Commentary

An introduction to gonzo journalism

Commentary.

Published: 24 January 2021

Here is a recent example. Hamilton Morris is someone I’d present, however milder, as an example of gonzo journalism in motion today. I don’t think even he knows it yet. This is the video that inspired his being used as my example to make this.

It is said that fictional character Hank Moody from the TV show Californication, portrayed by David Duchovny is inspired by traits exhibited by Charles Bukowski & Hunter Thompson. During its running years it did much to shape the modern conception of self-loathing self-sabotaging behavior, both hallmark traits of gonzo journalism, would look like.

Studies today might indicate that the style of behavior clearly indicates the existence of an unrecognized, deeply insecure, broken Child hurting inside a (wo)man’s body; long since abandoned to its own devices. But they display courage. Enough at least, to pile-drive through their existence despite a distinct distaste for it. Usually they are found trudging, unable to cope with peace & fulfillment in an already maleficent society. They seek to find a rare moment; that of coming upon a sentence that perfectly communicates their understanding of a proverbial Key that unlocks a part of human behavior. Or so they think.

If you can find these moments often, stringing together enough pages and stumble into enough people that one of them can turn into your Editor, then a Hunter Thompson gets to exist. Visiting the Super Bowl to write for SI, and missing the event altogether. The trip becomes the article. The article becomes about the trip. Reporting on the Superbowl be damned. What score?

Thus the birth of the concept of gonzo journalism. The idea of living out your existence and writing about it. The compulsion of having to live out that existence in a certain way, thus forcing the rhetoric to your benefit. It can be an incredible tool.

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