Speaking of James Lileks, a year ago, when Hunter S. Thompson was still (more or less) alive, Lileks wrote of Dr. Gonzo:
He can say what he wants. Drink what he wants. Drive where he wants. Do what he wants. He’ss done okay in America. And he hates this country. Hates it. This appeals to high school kids and collegiate-aged students getting that first hot eye-crossing hit from the Screw Dad pipe, but it’s rather pathetic in aged moneyed authors. And it would be irrelevant if this same spirit didn’t infect on whom Hunter S. had an immense influence. He’s the guy who made nihilism hip. He’s the guy who taught a generation that the only thing you should believe is this: don’t trust anyone who believes anything. He’s the patron saint of journalism, whether journalists know it or not.
Maybe somebody should create the Hunter S. Thompson Award for nihilistic journalists. Because the same Hate America First impulse that has driven so much of Thompson’s work–literally to the end–is the common thread that connects all of these examples of journalism that won awards last year.