As hard as it is to imagine, Hunter S. Thompson was once a child. (Yes, obviously. But some figures are just impossible to imagine as children. See also: Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis, Richard Nixon.)
Thompson's childhood home is located in the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. It's a quaint, unassuming house that recalls the Arts & Crafts style. At least one room, however, had a feature that could not ever be described as "quaint" or "unassuming."
Flickr photo by newneounion
A painting of the "Gates of Hell."
Granted, it was in Thompson's bedroom. (Disappointing everyone who pictured it in the middle of the family kitchen.) And, it was painted directly onto the floor. Unfortunately, it has since been sanded away, lost to the ages.
As evidenced by the Flickr credit on the photo above, tourists occasionally swing by the house. Thompson surely would not have approved of such gaping-mouthed tourism. Nor would he approve of the surprising number of Pinterest boards dedicated to him. Or, of Pinterest in general. Or, of me writing this piece.
By the way, Hunter S. Thompson would have been 76 years old today. Though a "must-see" list of his works, quotes and appearances would break the internet, you have to see this amazing letter he once wrote to a fan, in response to a submission to Rolling Stone.
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"I had come to regard him as a loner with no real past and a future so vague there was no sense talking about it." <em>The Rum Diary</em> (1998)
"I like this place" he said with a grin "I like to sit up here and look down at the beach and think of all the good things I could do with a Luger." <em>The Rum Diary</em> (1998)
"You'd be surprised at the things people will do in order to get their names or pictures in the paper." Letter to Judy Stellings (18 November 1956), p. 30 <em>The Proud Highway: The Fear and Loathing Letters Volume I</em> (1997)
"There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death?" <em>Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s</em> (1988)
"The massive, frustrated energies of a mainly young, disillusioned electorate that has long since abandoned the idea that we all have a duty to vote. This is like being told you have a duty to buy a new car, but you have to choose immediately between a Ford and a Chevy." <em>Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72</em> (1973)
"Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism -- which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place." <em>Better than Sex</em> (22 August 1994)
"How many times had he stood calmly back there on the duckboards and listened to respectable-looking people talk about raping the hotel penguins?" <em>The Curse of Lono</em> (1983)
"Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of 'the rat race' is not yet final." <em>Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time</em> (1979)
"The only other important thing to be said about Fear & Loathing at this time is that it was fun to write, and that's rare -- for me, at least, because I've always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it's a bit like fucking -- which is fun only for amateurs." Comments on <em>Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas</em> in<em> The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)</em>, p. 109
"We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear" 'Extreme Behavior in Aspen' (3 February 2003)
"There was no time for scholarly details, and, besides, I have always believed that a man can fairly be judged by the standards and taste of his choices in matters of high-level plagiarism." "Prisoner of Denver", in <em>Vanity Fair</em> (June 2004) IMAGE: AP/AP/Press Association Images
"If we get chased out of Iraq with our tail between our legs, that will be the fifth consecutive Third-world country with no hint of a Navy or an Air Force to have whipped us in the past 40 years." "Am I Turning Into a Pervert?" (18 November 2003) IMAGE: Ray Fairall/AP/Press Association Images
"Jesus man! You don't look for acid! Acid finds you when *it* thinks you're ready." <em>Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72</em> (1973)
"The kids are turned off from politics, they say. Most of 'em don't even want to hear about it. All they want to do these days is lie around on waterbeds and smoke that goddamn marrywanna... yeah, and just between you and me Fred that's probably all for the best." <em>Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72</em> (1973)
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." IMAGE: Hunter S. Thompson (1937 - 2005) American gonzo journalist and author, 14th April 1996. (Photo by Neale Haynes/Getty Images)
"Sacrificing good men to journalism is like sending William Faulkner to work for <em>Time</em> magazine." Letter to Jerome H. Walker (7 December 1958), p. 142 IMAGE: REX
"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright..." <em> Rolling Stone</em> (1976) IMAGE: REX
"There is at this moment a beetle the size of god's ass on the table about six inches from the t-writer. It is worse than anything Kafka ever dreamed, so big I can see its eyes and the hair on its legs -- jesus, suddenly it leaped off and now circles me with a menacing whir." Letter to Paul Semonin (26 May 1962), p. 337 IMAGE: REX
"A man has to BE something; he has to matter." Letter to Hume Logan (22 April 1958), p. 118 IMAGE: REX
"If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up." BankRate.com Interview (1 November 2004) IMAGE: Universal Jonny Depp, as Thompson in the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
"I went to the Democratic Convention as a journalist, and returned a cold-blooded revolutionary." As quoted in the editors note by Douglas Brinkley, in <em>Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist</em> (2000)
"We disagree so violently on almost everything that it's a real pleasure to drink with him. If nothing else, he's absolutely honest in his lunacy -- and I've found, during my admittedly limited experience in political reporting, that power & honesty very rarely coincide." Comments on Pat Buchanan in a letter to Garry Wills (17 October 1973); published in <em>Fear and Loathing in America</em> (2000)