Article summary: Dr Martin Hurst

In Honours blog on May 19, 2009 at 5:34 am

Dr Hurst, Martin. “What is Gonzo? The etymology of an urban legend” University of Queensland, 2004.

This is a look at where the term gonzo originated, and where it’s gone. Answers to these being, no one really knows, and everywhere!

Some qutoeable quotes:

After the Scanlan’s Derby story, Thompson meticulously perfected the gonzo style, even though its essence was its raw, un-edited quality.” (Hurst, 2004, pg. 2)

“Thompson’s ‘gonzo’ was new journalism with a twist,” (Hurst, 2004, pg. 3)

“…so instead of trying to write the story he simply tore pages from his notepad and presented them to the magazine.” (Hurst, 2004, pg. 3)

“…it became clear in 1970 that Thompson’s style of journalism was funny and popular.” (Hurst, 2004, pg. 3-4)

“…he would often file via the ‘mojo-wire’ (fax) after the deadline had expired in San Francisco, “too late to be edited, yet still in time for the printer” (Whitmer, 193, p. 198)” ((Hurst, 2004, pg. 4)

This article looks at the various forms gonzo is used, from marketing to sports. The linguistic origins are explored. A very thorough look at gonzo. Useful to me because it demonstrates that gonzo isn’t restricted to the written word. It can be brought out in all mediums…even podcasting I hope!

Here are some dictionary.com definitions of gonzo:



1. (of journalism, reportage, etc.) filled with bizarre or subjective ideas, commentary, or the like.
2. crazy; eccentric.

3. eccentricity, weirdness, or craziness.

gon·zoAC_FL_RunContent = 0;var interfaceflash = new LEXICOFlashObject ( “http://cache.lexico.com/d/g/speaker.swf&#8221;, “speaker”, “17”, “15”, “<a href=\”http://dictionary.reference.com/audio.html/ahd4WAV/G0191400/gonzo\” target=\”_blank\”><img src=\”http://cache.lexico.com/g/d/speaker.gif\” border=\”0\” /></a>”, “6”);interfaceflash.addParam(“loop”, “false”);interfaceflash.addParam(“quality”, “high”);interfaceflash.addParam(“menu”, “false”);interfaceflash.addParam(“salign”, “t”);interfaceflash.addParam(“FlashVars”, “soundUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fcache.lexico.com%2Fdictionary%2Faudio%2Fahd4%2FG%2FG0191400.mp3”); interfaceflash.addParam(‘wmode’,’transparent’);interfaceflash.write();<a
adj. Slang

  1. Using an exaggerated, highly subjective style, especially in journalism: “a hyperkinetic, gonzo version of Graham Greene” (New Yorker).
  2. Bizarre; unconventional.


/gon’zoh/ adj. [from Hunter S. Thompson]
1. With total commitment, total concentration, and a mad sort of panache. (Thompson’s original sense.)
2. More loosely: Overwhelming; outrageous; over the top; very large, esp. used of collections of source code, source files, or individual functions. Has some of the connotations of moby and hairy, but without the implication of obscurity or complexity.


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