The Sports Desk turns off its lights: R.I.P., Doc.

HunterS.jpg“It had to happen,” the wags will all say tomorrow with perfect 20/20 on the talk shows. “With that many drugs and that many guns, it was only a matter of time.” Well, maybe it was. But in none of the speed-obits coming on the heels of Hunter S. Thompson’s apparent suicide reported about an hour ago has Fishbowl seen any of the true devotees talking about what the Doc meant to journalism, to writing, and to mischievousness in general. The testimonials will come, though, but not tonight. Nobody on the AP or CNN night desks knows much (they’re all likely so young they only learned about him from the “Fear and Loathing” movie recently), perhaps because Raoul Duke had recently produced little since marrying Anita Beymuk and writing only one last ESPN column after being AWOL for months – something Fishbowl (sadly) wondered about recently.

Take’er easy, Doc. Now all that remains on your side of the political fence is an ever-withering group including camera-loving guys like Al Franken, Paul Begala and Bill Maher, which is a sad confederacy to be left with to afflict the comfortable. And Michael Moore has become commercial and narcissistic in a way you would have never allowed yourself. Jann Wenner, with whom you waged a never-ending war of words, expense reimbursements, and editorial direction in general, will devote at least half a – if not an entire – cover to you.

Count on RS to give voice to all the people, from the late George Plimpton and New York Magazine’s first editor Clay Felker to “Colonel” Johnny Depp and the late Warren Zevon (Under 30? Look him up) whom the Good Doctor influenced with his mumbling cadence, his split-second P. T. Barnum self-promotion and – au fond – his shyness and deep love for a profession from which he always stood apart. Res Ipsa Loquitur.