Gonzo Journalism sadly has nothing to do with Gonzo, the Muppet, skulking around Washington, D.C waiting for his big scoop. It is a style of journalism that is not objective by the reporter. It is the antithesis of the journalist Edward R. Murrow. The journalist reflects his or her opinions and emotions. The term was first used to describe Hunter Thompson’s style of journalism. “Gonzo” is a slang term for the last man remaining upright in a drinking contest. I don’t know if it fits his style of journalism or not, but it’s certainly spot on for the man himself. In his novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, he uses this style of journalism to discover the, “American Dream.” I conducted my own search for the American dream by taking a journey to Washington, D.C. and unlike Thompson, my journey was drug free; mainly because I’m not cool enough to know anyone that would sell me drugs.
I started my trip from my hometown in North Carolina. I decided to ask some of the locals, who were standing in front of a Confederate monument, proudly defending their heritage by waving Confederate and American flags, what they thought the American dream might be. I pointed out that the American flag and the Confederate flag were two diametrically opposing flags if they thought about it. They did not want to think about it though. I wrote down several key words that I heard: wall, freedom, International House of Pancakes, Kyle Petty, Walmart, Jesus, Trump, the good book (bible?), heritage, Confederacy, Budweiser ( Interesting note, there was an adverse reaction to the exact same beer in a lighter form), the Alamo, Tim Tebow, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ulysses Grant (Union Officer?) and okra. I was excited by one word I heard which was, successful but due to a translation error caused by annunciation, I later found out they meant secession. I couldn’t arrange these words into any type of coherent meaning, so I journeyed on to my destination, Washington, D.C., in order to get a different perspective.
My first stop was to speak with Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. I couldn’t see him at first, because he was sitting behind numerous unsigned bills that were stacked up on his desk, but then he slowly poked his head out of his turtle shell. I asked him what he thought the American dream was and he enigmatically said, “American dreams can only be fulfilled by hard working Americans.” He went on to clarify, those people indigenous to this great land. I asked him if he meant Native Americans and he said, “the second most indigenous people in this great land.” I decided not to challenge him further on that point. He also mentioned conservative ideology, capitalism and filibuster. I mulled over what turtle-man said, but I still wasn’t convinced that was the American dream.
My last stop, was the top brass, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. I asked him to tell me about the American dream. He said it could be achieved by, “beautiful Americans with beautiful dreams.” I thought he was done because he paused for a long while, but then I literally heard a clunking noise coming from inside his brain, as if information were being filtered through a rusty, ill-used pipe. He laid out a whole series of ways the American dream could be achieved, through both beautiful and great means. Then he had to excuse himself because he said he had to sign, “important things” and needed to find his sharpie. I thanked the singled-cell organism for his numerous non-sequesters and departed for home.
On the way home, I thought about everything that was said, but I couldn’t form a pattern in all of it, except maybe for logical fallacies and weird syntax. I wasn’t discouraged though; I hope to find a different meaning of the American dream on November 3, 2020.