Hunter S Thompson was born on the 17th July 1937 and was a prolific American journalist and author throughout his life, until the age of 67 when after a series of health problems, committed suicide. Thompson was the founder of a movement within journalism called Gonzo Journalism and first came to the public eye when he published a book about the Hell’s Angels in 1967, after spending a year living with the gang.
In the 1970s, Thompson released articles and books that reinforced his image as a writer of counterculture and Gonzo, which ultimately meant the writer living and participating in the events he was writing about. His best-known piece of work was the 1971 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a commentary of the failure of the 1960s counterculture movement. This book was adapted into film twice in the 1980s and 1990s, the later starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.
He dabbled in politics, running as a sheriff in Colorado, as well as openly discussing his dislike for Richard Nixon. From the mid-1970s, Thompson wrote less and less, struggling with addiction and the trappings of fame. Ultimately, this continued until his death at the age of 67 and his body of work lives on to this day in the inspirational quotations you can see below.
1. Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!
2. We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
3. A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
4. I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.
5. So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?
6. Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.
7. Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.
8. No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.
9. The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.
10. Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.
11. Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the “good life”, whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.
12. If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked
13. Some may never live, but the crazy never die.
14. Too weird to live, too rare to die!
15. In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.
16. When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.
17. It never got weird enough for me.
18. I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
19. We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.
20. I was not proud of what I had learned but I never doubted that it was worth knowing.
21. Good people drink good beer.
22. We can’t stop here, this is bat country!
23. Freedom is something that dies unless it’s used.
24. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.
25. No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt
26. Yesterday’s weirdness is tomorrow’s reason why.
27. Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish—a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow—to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested . . . Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.
28. Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas … with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.
29. It was obvious that he was a man who marched through life to the rhythms of some drum I would never hear.
30. America…just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable
31. Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers and warriors.
32. Weird behavior is natural in smart children, like curiosity is to a kitten.
33. You better take care of me Lord, if you don’t you’re gonna have me on your hands.
34. For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled.
35. The greatest mania of all is passion: and I am a natural slave to passion: the balance between my brain and my soul and my body is as wild and delicate as the skin of a Ming vase.
36. I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes.
37. There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.
38. As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.
39. It was one of those fine little love stories that can make you smile in your sleep at night.
40. Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I’m here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba…
41. Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.
42. With the truth so dull and depressing, the only working alternative is wild bursts of madness and filigree.
43. I have no taste for either poverty or honest labor, so writing is the only recourse left for me.
44. It gave me a strange feeling, and the rest of that night I didn’t say much, but merely sat there and drank, trying to decide if I was getting older and wiser, or just plain old.
45. I’ve always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it’s a bit like fucking, which is only fun for amateurs. Old whores don’t do much giggling.
46. I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on Fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed. My father taught me that, along with a few other things that have kept my life interesting.
47. It was like falling down an elevator shaft and landing in a pool full of mermaids.
48. Sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whiskey and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind but falling in love and not getting arrested.
49. In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and therest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.
50. The highways are crowded with people who drive as if their sole purpose in getting behind the wheel is to avenge every wrong done them by man, beast or fate. The only thing that keeps them in line is their fear of death, jail and lawsuits.
51. Faster, Faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.
52. No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted.
53. There was an awful suspicion in my mind that I’d finally gone over the hump, and the worst thing about it was that I didn’t feel tragic at all, but only weary, and sort of comfortably detached.
54. We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.
55. You can’t miss what you never had.
56. Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing.
57. I would feel real trapped in this life if I didn’t know I could commit suicide at any time.
58. Pray to God, but row away from the rocks.
59. We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world—bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts.
60. Fear is a healthy instinct, not a sign of weakness. It is a natural self-defense mechanism that is common to felines, wolves, hyenas, and most humans. Even fruit bats know fear, and I salute them for it. If you think the world is weird now, imagine how weird it would be if wild beasts had no fear.