Norman Mailer had the best take on Hunter Thompson’s passing.

“He had more to say about what was wrong with America than George W. Bush can ever tell us about what is right,” argued Mailer.

Anyone who read Thompson knew that he was about a lot more than sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – although it is Thompson who gets credit for introducing all three of those commodities to the mainstream of American journalism. The gun-toting, mescaline-downing wild man who showed up in Doonesbury as “Uncle Duke” was merely the cartoon version of an intensely serious, and intensely significant, political commentator who once said that his beat was “the death of the American dream.”

At a time when many of his contemporaries were disappearing into a drug haze, or shouting silly “Smash-the-State” slogans, Thompson was exploring a more radical prospect. He wanted to combine “Woodstock vibrations, New Left activism, and basic Jeffersonian Democracy with strong echoes of the Boston Tea Party ethic” into what the writer-candidate referred to as “a blueprint for stomping the (conservative Vice President Spiro) Agnew mentality by its own rules – with the vote, instead of the bomb; by seizing the power machinery and using it, instead of merely destroying it.”

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