Hunter S. Thompson eulogizes Richard M. Nixon: “He Was a Crook.”

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Arguably, the finest political obituary in American history.

It is impossible to read it without laughing aloud. It is equally impossible to pull one representative passage. One simply must read the whole piece.

You may have noticed that just two days ago, I borrowed a phrase from Dr. Thompson. This is the reason why I limit my reading of his essays, because doing so influences my own writing. Unconsciously, I try to emulate it. The same applies to H.L. Mencken.

My heroes, the polemicists. Ah, yes.

He Was a Crook

By Hunter S. Thompson (The Atlantic; originally published in Rolling Stone on June 16, 1994)

DATE: MAY 1, 1994
FROM: DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON
SUBJECT: THE DEATH OF RICHARD NIXON: NOTES ON THE PASSING OF AN AMERICAN MONSTER…. HE WAS A LIAR AND A QUITTER, AND HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN BURIED AT SEA…. BUT HE WAS, AFTER ALL, THE PRESIDENT.

… It is fitting that Richard Nixon’s final gesture to the American people was a clearly illegal series of 21 105-mm howitzer blasts that shattered the peace of a residential neighborhood and permanently disturbed many children. Neighbors also complained about another unsanctioned burial in the yard at the old Nixon place, which was brazenly illegal. “It makes the whole neighborhood like a graveyard,” said one. “And it fucks up my children’s sense of values.”

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