Books, Lit Fests, News, Movies, Art, Fashion and TV of course... "I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book." - GROUCHO MARX

My Photo

I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Friday, February 25, 2005

In Memoriam

Remembering 'Gonzo Journalist' Hunter S Thompson (July 1937-February 2005)
By Deepika Shetty

You either loved or loathed his writing style that's likely to be best remembered in the form of his cult classic 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' (published in 1972). I read it way back in the 1980's but was definitely not won over. The hazy Hunter dreams were evident in the exploits of 'fictional' writer Raoul Duke and his lawyer Dr Gonzo.

While I couldn't make much of their hallucinatory trip to Las Vegas what appealed in some small way was its central theme of the state of the American Dream. The lives of the rich and the decadent that were well captured in the book led to it being compared with another American classic 'The Great Gatsby.'

The book was later made into a film starring Johnny Depp as Duke and Benicio del Toro as Gonzo. It made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998. And while it flopped making just US $10 million, like the book, it won its share of followers over the years.

Thompson's claim to fame though came in 1966 with the publication of his book "Hell's Angels." This was the story of his infiltration of the then-feared Hell's Angels motorcycle gang, an adventure that got him savagely beaten.

While he was criticised in many quarters, no one could deny his contribution to what came to be called 'gonzo journalism'. Flirting between fiction and journalism, this form of writing saw the writer engaging himself and his personal views in the story. So rather than simply writing an account of the event itself, this hard-hitting style saw Thompson's capturing the mood of a place, an event and even being involved in the action.

Whatever his critics may have to say, he took journalism seriously and changed it forever by placing himself at the centre of his stories and commentaries. And for that he will always be remembered.