An Open Letter to Gonzo

By: Thomas Foolery
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Editor’s note: Gonzo Today was dubbed intellectual property thieves and “vultures” in a recent Facebook post by the Gonzo Foundation, and brutal acts of violence against GT staff members have been proposed in a private social media group due to GT’s publication of some photos and faxes relating to Hunter S. Thompson that we received from journalist Kevin Simonson’s private collection. The items belonging to SImonson were published by his request and were explicitly identified as such. Below, one of our readers responds to this madness. 

Author’s note: I feel I must preface this screed with the absolute fact that I MUST get it out of my system for fear of a nervous breakdown or an undeserved assault & battery on an innocent bystander, or my laptop, neither of which will serve me well. Regardless, I’ve got nothing but love for all involved, but I find it hellishly unnerving to see someone falsely accused of something when innocent…a primary reason why I sometimes don’t play well with others. But, I assure you, there is no disdain, hatred or anything of the sort. In fact, I’m more depressed, let down in fact,  than anything. I honestly felt his widow understood HST’s points, philosophies, ‘blueprints’ and the like. It is abundantly clear she does not.

To My GT Friends:

This whole ream of horseshit slung at Gonzo Today since the gift of HST correspondence has had me twisted since I found out about it. I’ve called one of my (yet unpaid) attorneys at Ropes & Gray wherein they represented HST for a few years on a few projects when I worked for them…ahhh, the Glory Days of cubicle life. I called the Society of Professional Journalists and I even called my Grandmother.

No, just joking on the Grandmother part, she’s dead, but I did do some downright painfully hard thinking as she would have instructed me to do. My lawyer thinks GT should defend itself vigorously through the judicial process. I disagree and he’s a whoremongering boozehound greedhead, with a propensity for cocaine and speed, who’s looking to pad his next month’s billing quota with a new client for the Partners….

BUT, by all accounts these accusations that a rogue group of “profiteers” (GT) would “steal” HST’s personal archival expressions as nothing short of larceny and/or robbery is patently fucking ridiculous.

If The Widow, would just for a moment, read any of his letters (era 1959-1964) either through her unobstructed, unhindered access to the actual archives, a conversation with Doug Brinkley, or in reading a bit of the ‘Proud Highway’, she would know – without question – that Hunter Stockton Thompson wanted his works out there for the world to see; inclusive of his personal correspondence. I can say in all honesty, some of his drooling & dribbling love letters to his many girlfriends are far more embarrassing than a few faxes/letters exchanged through a longtime friend and neighbor. And any effort to circumvent “The Foundation”, Owl Farm and/or any other Estate-held collection is damn near fucking impossible. So what’s the issue? GT is not for profit. It is a collaboration of some of the best & brightest artists, musicians, journalists, writers and lovers of life I have ever had the chance to happen upon outside my pot dealer’s summer barbeque…and if I’m off base, please call me out, but a gift is a gift.

EG: Ralph SteadMAN did the Gonzo Today logo, not for money, but because he believes in their cause. If there is anyone on this doomed fucking planet that even remotely understands the inner workings of HST it is SteadMAN. Indeed. Thus, the woman who shared his bed for less than a handful of years and not always supportive of Gonzo (I reference “Animals Whores & Dialogue” wherein she intends to single handedly get the Good Doctor to focus entirely on Sports….stats, rosters, box scores and bullshit. At which he takes a GIANT rip of hashish from his pipe and tells her she’s fucking crazy and throws a grapefruit clear across the room) is now going to attempt to preserve Gonzo?

I find that hard to believe.

At one time, a few years ago, I wasn’t so skeptical, but that changed as months/years passed and the Foundation’s website wasn’t updated and the Shark Essay contest was not held, aside from its initial two years. The Widow enrolled back in college to finish her bachelor’s, Dougie Brinkley was gone from Owl Farm longer and longer, eventually taking up a fellowship at Rice University, his HST book long overdue (and as I understand it now scheduled for a 2016 release? Fuck Me)…The pattern is, or seems to me at least, to let HST’s fucking bonfire dwindle down to a mere ember.

BUT…An ember can still ignite a firestorm and this is where Gonzo Today comes in.

I am not a fan of FB. Never have been. Given ten minutes in a dark room with a black mask, I would pummel the shit out of Zuckerberg and his fucking cronies to the point of Criminal Battery. I used to view it as a tumor of sorts, a way for those in society to prey on others, and I was correct to a degree.

I enjoyed days of sitting totally stoned in a coffee shop, ripping butts and brainstorming with like-minded fuckers, ultimately ending up with all or most of us leaving with some new and typically excellent idea for a story, article, painting…you get the point.  Alas, those days are long gone & hard to find…So, I journeyed onto FB with MUCH trepidation, and very much to my surprise I found it to be an outstanding way to stay informed, keep in touch, collaborate…and…I found Gonzo Today.

I also found the other Gonzo-esque type FB pages (with no corresponding website) that are cool and all…HST quotes, pictures, peace, love and all that…but nothing like GT. I also found that organizations I’ve belonged to for years and even decades (SPJ for one) had FB pages as well, and as I explored the medium I found it wasn’t the boogey man I thought it was.

Hence my point.

UntitledOut of jealousy, rage or ignorance “another woman” doesn’t want GT to exist for a lot of reasons, I assume, but mainly because it’s real and competes with (well, kicks ass on) her own FB page of similar name. Now, there are a few folks on her page I’m close with and who are talented as a motherfucker, so I say who gives a shit? She feels the need to jump into the bloodied pool to cast stones at GT, whereas if the script was flipped she would’ve accepted those gifts from Simonson in a fucking heartbeat and ran to her computer to get them loaded for all the world to see.

Its pure jealousy.

As for the widow, I take great offense to her calling Gonzo Today greedheads, although I can’t speak for Gonzo Today, but being a starving writer/artist is not a joke and pounding out the work isn’t easy. And it’s noteworthy that nothing on GT is done for money. Nothing …The stories, articles, news, paintings, Ron’s stuff, Doc JH’s weekly address, all of the time and effort by so many…is all sincere and quality artistic expression that HST, if he were still around (and actually used a computer), would find to be badass

Let’s be honest – Gonzo Today is kicking the shit out of any other similar style website that does or doesn’t have a corresponding FB page. I don’t include those media outlets that have significant financial backing from a large corporation or benefactor, simply out of hatred, disdain and more so cuz Fuck Them. I don’t know the story behind GT, but I can fill in the blanks, and what Clayton Luce has done with the help of the entire collective- specifically managing editor David Pratt- is nothing short of fucking incredible. I am DAMN proud of it.

HST never trademarked “Gonzo” or the Dagger…intentionally…and other works of his have  been ripped off more times than a $3 whore’s panties in Roxbury: T-shirts, posters, coasters for drinks, pins, pens, condoms, hats, fucking anything that will make someone money has been emblazoned by any one of two dozen HST quotes, images, likenesses or otherwise.

Thus it’s ludicrous for anyone to state Gonzo Today is profiting from HST’s blood.  Apologies for this lengthy diatribe of gibberish but I tend to go off on a tangent when I’m pissed. In closing, let me say that I have nothing but love for Ms Thompson. I wish her all the best and simply ask she know the truth- or at least the facts- before she throws out baseless innuendo. We (GT I should say) are in the middle of a movement that could quite possibly change the fucking World, at least in the media sense, and I truly do believe that.Therefore I state:

“Leave Us The Fuck Alone To Do Our Work.

Please & Thank You”

Gonzo Today has solid leadership, outstanding members, insanely good talent and the platform to deliver the goods. Although, for the sake of continuity, I would ask the Widow this question: Are the Devils you don’t know any better than the ones you do? Experience has taught me otherwise.

Given the collective power of the members of the GT community, I hardly think anyone wants a war.

If they do want a war, we’ll give them a fucking war – but we fight with love, writing, music and Karma, as opposed to anger, violent threats, ego and greed.

Much Love and Respect.

I remain, Yours In Fear and Loathing,

Thomas Xavier Foolery, D.D.

About Dr. Thomas Foolery D.D. 5 Articles
Professional Weirdo.....College Graduate, Lifetime Academic......Asshole Journalist, Obsessive Writer.....Absolute Improper Bostonian....Rooftop Bellower & Moon Howler.....Warrior Poet & Hopeless Romantic....Non-Conformist By Choice....Newly Ordained Minister and Old Skool Doctor of Divinity.....Older than Most, Younger than Many....Always Goin Hard and Never Givin Up.