Hunter S. Thompson is the founder of Gonzo journalism. According to Wikipedia “Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism which is written subjectively, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first person narrative. The style tends to blend factual and fictional elements to emphasize an underlying message and engage the reader:” Most importantly is that Hunter uses satire along with events that happen to him to drive home his point. After asking three people in class Caty Livgni, John Giangrasso and Amy Eiferman they all agreed that when a journalist puts himself in the middle of a story you have a better understanding of the events making for a better article.
Hunter was no exception to this in his first book about the Hells Angels he put himself into the biker gang when many Americans feared them due to the crimes they committed. The NY Times was impressed with what Thompson did stating he entered “a world most of us would never dare encounter:” Many of his non-fiction writing went noticed and Hunter even appeared in Rolling Stone magazine.
Another important part of Thompson was his use of drugs which is talked about in much of his articles and is one of the substances he uses in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas the film as well as the book. One could make the case that Hunter’s drug use made him more creative and lead to many of the great books and articles that are out today. Although Amy had a disdain for drugs she said that many musicians have used drugs for creativity but shouldnt be a free pass to do drugs. John and Cathy both agreed that drug use was wrong and that there should be no excuse for using them.
One of his books Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas would go on to be a famous movie starring Johnny Depp as Thompson in his persona Raoul Duke. One of Thompson key ideas is that he uses many different names when writing for articles for Rolling stone or any other magazine. The film today has become a cult classic among many persons although it did not recieve good reviews from the critics while it was in theaters.
During his time at Rolling Stone Hunter amassed a bunch of articles together and wrote about the 1972 political campaign which was intitled Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72. At this time in history there was a huge counter culture that clashed with the administration of Richard Nixon and the norms of society. If there was one man Hunter hated it would have to be Richard Nixon stating “For years I’ve regarded his existence as a monument to all the rancid genes and broken chromosomes that corrupt the possibilities of the American Dream; he was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad”.
One of the main focus of the book and the articles were on the campaign of George McGovern the democratic challenger to Nixon in 1972. He was the antithesis to Nixon and was in support of amnesty of those who left the country due to dodging the draft, a lax drug policy, on top of a pro life sentiment. This was used against McGovern in a campaign strategy by Nixon by referring to McGovern’s campaign as the three A’s amnesty, abortion, and acid. Thompson actually liked McGovern but could see the writing on the wall, Thompson was never a fan of the politician but did appreciate what McGovern was standing for which was the opposite of Nixon.
Today is another story although Thompson is dead we have another presidential race that mimics 72 in the fact that one candidate represents the past administration while the other represents a change in American politics. Barack Obama is a young fresh face in american polotics a junior senator from the state of Illinois going against John McCain a senior senator from Arizona who was a war hero from vietnam. The fact that McCain represents an old administration that is vastly unpopular it is easy to draw reference to Nixon, while many of the liberal positions of Barack can be compared to McGovern (McGovern today has endoresed Barack for president).
This point in American history we are at a point were the republicans once again have lost a large source of power and the country will soon make a shift to the other side of the political fence. The campaign of Obama has shaken the country and people are asking the question if he represents the new ideas of the young and the hopes of tommorow. The question is asked can he win? Will the nation be ready for an African American president? John was asked this question and responded with an overwhelming ” there is no way he can loose because of the money he is racking in and the failures of the Bush administration”. Cathy had another response believing that many Americans wouldnt vote for Barack due to the race issue. Amy on the other hand agreed with John and said that Barack would win in the fall.
Thompson showed much contempt for he Bush administration towards the end of his life and would say that Bush might even be worse than Nixon himself. It would be anyone’s guess if Thompson would have supported Obama. Many believe that Obama is the anti-thesis to Bush administration and that would he would be the politican that Thompson would suupport.
Books By Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72
Hell’s Angels” The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs