A letter from Hunter S. Thompson to a 91-year-old accidental reader of Rolling Stone who had written earlier to complain about the ignorance and profanity of Thompson's work. From the second volume of "Gonzo Letters," Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968-1976.
David Obey at the main Rolling Stone office in San Francisco has forwarded your letter of Sept. 18 to me -- the one where you canceled your subscription to RS because of my "vulgarity."
. . . and I also want to tell you right now that I never answer mail from readers, but I couldn't resist talking back to a 91-year-old lady full of zip -- and despite the prevailing ignorance of your letter, that zip came through in every line. If I ever get to be 91, I hope I'll be as mean as you are.
In any case, I'm enclosing the most recent RS, with my compliments -- and despite your nasty language about me, I'm sure you'll read it. You've lived long enough to know that words are just tools, for a writer, and when I write about Richard Nixon I'll use all the tools I can get my hands on, to make people like you think about why Richard Nixon was elected by a landslide in 1972. My primary idea, whenever I sit down to write, is to get the attention of people like you, and make you think -- and your letter of cancellation to Obey tells me I was successful in your case.
If you read the enclosed piece ("The Scum Also Rises") with any kind of wit, you'll see that what you react to as "vulgarity" is only a prod to make you listen . . . and if you disagree, well . . . I've done what I can, eh?
You can run, Carrie, but you can't hide . . . not even after 91 years; and if you voted for that cheap, thieving little bastard, then you deserve what you got.
If not, I guess you're on my side -- but I doubt if we'll ever meet. Anyway, I admire your balls in canceling your subscription to Rolling Stone. . . . But I get a lot of letters from people with balls, and not many from people with brains.
Why don't you read the enclosed article and write me one from your head next time?
Hunter S. Thompson
Tags: Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in America