I want to take this opportunity, in this special edition of this legendary publication, to state what I have said many times over the last decade: The gonzo ethos and energy is needed now more than ever before.
What was once a raw and personal style of a countercultural reporter and a journalist is now available to all, to anyone who intends to tell a story in an effort to shed light on the truth of our shared humanity and who hopes to make an impact in the effort against injustice and corruption now can.
With the 2007 financial crisis, COVID-19 pandemic, and the events leading to the war raging in Ukraine, the whole world is realizing that all the leaders of all the parties in all the major counties are a bunch of sneaky, corrupt, hypocrite fucks playing games with our livelihood and our lives.
Most of us humans don’t want to kill each other, and we are able to see the inside of war via the internet like never before. Everything can be exposed and leaked in terms of the truth behind why all this baffling, inhumane, and often disgusting stuff is happening. All of the sensationalist talking heads and politicians, on the left and right, can be found out in their corruption by following the money surrounding them. This is the decade, in the 20s, that I believe we need every one of us to live gonzo, to get creative and fearless in our effort to shed light on the swine.
To me, gonzo is not about reckless abandon and substance abuse, but instead is marked by the courage to be experimental and to understand firsthand what society is experiencing, no matter how dark or taboo. Gonzo isn’t exclusively a printed writing style but is instead a first-person, participatory, and personal approach to journalistic content created in any medium. (I for one label my poetry, social media content, and podcasts as gonzo.)
Gonzo is not just reserved for one middle-aged, white male running around the 20th century United States but is instead now truly a tool of Freak Power as an inclusive, open-source way of sharing the world through anyone’s eyes. Finally, gonzo is not about Fear and Loathing but is instead about Fear and Loving (more on that later).
I was born in 1988, currently 33 years old, a millennial to my core, equidistant from both the Gen X and Gen Z cutoffs. I stared at Good Morning America when the Towers fell in 2001, at 13 years old; that day never left me. On February 20, 2005, when I was 16, I remember the moment in AP biology class when my friends—two identical twins whom I had started to experiment with cannabis and psychedelics with—were devastated to hear that Hunter S. Thompson was dead.
Later that year, I watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for the first time with my older cousin Amy, after attending Austin City Limits, my first music festival.
Up to that point, I had lived a fairly sheltered, albeit creative, life as a studious kid, shaken by D.A.R.E. and on the track to study to become an orthodontist. After I read Fear and Loathing–along with Bukowski, Dostoevsky, and Huxley–I knew I needed to alter my track and study journalism at a university.
As a college undergraduate attending school positioned in the center of a big city I’d never even been to, I would have abused drugs and alcohol at all the various concerts and blacklight-drenched frat parties, but after identifying as a poet and gonzo journalist, it started to become a part of my identity.
I co-created the online festival culture and electronic music publication LostinSound.org, which operated from 2009 to 2019. We were known for our gonzo accounts of festivals and the music scene, often touching on controversies and highlighting the changing psychedelic landscape of that decade. The festival, jam band, and electronic scenes are where the spirit of Thompson, and his work lived on most robustly.
Throughout that time, and in the years since, I realized that what has continued to deteriorate and disappear in the hearts of many people is trust and respect for media outlets, newspapers, and the companies that run them. There aren’t any Edward R. Murrows or Walter Cronkites today. The spirit and tenacity of Rolling Stone and even early VICE Magazine are not present in any of the major publications.
The internet in all its glory and ease, has evolved into a place where every voice, every web article, every YouTube vlog can all be dismissed as untrue or marked by a hidden agenda. Usually, that agenda is profiting, gaining more views and clicks via misleading headlines or conflict and drama-stirring ideas.
Hard news, the facts, what’s happening out there today—People often have more trust for information from gonzo livestreams like Unicorn Riot and videos shot on the scene via cell phones (@jonfarina). I have come to believe that what people need to read now are more publications and media outlets that are showing personal accounts of the experiences and identities that the writers are truly living. This content should be intended to build readers and the global society up, not tear it down with bombast and disrespect. I’ve been developing my own concept and blog, Fear and Loving (F&L), to be a place for just that.
I believe that millennials and Gen Z in particular have the least trust or belief in media and are lacking voices in media that they can relate to. OFM was one of the first media platforms to elevate LGBTQ people, people of color, the sex positive. I want to see F&L be all of that.
I want it to allow writers to speak on their mental health, their experience with substance experimentation and abuse, and all the wild confusing love we are all trying to navigate in this world. Every voice possible, other than those of hate and judgment, speaking out in the gonzo typeface.
Fear and Loving, and all new media sources, should be built as co-op decentralized businesses, in my opinion. Run by and owned by those voices and hands who are manning the ship and keeping its intention and focus un-corrupted by corporatization, greed, and compromised values.
The ability for information and ideas to zip around the internet at all times in every moment is any malicious global power’s worst fear; this is the time we create a new way to share and fight back together with Love not Loathing.
Send me any writing submissions that you think would fit our vibe and mission to email@example.com
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