Monday, February 21, 2005

Being Hunter S. Thompson

I think most fans of Hunter S. Thompson would agree that after reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas you wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson or at least be like him.

I first read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as a high school senior and I would like to say that he had no influence in my behavior that year or in my decision to live the fraternity life in college but that wouldn't be 100% true. The lure to be like Hunter S. was/is very strong for the young and bulletproof.

Maybe the best known example of "Being Hunter S Thompson" Syndrome belonged to Bill Murray:
Billy [Murray] had spent his summer making a movie called Where the Buffalo Roam , which, as its subtitle explained, was "based on the twisted legend of Hunter S. Thompson." Billy played Thompson, and he was still absorbed in finishing the film as the fifth season started. In a classic case of the role overtaking the actor, Billy returned that fall to Saturday Night so immersed in playing Hunter Thompson he had virtually become Hunter Thompson, complete with long black cigarette holder, dark glasses, and nasty habits. "Billy," said one of the writers, echoing several others, "was not Bill Murray, he was Hunter Thompson. You couldn't talk to him without talking to Hunter Thompson."
Fortunately, Murray was able to grow out of his HST phase and find himself. Most people do. Most people except it seems Hunter S. Thompson himself.

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