Origin of the termThe term "gonzo" was first used in connection with Hunter S. Thompson by ''The Boston Globe'' magazine editor Bill Cardoso in 1970. He described Thompson's article "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved", which was written for the June 1970 edition of ''Scanlan's Monthly'', as "pure Gonzo journalism". This predates the December 1970 debut of the Gonzo (Muppet), muppet of that name. Cardoso claimed that "gonzo" was South Boston Irish language, Irish slang describing the last man standing after an all-night drinking marathon. He also claimed that it was a corruption of the French Canadian word "gonzeaux", which means "shining path", although this is disputed. Another speculation is that the word may have been inspired by the 1960 hit song "Gonzo" by New Orleans rhythm and blues pianist James Booker. This possibility is supported by a 2007 oral biography of Thompson, which states that the term is taken from a song by Booker but does not explain why Thompson or Cardoso would have chosen the term to describe Thompson's journalism. The 2013 documentary ''James Booker#Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker, Bayou Maharaja: The Tragic Genius of James Booker'' quotes Thompson's literary executor as saying that the song was the origin of the term. According to a Greg Johnson biographical note on Booker, the song title "Gonzo" comes from a character in a movie called ''The Pusher'', which in turn may have been inspired by a 1956 Evan Hunter novel of the same title. Thompson himself first used the term referring to his own work on page 12 of the counterculture of the 1960s, counterculture classic ''Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas''. He wrote, "But what ''was'' the story? Nobody had bothered to say. So we would have to drum it up on our own. Free Enterprise. The American Dream. Horatio Alger gone mad on drugs in Las Vegas. Do it ''now'': pure Gonzo journalism." Lexico proposes etymology from it, gonzo (simpleton, dolt) and/or es, ganso (dolt, goose).
Hunter S. ThompsonThompson based his style on William Faulkner's notion that "fiction is often the best fact". While the things that Thompson wrote about are basically true, he used satirical devices to drive his points home. He often wrote about Recreational drug use, recreational drugs and Alcoholic drink, alcohol use, which added subjective flair to his reporting. The term "gonzo" has also come into (sometimes pejorative) use to describe journalism in Thompson's style, characterized by a drug-fueled stream of consciousness writing technique. ''Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'' followed the Mint 400 piece in 1971 and included a main character by the name of Raoul Duke, accompanied by his attorney, Dr. Gonzo, with defining art by Ralph Steadman. Although this book is considered a prime example of gonzo journalism, Thompson regarded it as a failed experiment. He had intended it to be an unedited record of everything he did as it happened, but he edited the book five times before publication. Thompson would instigate events himself, often in a prankish or belligerent manner, and then document both his actions and those of others. Notoriously neglectful of deadlines, Thompson often annoyed his editors because he submitted articles late, "too late to be edited, yet still in time for the printer". Thompson wanted his work to be read as he wrote it, in its "true Gonzo" form. Historian Douglas Brinkley said gonzo journalism requires virtually no rewriting and frequently uses transcribed interviews and verbatim telephone conversations. "I don't get any satisfaction out of the old traditional journalist's view: 'I just covered the story. I just gave it a balanced view, Thompson said in an interview for the online edition of ''The Atlantic''. "Objective journalism is one of the main reasons American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long. You can't be objective about Richard Nixon, Nixon."
InfluenceThompson felt that objectivity (journalism), objectivity in journalism was a myth. Gonzo journalism has now become a ''bona fide'' style of writing that concerns itself with "telling it like it is", similar to the New Journalism of the 1960s, led primarily by Tom Wolfe and also championed by Lester Bangs, George Plimpton, Terry Southern, and John Birmingham, and is considered a subgenre of New Journalism. When asked whether there was a difference between the two, Thompson answered, "Yeah, I think so. Unlike Tom Wolfe or Gay Talese, for instance, I almost never try to reconstruct a story. They're both much better reporters than I am, but then I don't really think of myself as a reporter." In 1998, Christopher Locke asserted that the online magazine, webzine genre is descended from gonzo journalism, a claim that has since been extended to social media. Thompson's gonzo journalism influence is reflected in the current website Gonzo Today which features a top banner by Thompson's longtime illustrator Ralph Steadman, with rotating contributions by others including Thompson associate, poet Ron Whitehead.
See also* Citizen journalism * Creative nonfiction * Embedded journalism * Gonzo pornography * Immersion journalism * New Games Journalism * New Journalism * Nonfiction novel * Reportage * ''Transmetropolitan''
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