All My Little Words

Gonzo

Posted in Uncategorized by nickchristian on December 7, 2008

I’ve never been a massive fan of Hunter S. Thompson’s work. While I’ve attempted to read both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and On The Campaign Trail with neither book did I make it much further than half-way. That being said, as a cultural icon I find him absolutely fascinating; while I may not like to read him,I do like to read around him.

HST was utterly contemptuous of the art of journalism, once writing that it “is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuck-offs and misfits – a fake doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.”

“Gonzo”, the label coined by Bill Cardoso in 1970 to describe HST’s writing style, is born in part of the belief that an objective perspective is impossible and to attempt to disguise this fact by employing the third person is tantamount to fraud. I can certainly relate to the basic premise because it’s more or less exactly how I feel about music criticism and perhaps critical literature in its entirety. Yet while I would agree that it’s difficult to remove oneself from a story – and ultimately impossible to achieve entirely; articles are, after all, still written by human beings – that’s not to say we shouldn’t try.

HST’s reaction – to place himself at the centre of every piece – strikes me as, at best, damn lazy and at worst, pathologically egotistical. His lengthy, fragmented diatribes read like the coke-fueled conversations of a partygoer at 4am transcribed. Having so often been the instigator of such conversations it is not with that alone which I take issue. I have, I’m positive, bored the bejeesus out of many an unsuspecting victim. But please don’t publish that shit.

Alex Gibney’s documentary, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, is released in select UK cinema’s on the 19th of December.

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  1. […] impossible as it is to achieve, and as I have said before, neutrality is a noble goal to which all news journalists should aspire and to which few, especially in Britain, even come close. News should be colourless and new […]


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