Welcome to our collection of quotes by Hunter S. Thompson.
Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author, and the founder of the gonzo journalism movement. He first rose to prominence with the publication of Hell's Angels (1967), a book for which he spent a year living and riding with the Hells Angels motorcycle club to write a first-hand account of the lives and experiences of its members.
In 1970, he wrote an unconventional magazine feature titled "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved" for Scanlan's Monthly, which both raised his profile and established him as a writer with counterculture credibility. It also set him on a path to establishing his own subgenre of New Journalism that he called "Gonzo", which was essentially an ongoing experiment in which the writer becomes a central figure and even a participant in the events of the narrative.
Thompson remains best known for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971), a book first serialized in Rolling Stone in which he grapples with the implications of what he considered the failure of the 1960s counterculture movement. It was adapted on film twice: loosely in Where the Buffalo Roam starring Bill Murray as Thompson in 1980, and directly in 1998 by director Terry Gilliam in a film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro. The Doonesbury cartoon character Uncle Duke – who was modeled after Thompson – pens an essay about "my shoplifting conviction" titled "Fear and Loathing at Macy's Menswear", a reference to Thompson's book.
Politically minded, Thompson ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, in 1970 on the Freak Power ticket. His run for sheriff is chronicled in the documentary film Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb. He became well known for his dislike of Richard Nixon, who he claimed represented "that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character". He covered Nixon's 1972 reelection campaign for Rolling Stone and later collected the stories in book form as Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.
Thompson's output notably declined from the mid-1970s, as he struggled with the consequences of fame, and he complained that he could no longer merely report on events, as he was too easily recognized. He was also known for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal narcotics, his love of firearms, and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism. He often remarked: "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
Thompson died by suicide at the age of 67, following a series of health problems. In accordance with his wishes, his ashes were fired out of a cannon in a ceremony funded by his friend Johnny Depp and attended by friends including then-Senator John Kerry and Jack Nicholson. Hari Kunzru wrote, "the true voice of Thompson is revealed to be that of American moralist ... one who often makes himself ugly to expose the ugliness he sees around him."
Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
A nervous blonde nymphet who thought that politics was some kind of game played by old people, like bridge.
The waitress had the appearance of a very old hooker who had finally found her place in life.
'Crazy' is a term of art; 'Insane' is a term of law. Remember that, and you will save yourself a lot of trouble.
Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.
He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time.
Turn the goddam music up! My heart feels like an alligator!
I'll call New York for some cash.
They're gonna make it look like suicide. I know how those bastards think.
Whatever he might have denied me was unimportant; it was the fact that he could deny me anything at all, even what I didn't want.
I couldn't imagine, and I don't say this with any pride, but I really couldn't imagine writing without a desperate deadline.
They say that he who flies highest, falls farthest -- and who am I to argue? But we can't forget that he who doesn't flap his wings, never flies at all.
Fiction is a bridge to the truth that journalism can't reach.
If you consider the great journalists in history, you don't see too many objective journalists on that list.
Timothy Leary and I kept the same hours. He believed, as I do, that After midnight, all things are possible.
I never claimed to be anything more than a nice guy and an athlete.
Jesus! Did I say that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me? I glanced over at my attorney, but he seemed oblivious.
Smart people understand that there is no such thing as paranoia. It is just another mask for ignorance.
One of them is knowing the difference between Morality and Wisdom. Morality is temporary, Wisdom is permanent… Ho ho. Take that one to bed with you tonight.
Maybe the who secret of turning a crowd on is getting turned on yourself by the crowd.
Given my calling I had to stumble across people who felt the same way. I was a young reporter.
These things happen. One day you run everything, and the next day you run like a dog.
Reality itself is too twisted.
A little bit of this town goes a very long way. After five days in Vegas you feel like you've been here for five years.
On some days you get what you want, and on others, you get what you need.
Sometimes you're fooled quickly. You want to be fooled. If you can't trust your first impression you're going to have a harder time than you should.
The first impression is always the right one. I rarely change my mind upward about people.
To make a point of declaring friendship is to cheapen it. For men's emotions are very rarely put into words successfully.
The McGovern McCarthy type candidacies have disappointed too many people, because of a disillusionment with the candidates themselves.
Love plans for tomorrow and loneliness thinks of yesterday.
Not even the foulest atrocities of Adolf Hitler ever shocked me so badly as these photographs did.
My greatest talent is in my ability to choose good friends. It's about as important as things get.
I went to the Democratic Convention as a journalist, and returned a cold-blooded revolutionary.
God's mercy on you degenerate swine.
Crack is ruining the drug culture.
There is nothing Modern about doing dumb things for dumb reasons.
In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile.
In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile -- and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely.
We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear.
We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear--fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer.
It was obvious that he was a man who marched through life to the rhythms of some drum I would never hear.
Any combination of a 250-pound Mexican and LSD-25 is a potentially terminal menace for anything it can reach.
It was one of those fine little love stories that can make you smile in your sleep at night.
The association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of publicity. They are both a means to an end, to the place of definitions.
Wake up and ponder the future.
Never mind the track. The track is for punks. We are Road People. We are Cafe Racers.
I may sound a little black, but I'm really pretty well adjusted.
Right' i said. 'but first, we need the car. and after that, the cocaine. and then the tape recorder, for special music, and some acapulco shirts.
I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
Sex, drugs, and insanity have always worked for me, but I wouldn't recommend them for everyone.
At the top of the mountain we are all snow leopards.
Fishing from a boat seems like dilettante bullshit -- like hunting wild boar with a can of spray paint from the safety of a pick-up truck.
Those who fail to learn from the brutal stompings visited on them in the past are doomed to be brutally stomped in the future.
A man never stoops so low as when he rises to the challenge of politics.
Quotes by Hunter S. Thompson are featured in: