Rolling Stone Magazine is turning 40. It just released its first digital issue. I was a teenager when it first came out and read it religiously. I subscribed for years. I still read it from time to time.
So, it's painful for me to see there's been a brouhaha in the media this week about Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour's biography of Hunter Thompson. For a quick recap, check out:
- This NY Daily News article
- The LA Times Review which really hurt Hunter's wife, Anita Thompson
- This Washington Times article defending Hunter's later writing and Anita
- Anita responding on her Owl Farm Blog.
I'm not going to slam Wenner's book, I haven't read the whole thing -- just the 8 pages of excerpts in Rolling Stone last month, which I read on an airplane and enjoyed. Even Anita says there's some good stuff in the book.
But Anita very much disagrees with Wenner's characterization of Hunter (see the LA Times review)at the end of his life, his criticism of Hunter's ESPN reporting and the impression he gives that Hunter did nothing worthwhile after leaving Rolling Stone.
On Hunter's ESPN reporting, his activism and the impact he made during the final years of his life, I feel qualified to weigh in and I'm going to side strongly with Anita (and not just because she's my friend.)
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The Associated Press has a very intimate and honest interview today with Hunter Thompson's wife, Anita. The occasion is the recent release of her new book, The Gonzo Way, which I wrote about here at 5280.
In her new book, "The Gonzo Way: A Celebration of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson," Thompson says her husband built his career with a tireless dedication to the craft of reporting, a keen awareness of his own shortcomings and his personal blend of patriotism: loving his country while mistrusting authority.
And in a wide-ranging interview, she spoke about a rift between her and Hunter Thompson's son and the agonizing doubts that dogged her in the days after her husband's suicide.
Anita has become a good friend of mine since Hunter's death -- I hope you'll read the interview, and if you're a fan of Hunter's writing, get the book. If you missed my recap of spending a weekend in June at Owl Farm, you can read it here. My video of Owl Farm from 2006 is here.)
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The Aspen Daily News Gonzo Edition, dedicated to the late Hunter S. Thompson, is now available online.
- Hunter's wife Anita is the guest editor.
- Curtis Robinson recalls Hunter's words on objective journalism:
"So much for Objective Journalism. Don't bother to look for it here -- not under my byline or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms."
- Hunter's son Juan writes about his legacy.
- Matthew Mosely writes Send Lawyers, Guns and Money.
- Tim Mooney writes The Doctor is In.
There's lots more, including cover art by Ralph Steadman. Go on over and check it out.
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There's a birthday party tonight at Owl Farm for Hunter,which I'm missing because I have court here in Denver tomorrow. Owl Farm parties are always a great time and Hunter's spirit is right at hand.(Update: Looks like the party didn't happen, but I'm told a small group assembled to toast Hunter and they did shoot a cannon or two.)
Saturday, the Aspen Daily News will run a commemorative issue for Hunter, with Anita as the paper's guest editor. Ralph Steadman will grace the cover and Walter Isaacson and others will be contributors. Anita writes:
I’ll be including a cut-out card to put in your wallet with the things to do and not do while talking to the police.
The timing of the special edition is not just for Hunter's birthday, but for the Aspen Institute Symposium on Hunter's writings, Politics, Truth and Justice, to be held Saturday night. Hunter's son Juan has done a great job of putting it together.
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