There is hardly enough space to run through the somewhat crazy life of Hunter S Thompson but we will give it a go.
Hunter S Thompson is considered to be the father of Gonzo journalism where he was guided by William Faulkner’s idea that “fiction is the best fact”. Gonzo is written to be intentionally subjective journalism from a first-person or situational viewpoint. Thompson took to this style because he could “tell it how it is”.
Thompson was charged as an accessory to a robbery after being caught with the perpetrator. He wasn’t allowed to write his final exams while in prison and would not graduate. Thompson then went to the Air Force where he was rejected as a pilot. He then went to the Eglin Air Force base where he attended some night classes and got a job as a sports editor after lying about his experience. He was honourably discharged for the Air Force in 1957 for negatively influencing others with a ‘superior’ attitude and was said to not be led by policy. There would be a string of firings for Thompson for insubordination after leaving.
Thompson had a clear love for writing and copied ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘A Farewell to Arms’ on a typewriter to study the writing styles. His first magazine feature was written on the artisan and bohemian culture in Big Sur, which he reached by hitchhiking Route 40.
While in Big Sur he wrote ‘Prince Jellyfish’ and ‘The Rum Diary’ – a personal favourite of ours. Gonzo journalism stepped into the spotlight after Thompson’s Hell’s Angels feature where he spent a year with the biker gang and reported using his narrative. The gang would end up beating him severely over a money dispute – which ended up being the best thing for the marketing campaign.
This leads us to the coup de grace: ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’. It started with a 250-word photo caption and turned into a book detailing a debauchery filled search for the American Dream in Vegas.
He stole Ernest Hemingway’s elk antlers from his cabin and also ran for sheriff.