The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Gonzo, Vindicated

Posted on | November 9, 2010 | 1 Comment

Maetenloch at AOSHQ linked this list of the Best Magazine Articles Ever, and I noticed that Hunter S. Thompson was named twice in the top 10, for “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved” (where Thompson first displayed his famous “Gonzo” style) and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (originally syndicated in Rolling Stone).

Actually, we ought to demand a recount because (a) they omitted Thompson’s article “The Motorcycle Gangs” in The Nation, which formed the basis for Hell’s Angels, and (b) no Tom Wolfe? “Radical Chic” (New York, 1970) certainly deserves inclusion on any such list, as does “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson” (Esquire, 1965).

For good measure, I’d nominate Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s “Dan Quayle Was Right” (Atlantic, 1993), and Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s “Dictatorships & Double Standards” (Commentary, 1979). These were certainly consquential articles, as “Dan Quayle Was Right” was crucial in building support for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, and Kirkpatrick’s article provided a key element of the intellectual framework for Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy that won the Cold War.


One Response to “Gonzo, Vindicated”

  1. D.J. Phillips
    November 9th, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    I’m as surprised as you that nothing by Tom Wolfe made it to this list- but then again, maybe not. Wolfe is the only right-winger in that “New Journalism” crowd, and you can bet that that had an impact on his non-appearance. As for Thompson Himself, was there ever a more overrated, self-promoting hack? Wolfe went on to become an important novelist, while Thompson became a self-parody, an icon for Che-loving bourgeois liberals, and that scourge of responsible conservatism- the drunken, stoned-out-of his gourd gun-nut.