In the late sixties a young journalist and free-lance novelist named Hunter S. Thompson (HST) emerged with a new, crazed and exaggerated brand of reporting. It was sooner or later referred to as Gonzo. HSTs own definition of gonzo has varied over the years, but he still maintains that a good gonzo journalist needs the talent of a master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor and that gonzo is a style of reporting based on William Faulkners idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism(Carroll, page 192). Gonzo journalism has also been referred to as outlaw journalism, new journalism, alternative journalism, literary cubism, and other words better not repeated here.Order now
With such high profile stages for his writings in Rolling Stone Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Esquire and Vanity Fair, HST has proven that his exaggerated gonzo journalism is as relevant (or even more so) than that of conventional journalists. In this essay, the concept and development of gonzo journalism and its relevance to media and reporting will be thoroughly explored.
Dr Hunter S. Thompson is a man of great wit and charisma. He is 62 tall, and, due to the fact that one leg is longer than the other, he tends to bob back and forth. He is apparently always thirsty, and his favorite drinks are known to be Wild Turkey and Chivas Regal.
Besides being a writer and failed politician, HST is also a collector of peacocks and guns. HST is also happily divorced with one son, Juan. Dr Thompsons journalism career began in the daily columns of small town newspapers, but because of differences in personality, opinion and style, he did not last long at any of them. HSTs first piece of writing to be labeled gonzo was The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved written for Scanlans magazine along with illustrations by the well known cartoonist Ralph Steadman (a sample of Mr. Steadmans work will be found on the title page to this essay). As the deadline for the article approached, and with the article still incomplete, HST resorted to ripping out pages of his notebook and sending them to the editors.
What resulted was the beginning of gonzo journalism.
Many see gonzo journalism to be a variation of a theme, which began with new journalism in the 60s, led primarily by author Tom Wolfe. (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, etc.) New Journalism was said to have broken all the rules of traditional journalism. The old style journalists were supposed to take an objective point of view in their articles. The new journalists were far more subjective, getting personally involved in the stories they were reporting.
New journalism really isnt new at all. Objectivity has been the great myth of journalism. As hard as media sources try to be objective, they can never truly achieve it. Everything from space limitations (a journalist must decide what is and what is not important enough to fit into a column) to illustrations (this gives readers a non-objective picture in their head about the issue) infringe on objectivity. New journalism and gonzo journalism alike pay no regard to the objectivity laws of journalism and instead focus their works very little on the facts but on the facts, as they perceive them. One difference between gonzo journalist Thompson and new journalist Tom Wolfe is that while Wolfe tries to become the fly on the wall, Thompson is very much the fly in the ointment.
HSTs writings cannot be taken 100% seriously, as even he admits. Basically its all true. I warped a few things, but basically thats the way it was Thompson said describing his second book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the heart of the American Dream (quotation found on book cover). If everyone took everything I said seriously they would be missing the whole point of gonzo journalism Thompson explains.
Journalist John Sack illustrates a common journalistic dilemma in this quotation:
I wrote my story for Stars and Stripes: Seoul, Korea. Gen.
Maxwell Taylor said today that there is no ammunition shortage in Korea. But I also know what he .