Hunter S. Thompson was a brilliant reporter and observer of America and Americans. I'm sure this will be well recognized over the next few days, but it's worth mentioning here: he invented a new journalistic language, delivered some of the funniest, most astute political commentary ever put on paper, and brooked no bullshit from anyone. Also, he was a damn skilled writer. Anyone who tries to tell you that it was just a lot of drugs and weirdness with him is full of crap. He had serious game. Along with a hell of a lot of drugs and weirdness.
One of the things that always struck me about Thompson's work was that he was never quite able to conceal how much he loved this country, even though it broke his heart every day, even as he slogged year after year through the mendacity and corruption of the men who ran it. From Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72:
The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes and all his imprecise talk about "new politics" and "honesty in government," is one of the few men who've run for President of the United States in this century who really understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon.
McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for.
Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?