“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
– Albert Einstein
I spoke with Hunter S.Thompson recently: I asked him why he committed suicide.
All my life I was curious about the world and then, one day, I lost my curiosity, he replied.
He’s been dead for eight years.
Johnny Depp was close to Thompson and he described their friendship as “two people with a great sense of humor who liked to shoot guns.” The humour ended when Thompson, his body falling apart, euthanized himself with a shotgun.
Depp has kept his friend’s extraordinary life alive in films: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which chronicles his drug-fuelled road trip to Vegas, and The Rum Diaries — inspired by Thompson’s inebriated stint as a journalist in Puerto Rico. And now associated with Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s ill fated romance.
Despite these befuddled interludes, Hunter S.Thompson exposed political hypocrisy, ridiculed bureaucracy and helped invent Gonzo journalism.
Thompson’s career included writing feature articles for Rolling Stone, his expose of The Hells Angels bikie gang and the 1972 Presidential election campaign.
Throughout his career Thompson maintained a loathing of authority, corrupt corporations and President Richard Nixon. The latter came in for particular criticism:
Richard Nixon is gone now, and I am poorer for it. He was the real thing — a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy.
Yet, at 67, Thompson lost his curiosity and his passion for life. At least that’s what he told me in a dream shortly after I watched The Rum Diaries.
He waited for a response, but I had none. My only thought was that if curiosity and passion is lost then interest in life goes, too.
It was a sobering dream.