the fear


Part 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...