So Long, Dr. Thompson

The news that Hunter S. Thompson apparently took his own life Sunday night stunned and saddened many in the journalism world. Love him or hate him--I fall firmly in the former category--Thompson was a talented, unique individual, and the world will truly not quite be the same without him.

After I learned of his death, I started digging through the online archives of the Weekly's sister newspaper, Las Vegas CityLife. The current managing editor of CityLife, Matt O'Brien (also a contributing editor for the Weekly), got to know Thompson a bit after doing two stories about him and his classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In the first one, published in February 2001, O'Brien went looking for remaining traces of the early-'70s Las Vegas Thompson wrote about. The second, from June 2002, took the form of a Q&A with Thompson, marking the 30th anniversary of the book's publication.

I highly recommend that any Thompson fans read these pieces. (Just as an FYI, CityLife's online archives are a bit weird. In one of the pieces, many of the apostrophes appear to be missing. Both feature random paragraph breaks.) They're revealing; Thompson's feelings about Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner made journalism news when the second story came out in 2002. They're also humorous and--in light of recent events--very sad.

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