2014년 9월 11일 목요일

[용어] gonzo journalism

Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative. The word "gonzo" is believed to be first used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who later popularized the style. It is an energetic first-person participatory writing style in which the author is a protagonist, and it draws its power from a combination of both social critique and self-satire.[1] It has since been applied to other subjective artistic endeavors.
Gonzo journalism involves an approach to accuracy through the reporting of personal experiences and emotions, as compared to traditional journalism, which favors a detached style and relies on facts or quotations that can be verified by third parties. Gonzo journalism disregards the strictly edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for a more personal approach; the personality of a piece is equally as important as the event the piece is on. Use of sarcasm,humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common. ( ... ... )

( ... ... ) Cardoso, himself a journalist, claims that "gonzo" is actually a corruption of a French Canadian word, "gonzeaux", meaning "shining path". While to my knowledge no such word exists, modern slang dictionaries speculate it is Spanish, perhaps after gonzagas, meaning "to fool". However, gonzo has made it into the 20+ volume set of the Oxford English Dictionary.
In gonzo journalism, there are no set rules, though like most writers, Thompson follows a successful style and framework, revolving loosely around the Kentucky piece. Thompson's own definition of it has varied over the years, but he still maintains that a good gonzo journalist "needs the talent of master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor" and that gonzo is a "style of reporting based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism" (Carroll, pxx).
This would be a good place to stop and talk about new journalism. Gonzo journalism is an offshoot of NJ. Hell's Angels is probably the only book of Thompson's that could be called NJ. NJ was a journalistic movement during the late fifties to the late seventies (whether it has all but disappeared I do not know). Writers, realizing that objectivity in news reporting is more or less a myth, tried to write about things as they saw them. The things they saw tended to be counterculture activities, such as peace demonstrations, drugs, flower children and music. These subjects were either ignored or misrepresented by the traditional mainstream press. The popularity of NJ was that it was a style that "put the pseudo- objective soporifics of the broadsheets to shame by applying to journalism the techniques of the realistic novel", however, "it required a romance with reality that undermined the ideologues' lust for self-deceit" (Vigilante, 1988, p12). When done right, new journalism is usually more true. Rock journalism is also a cousin of NJ - here is where the impact of magazines such as Rolling Stone are felt. Gonzo neatly falls into place alongside the participatory journalism of writers such as George Plimpton with his sporting books like Paper Lion and Shadow Box.
( ... ) There are seven main characteristics that appear in his writing. They are:
- overlapping themes of sex, violence, drugs, sports and politics.
- use of quotes by famous people and other writers or sometimes his own as an epigraph
- references to public figures such as newspeople, actors, musicians and politicians
- a tendency to move away from the topic subject or subject he started out with
- use of sarcasm and/or vulgarity as humour
- tendency for the words to flow and an extremely creative use of English
- extreme scrutiny of situations
As discussed in the previous essay, Thompson tends to write about things he is personally involved in. He knows his own hobbies well and it seems to be what his readers want. Subjects like drugs, sex, violence and sports also seem to be the obsession of North America, so therefore Thompson is literally writing not only about himself but a large part of the population. ( ... ... )

( ... ) In an article appearing in the journal American Speech in 1983, Peter Tamony claims that Gonzo’s “earlier history is obscure.”[n.1] While this remains true, a few sources suggest the word’s origins. For example, Tamony speculates that “Gonzo looks Spanish” and asks whether the word might be an Americanization of ganso, meaning “‘gander, lazy slovenly person, [or] dunce.’”[n.2] The Oxford English Dictionary suggests another possible source, the Italian gonzo, meaning foolish. The OED defines the adjective form of “gonzo” as “designating a style of subjective journalism characterized by factual distortion and exaggerated rhetoric . . . bizarre, crazy” and the noun form as “a person who writes in this style.”[n.3] The word has been used, in the United States at least, to sell everything from pizza to Muppets to motorcycles (Pollak 1975),[n.4] and it is commonly understood by people who have never heard of Hunter S. Thompson to mean “crazy, off the wall, out of control.”
( ... ) However, in an article tracing the word’s etymology, Martin Hirst discounts Cardoso’s guess,[n.6] and in any case, “shining path” doesn’t seem to describe Thompson’s writing, which more often assumes the form of a “savage journey,” as the subtitle of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas suggests. Another Thompson biographer, Peter O. Whitmer, claims that Gonzo was a term that the “South Boston Irish used to describe the guts and stamina of the last man standing at the end of a marathon drinking bout.”[n.7] Given the subject of Thompson’s “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” this definition seems to correlate most closely to Cardoso’s reaction. Thompson himself has explained that he understood “gonzo” to be “some Boston word for weird, bizarre.”8 William McKeen explains that another possible origin for the word is a New Orleans instrumental tune with which Thompson was familiar.9 “From the first,” Tamony notes, the word “seems to have denoted ‘brash, importunate, flamboyant,’” a fair description of Thompson’s journalism.[n.10] Tamony correctly asserts that the “earliest use [of “Gonzo”] linked the word with drugs and journalism,”[n.11] but the journalistic method of reporting, writing, and editing that Gonzo specifically describes does not necessarily require that the writer be, as Thompson notoriously often was, under the influence of mind-altering substances.
In a letter to Jim Silberman of Random House, Thompson confessed that he had mostly fabricated the depiction of drug use in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.[n.12] Tamony hedges the drug issue when he says that the term has come to denote a style of journalism rather than just Thompson’s specific work,[n.13] which raises the obvious question: can similar techniques employed by other journalists appropriately be categorized as “Gonzo”? Examining the term in its fullest context, I would suggest that there’s only one true Gonzo journalist, and that’s Hunter S. Thompson.
In an article published in the short-lived Scanlan’s Monthly in 1970, Thompson presented his first experiment with a new style of journalism, “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved.” The Derby story introduces several elements that would become characteristic of Thompson's Gonzo journalism:
(1) the presence of a first-person, autobiographical narrator who assumes the role of protagonist;
(2) the participation of a male bonding figure, in this case illustrator Ralph Steadman, who, like Oscar Zeta Acosta would later do in Las Vagas, plays the role of Thompson's comic foil;
(3) the change of focus from the ostensible subject, the Derby itself, to Thompson's failed return to his hometown, Louisville, Kentucky, to face his personal demons;
(4) and, finally, Thompson's agonized struggle to produce a finished article by deadline. After a frenzied bout of hard drinking and a prolonged dark night of the soul among Louisville's Blueblood elite, Thompson confesses he had "blown my mind, couldn't work. ..." [n.14] McKeen explains that Thompson's narrative "was only ^fairly^ coherent because, under deadline pressure, Hunter broke from the narrative and started sending the editors scrawled pages ripped from his journal: half-formed thoughts, sketches, semi-lucid notes."[n.15]
In a "Techincal Guide to Editing Gonzo," Robert Love demonstrates Thompson's legendary practice of transmitting unedited copy via his Mojo Wire to hapless editors who scrambled to make sense of it all.[n.16] Upon the Derby story's publication, Cardoso, impressed with the results, wrote to Thompson, praising the piece as "pure Gonzo journalism," the first use of the word to describe a journalistic style.[n.17]
At least two figures in Thompson’s life claimed to have co-created gonzo journalism: Oscar Zeta Acosta, author, activist, and the prototype for the Samoan attorney in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and artist Ralph Steadman, mentioned earlier. In a letter to Playboy Forum, Acosta insists that his direct participation in the infamous journey that inspired Thompson to write Vegas contributed to the creation of Thompson’s Gonzo style.[n.18] Steadman contends in his memoir of Thompson, The Joke’s Over, that his drawings were as much a part of the original Gonzo reading experience as Thompson’s prose.19 Of the two, Steadman, whose work will always be closely associated with Thompson’s, has the better claim, having illustrated the “Kentucky Derby” story, the first bona fide Gonzo text.
A number of critics and journalists have helped provide us with a comprehensive understanding of Gonzo journalism. McKeen writes that Gonzo “requires virtually no rewriting, with the reporter and the quest for information the focal point. Notes, sketches from other articles, transcribed interviews, verbatim telephone conversations, telegrams—these are the elements of a piece of Gonzo journalism.”20 Jesse Jarnow adds that “as a literary style, [Gonzo] had two main tenets: total subjectivity and a first-draft/best-draft approach that jibed perfectly with the post-Beatnik literary world of the late 1960s.”21 In his “jacket copy” for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Thompson has claimed that Gonzo is based partly on William Faulkner’s observation that the best fiction is truer than fact.22 Thompson’s best-known work of Gonzo journalism is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, a crazed account of dune-buggy races, district attorneys, and massive substance abuse in Sin City in 1971. Thompson later confessed that he regarded Vegas as a failed experiment in Gonzo journalism because he had to revise his prose to create the effect of raw spontaneity,23 and yet, as multiple interviews testify, he defined Gonzo differently at different times. In a way, Thompson seemed stuck with a label that he didn’t create and that he could never completely define. 
Seen from one perspective, Gonzo reflects Thompson’s iconic, drug-slugging lifestyle, full of “fear and loathing” and “bad craziness.” Gonzo is also a mode of perception in the sense that the deliberate derangement of the senses through drugs and alcohol de-familiarizes reality, opening the door to paradoxically clearer perceptions, a twisted perspective evoked so perfectly by Steadman’s grotesquely expressionistic caricatures. Gonzo is also a narrative technique, a form of subjective, participatory literary journalism that places the narrator in the center of the narrative while it spontaneously records a dark reality, often fabricated. Gonzo also describes Thompson’s style, employing a verb-driven, “running” syntax, as well as digressions, metaphors, fragments, allusions, ellipses, abrupt transitions, and gaps, all of which model
the narrator’s feelings of desperation, degradation, and despair. As Thompson frequently maintained, Gonzo also represents a commitment he shared with George Orwell “to make political writing into an art,”24 an expression of his leftist-anarchist politics, best exemplified perhaps by Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72. Gonzo is even a kind of journalistic ethic, as Thompson told P. J. O’Rourke: “If I’m going to go into the fantastic, I have to have a firm grounding in the truth. Otherwise, everything I write about politics might be taken as a hallucination.”25 Finally, Gonzo was a way for Thompson to differentiate himself from other New Journalists of the same era—Wolfe, Mailer, Didion. As Thompson related to one interviewer, “I just thought if I’m going to be a journalist, I might as well be my own kind.”[n.26]

The traditional role of a journalist has often been that of an objective outsider who simply observes and reports a newsworthy event, not an active participant in or instigator of that event. A responsible journalist could still express personal thoughts and other subjective observations, but there needs to be a clear separation between the reporting journalist and the event itself. This journalistic philosophy does not hold true, however, in a radical form of news reporting known as gonzo journalism.
In gonzo journalism, a journalist is free to participate in events and circumstances which may themselves be considered newsworthy. A gonzo journalist can actively participate in a political candidate's campaign without making any effort to appear politically neutral or unbiased. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of gonzo journalism is an almost complete personal immersion into the world a gonzo journalist ultimately wishes to expose or record for posterity.
While a traditional journalist might interview drug dealers or drug addicts for an expose on the local drug trade, for example, a gonzo journalist may actually participate in the shady deals and backroom exploits of a drug kingpin or a local gang. The purpose of gonzo journalism would be to produce a brutally honest or highly subjective journalistic piece based on the real experience of a trained reporter writing from the inside. A gonzo journalist is not necessarily protected from law enforcement efforts, so even the legal ramifications of the journalist's actions could become part of the news story.
Perhaps the most famous gonzo journalist was the late Hunter S. Thompson, a self-styled renegade reporter who frequently wrote pieces for Rolling Stone magazine while living a no-holds-barred personal lifestyle. Ostensibly assigned to cover the 1972 presidential campaign, for example, Thompson instead chose to deviate from the campaign trail and report on his own drug and alcohol-fueled adventures. His book Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail has since become a classic example of gonzo journalism.
Critics of gonzo journalism consider the practice to be little more than sanctioned hedonism. Responsible journalists should not take it upon themselves to instigate news items or become completely immersed in the very culture or circumstances they have been assigned to observe. Gonzo journalists are a rare breed of writer, often possessing larger-than-life personalities and a "gonzo" or go-for-broke approach to the subject at hand.
While some reporters may choose to explore "participatory journalism" under the strict guidance and supervision of a superior, gonzo journalists often take it upon themselves to experience the event on a personal level first, then rework their observations into acceptable journalistic form later. While a magazine or newspaper may underwrite some of the gonzo journalist's expenses while on assignment, a true gonzo journalist is keenly aware that he or she is working without a net.

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