Few authors have seen their public persona overtake their personal lives to the same extent as Hunter S. Thompson - who was born 79 years ago today. The father of Gonzo journalism once lamented that his reputation for abusing marijuana and other banned substances eclipsed him as a person.
"Most people are surprised that I walk on two legs," he told the BBC documentary series Omnibus in 1978. "The idea that I would have a wife or a child or...even a mother comes as a surprise....I'm really in the way as a person and the myth has taken over. I find myself as an appendage, you know. I'm no longer necessary. I'm in the way."
But while penning legendary binges in counterculture classics like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Thompson also offered thoughtful commentaries on politics, sports and recreational drug use. "Different drugs for different things," he told Omnibus in 1978. He added that cannabis helped him relax for interviews.
"Right now I think it's in my interest - and ours, perhaps. And maybe in the interest of the greater good for me to smoke a joint and calm down. It's been demonstrably proven that temper tantrums are not the best way to do interviews. And probably my life will be easier - and yours too - if I smoke a joint."
He also warned that not all substances had that calming effect on him. "Now if I were to sit here in a fit of anger and you saw me eating acid - if I were you, I'd leave with all the equipment. That cranks it up even worse."
Check out the candid moment with the "outlaw journalist" below.
Banner image: twitter.com/@GonzoVice