Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hunter S. Thompson and Matt Taibbi - A Tribute to Gonzo

The other day I clicked on a link to Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone piece, Obama’s Big Sellout, and to my surprise, it sent me to the home page of Rolling Stone (this link will bring you to a free re-print of the article). The magazine decided to put all their archives online, but for a price, and that included most of Taibbi’s work.

Hunter S. Thompson was the king and founder of Gonzo journalism. If you’ve never read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or Hells Angels, you are in for a real treat. It’s first person journalism where the journalist is real part of the story, and Hunter S. Thompson was some story.

No doubt Matt Taibbi was attracted to Rolling Stone and the mystique of Thompson’s legacy.


When Steven Schwartz, the chief digital officer for the magazine’s parent company, Wenner Media, was asked if they were going to favor digital over print he said. “We’re taking control of our digital destiny [...]This is not, let’s rush to the Web because print isn’t strong. This is our brand’s ability to tap into a new medium.”

In plain English, ad sales in print were down 20% in 2009 and competition from sites like www.pitchfork.com is killing them on the digital side, www.pitchfork.com is getting over 20 page views per visitor to www.rollingstones.com’s under 10. To make the site stickier they will put all the archives, with music snippets, on the site, but for a fee. From an advertising standpoint, it gives them a ‘premuim’ online product, plus the fees. It will be interesting to see how it works out. And having Taibbi, maybe the most interesting journalist in America right now, won’t hurt. They almost got me for the $3.99, but I resisted with religious fervor till I found Taibbi’s articles for free and reposted them here.

Taibbi is to Obama what Hunter S. Thompson was to Nixon. It was so funny to read Thompson’s eulogy to Nixon, He was a Crook. I remembered that quote from Nixon where he said he never took money as a politician, he had someone else do it for him. Can you imagine Nixon in the Oval Office shaking down Lloyd Blankfien? Hunter S. Thompson had what so many authors spend a lifetime chasing and never find, a voice. You read one sentence and you know it’s him.

Taibbi’s work on the financial crisis has shaped Obama's presidency more than any other journalist and his pen has gotten very close to the heart of the beast. He's approached Obama and the crisis without idolatry or fear and in true Gonzo fashion, with a pair a balls.

Below our links to some of Matt Taibbi and Hunter S. Thompsons work (Free) Enjoy

Matt Taibbi

Obama’s Big Sellout

The Big Takeover: How Wall Street Insiders are Using the Bailout to Stage a Revolution

Goldman Sachs: The Great American Bubble

How Washington is Screwing Up Health Care Reform – and Why It May Take a Revolt to Fix It


Hunter S. Thompson

The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved

William S. Burroughs

Ugly, Tasteless, Terrifying and Wild… Count me In!

He was a Crook




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