Posted by: vanhoff | May 5, 2008

Gonzo Journalism

Hunter S. Thompson has been a fascination to many. His life, antics, and journalistic skill is fun and scary. The life he lived was strange, but his antics are not.

      Almost always writing in the first person, Thompson flirted with the border between fiction and fact and threw out any attempt at objectivity. His style became known as ‘gonzo’ journalism and made him a cult figure.

He shot to fame in 1966 after the publication of his book Hell’s Angels, the story of his relationship with the then-feared motorcycle gang.

Thompson made his drug and alcohol-fueled antics and clashes with authority the central theme of his work, challenging the conventions of traditional journalism and creating a larger-than-life outlaw persona for himself along the way.

The book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegasis the apocryphal tale of a wild, drug-fuelled weekend spent in the desert gambling hub of Las Vegas by the protagonist Raoul Duke, a thinly disguised version of Thompson.

Thompson claimed at the time that the book and its tales of LSD use were accurate examples of gonzo journalism but later admitted that some of the events in it never took place.

But the stories of his heady experiences earned him a popular reputation as a wild-living, hard-drinking, LSD-crazed writer bent on self-destruction.

The book became the basis for a 1998 Hollywood adaptation, starring Johnny Depp as Thompson’s alter-ego, Raoul Duke.

In 1970, Thompson ran for the office of Sheriff in Pitkin, Colorado, campaigning on the “Freak Power” ticket. He lost by a handful of votes.

His other works include Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, a collection articles he wrote for Rolling Stone magazine while covering the election campaign of then-president Richard M Nixon.

Thompson became such an icon that cartoonist Garry Trudeau based the wild character of Duke in his “Doonesbury” comic strip on him.

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Responses

  1. love hunter s. thompson! good post!


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