended. If the Atlantic does get around to writing some awful lies about Hunter being a PC jellyfish, I’ll personally drive to their offices and put a tear gas grenade through their front window, just because that’s how the good doctor would have wanted it.

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