Zero: On the nature of "gonzo journalism"
The story you are about to read is
written in the style known as "gonzo."
No, not the Muppet.
Gonzo journalism is the ultimate form of subjective journalistic
writing. The writer literally immerses himself in the subject
of the article. The story usually reads more like a fictional
work rather than a traditional news story. For most types of stories,
gonzo is not the best style of writing. However, there's always
some place where gonzo can be applied to good effect.
The best comparison I can make to
gonzo stories isn't a news style. It predates the concept of "news"
by at least 300 years. Thomas Mallory's Morte d'Arthur
is possibly the closest literary parallel to gonzo. And I mean
that with all seriousness. The gonzo journalist is on a quest
to find the facts about the story, and often learns more about
himself than he ever does about the original topic of the story,
just like one of Mallory's knights on a Grail Quest.
Okay, maybe I'm going a little over
your heads with that literary analysis bullshit in the last paragraph,
but trust me: when you read a gonzo story, you find out more about
the inner workings of the writer's mind than you do about whatever
the story's supposedly about.
Fear and Loathing in Alamosa (with
apologies to Dr. Hunter Thompson, who originated both the gonzo
style and the "Fear and Loathing" title) is an attempt
at gonzo journalism. It's not perfect gonzo -- I admit that freely.
For one thing, I haven't fooled around with the sheer number of
dangerous drugs that Thompson has in the course of his writing
career. Still, I like to think that for a first effort at gonzo,
F&L is pretty damn good.
Anyway, enough of my babbling, let's
get on with the story...