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The great Hunter S. Thompson

Four years ago today, the great American journalist Hunter S. Thompson put a gun to his head and ended his life.

Thompson was unlike anyone before him or anyone to come. He was an outlaw and a patriot all at the same time. He had a deep love for his country, and an even deeper mistrust for those who ran it.

His style was so different than any other that it earned its own name: gonzo journalism.

Gonzo journalism was subjective, yet factual. It was alive with detail and storytelling, yet still realistic. Most importantly, gonzo journalism declined the old ways of objective journalism and exposed a deeper truth through a mix of fact and fiction.

“Objective journalism is one of the main reasons that American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long,” Thompson said, according to a Feb. 21, 2005, Washington Post article.

Thompson’s words were both loved and feared. He was famous for constantly questioning authority and exposing injustices.

Thompson’s death and memorial service were just as loud as his life and words. In keeping his own wishes, Thompson’s ashes were shot from a cannon into the night sky of Aspen, Colo.

While it seems fitting that such an intense person would end his life in such an extreme manner, I do wish he had stuck it out just a few more years.

We could use a journalist like Thompson today. He would be harsh, but honest. He would say the things that need to be said, and he would do so with style.

He would point blame where it is deserved and he would name-call where necessary. He would be brave and he would be real. He would be gonzo.

While there are many great journalists today, Thompson’s insanity and talent still remain unparalleled.

Even four years after his death, his words and style continue to influence and inspire many people.

Although the man may be dead, Thompson’s legend will live forever.