Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What do gonzo journalists do now?

22 February 2005

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The pundits are all pouring on the praise for Hunter S. Thompson, now that he's dead. When he was alive, most of them dismissed him as an alcoholic druggie who was way past his prime.

The story I read in Rolling Stone's October issue about the Bush campaign proved otherwise.

I've gotten some interesting emails from former students who remember how I used to make them write one brief paper in Literary Journalism in gonzo style - a freewheeling, inject-yourself-in-the-story madness that many students found very difficult to even conceive of.

All those years of high school English comp drilled most creativity out of their skulls so that by the time I saw them in a college classroom, all they worried about was writing something so vanilla, so bland that it wouldn't offend anyone - but it would get them an A.

Didn't work in my class. You had to go all out, take the risks and take the fall. That's what HST did all his life.

So for those people who thing that the gonzo journalism died with HST, forget it. Read the blogs on the internet, check the 'alternative' magazines, watch the Daily Show. Hunter S. Thompson's wild ride continues, wherever he might be today.

In the photo with this blog, HST was quoted as saying, "You can't go looking for the American Dream in a Volkswagen."

His point? Didn't have one, didn't need one.

That was HST.


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