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Gonzo journalism

Posted by ESC on February 21, 2005

GONZO - Noun 1. a wild, aggressive, or eccentric person. 2. (journalism) eccentricity or craziness. Adjective. Introduced by Hunter S. Thompson in "Rolling Stone" (Nov. 11, 1971) to characterize his own style of subjective, creative, hyperbolic, strongly satirical journalism. Perhaps from the Italian "gonzo" for simpleton. From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994. A second reference also says it is probably the Italian word for simpleton. "20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years" by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).

'Gonzo' Journalist Thompson Kills Self
Mon Feb 21, 7:55 AM ET
By David Kelly Times Staff Writer

DENVER - Hunter S. Thompson, the counterculture literary figure who rode with the Hells Angels, famously chronicled the Nixon-McGovern presidential race and coined the term "gonzo journalism," committed suicide Sunday night at his secluded home outside Aspen, Colo., his son said. Thompson was 67.

Thompson called what he did "gonzo journalism," differentiating it from mainstream reporting by aggressively injecting himself into the story and giving up any pretense of objectivity.

Thompson's style of journalism - well-armed, well-drugged and wildly iconoclastic - made him a counterculture figure of rare longevity.

"I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone . but they've always worked for me," Thompson said.