Some critics have either reduced or celebrated Thompson’s literary status as merely the transcriptions of a hyperbolic, deviant, or as one critic dubbed him, ritualistic writer, collecting himself within the popular, political, or cultural moment at any given time. There is truth to that. By the same token, to come to terms with Thompson’s self-titled “gonzo” style and approach to composition is to come into contact with one of the cultural byproducts of the 1960’s counterculture movement known as the New Journalism.
Coined to some degree or another by one of its own practitioners, Thomas Wolfe, the New Journalism sought to approach journalism more from the vantage point of the literary essay. It was enamored with the free speech movement coming out of the University of Berkeley in the mid-1960’s and possibly even more concerned with the idea that a nonbiased, objective journalism was veritably impossible. Thus, New Journalists sought not to even try to aim at objectivity. Rather, picking up off of the underground newspapers populating colleges, universities, and major metropolitan centers of influence, they aimed at trying to place themselves within the cultural moment being reported upon and attempted to give the most accurate description of all observable phenomena (including the feelings, emotions, and cultural ephemera that the reporter was experiencing at the time).
Oftentimes, this approach at compiling an absolute...
(The entire section is 1837 words.)
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