Editor’s note: In the wake of the pointless controversy between GT and the Facebook group “Gonzo Journalism and the legacy of Hunter S. Thompson,” our resident paradigm assassin questions the validity of our use of the term “gonzo” and whether it’s worth all the hub bub. However, he did ask us to stress to our readers that despite the views expressed below, he remains fully at the mercy of the whims of the Great Magnet, as well as our dedicated Senior Staff Writer.
“At the end of the day, I’m One Gonzo with the One Gonzo Family, no matter what.”
By Donnie Casto II
It’s been a minute since I really wrote anything of substance. Simply put; I’ve learned more often than not, some days you really don’t have anything to say. No sin in staying silent or observant. Stagnation, on the other hand, is like watching the ex-girlfriend who took over half of your heart stomp it as she walks by you, arm in arm with the new boyfriend.
I’ve always had a love/hate attitude towards people. Love in regards to the fact that all of us are interconnected and intertwined for the cultivation and improvement of each other in some ways. No man or woman can ever truly be an island unto themselves. Underneath the love, I harbor a dark storm of utter hatred for the utter ignorance and stupidity that human beings routinely perpetuate on each other. Greed, gossip, ego, ass kissing, conscience ignorance and betrayal have long since scarred and left me very skittish to ever fully allowing my fellow human beings inside the home of my heart.
That changed on a November day of last year after finding myself placed in the loop of a bunch of wild eyed, hedonistic, free spirited, mad loon bastards at a little spiritual rest stop called Gonzo Today. Sure, there was the connection to admiring the groundwork and path forged by one Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, an admiration for writing, art, and unity in the face of what defined ‘Gonzo’ to our lives.
A lesson life long ago taught me is that there is no Hollywood happiness in the real world. Few of us are blessed with a solid core group of friends, fewer have the television holiday gathering with the family, and even fewer find themselves winning the guy or gal that the evil bastards of this world seek to use, abuse, and corrupt. A glossy photograph of life is utter bullshit. None of us can lay claim to the knight in shining armor or the princess trapped in the high tower of the castle. All of us are scarred, broken prototypes with parts and pieces of lives, people, and memories intertwined into our essence.
We are the modern day equals of Frankenstein’s monster. With the potential for either incredible love to be poured out, shared, and seeded to take root in the fertile soil of our fellow human being; or we are the walking reaper whose presence, words, or touch can become the proverbial kill switch to a life whose potential we cut short. Times in my life I have often asked myself on which side has my life been more accountable for, and aside from my children, a few family members, and a select fewer of friend, I am humble and perhaps a bit mad enough to admit I’m not sure. For as many times a day as I can find a reason to say to the world “My God. . . I love everyone,” I can find as many equal reasons to simply say “Fuck everybody, nothing but a bunch of ego-driven, worthless, greedy, label-based self-righteous slugs.” I find myself leaning more towards the latter with the recent events regarding the goddamn word ‘Gonzo’.
A quick online search for the definition of this term shows that ‘Gonzo’ is “of or associated with journalistic writing of an exaggerated, subjective, and fictionalized style. Bizarre or crazy.” Yet demons run amuck, seeking to define, condemn, and punish merited writers, poets, and artist over a term linked with exaggerated, subjective, fictionalized, mediums of art. Not a term that to me, would justify the threats, bullshit and pissing contest that has risen online. Maybe the next comment will reek of sacrilege, but. . . it’s the truth.
Hunter Thompson, the great ‘Gonzo’ himself, is dead and has been since 2005. The energy remains, the standard is established, but the good old days of pilgrimage to the Dalai Lama of madness has passed on. And no generation that has passed into the great beyond of abiding, has a right to the work and living essence of those in the generation of the here and now. Maybe I’m the lone voice of dissent in all of this, maybe not, but in the spirit of moving forward individually and collectively, it’s time to drop the label. With the groundwork having already been forged by the blood, sweat and tears of another, why shouldn’t we become the next phase of an individual rebellion that started with the reality of Fear & Loathing?
Are we content to be pigeonholed in to a suit that is not of our own cut, perhaps not the right cloth and has been the cause of so much distraction in the medium we are all working on making into our brand. I personally don’t know Anita Thompson, and in regards to other individuals of the Owl Farm ilk, I don’t know them either. They could be the saints their parents prayed to the gods for. Then again, they could be the angel of light whose beauty disguises a devil with horns ready to break off in our ass or a fork itching to be rammed into our backs.
I wouldn’t try to imagine or to even presume to speak for everyone else, but personally, while I may have the artistic eye and mind of what defined ‘Gonzo’, I am NOT gonzo. I’m not a prototype, not out to make a verb a crux for lawsuits, pissing contest, and threats. Hell, I’m not even saving bags of dicks for that matter. The collective pissing contest has become more, much more than a re-run episode of the high school themed drama. It makes no goddamn sense! It’s like wearing a uniform of another and expecting to gain unique recognition for achievements that the departed hold claim to. The art might be gonzo themed, but individually and collectively, we are not the great Gonzo, no matter how passion or opinion wishes to dictate it so.
This body of work, this enlightening art is not a movement of the past, not something to be preserved away in a museum or locked away with a select few holding the keys. It truly is a collective movement of individual rebellion and until we all embrace it as such, the great Gonzo war will march on.