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¿Quién fue Hunter S. Thompson?

Hunter Stockton Thompson (Louisville, 18/07/1937 – Woody Creel, 20/02/2005) was an American journalist and writer. Thompson was the creator and maximum exponent of gonzo journalism, a type of journalism that proposes eliminating the division between subject and object, fiction and nonfiction, objectivity and subjectivity.

When Thompson was a young journalist for Time magazine, he copied the entire text of The Great Gatsby, by Scott Fitzgerald, and A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Twice. As his friend Johnny Depp told The Guardian: “He wanted to know how one felt when writing a masterpiece.”

Hunter S. Thompson, in ‘War Room’.


Thompson, later, was one of the drivers of the “Gonzo style”, a genre that combines the objectivity of journalism with the subjectivity of the novelist. They have said about him that he is the most important American humor writer of the twentieth century.

Icon of Gonzo Journalism created by Thompson.

Thompson was a correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine, where he worked for thirty years. It was at that moment that he saw that limits between objectivity and subjectivity disappear, because the protagonist is living the story. Facts, from a point of view of the first person and full of details are more important than the concept of truth.

In 1971, the work Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a Thompson novel that has become one of the benchmarks of Gonzo journalism and has become part of the American collective imagination. 



A man who postpones his election will inevitably have to choose by his circumstances –Hunter S. Thompson


La lección de Thompson:

First work, learn, listen to good references, copy the best, and after that you can demand, ask or expect. Never the other way around. Thompson invested endless hours in a learning process, which then paid off, giving him a new perspective, more knowledge, more resources and more options to exploit his creativity, even creating a new literary genre. But let’s not forget that he started learning and then finish creating.

As his own style shows, the limits between objectivity and subjectivity, the person and the character, the professional and personal life, can be so thin that it could disappears. However, what Thompson makes clear to us is a great lesson: it is not enough to say “I want to do” or “I want to be”, you have to work, prepare and learn for it, even if you need to copy up to twice the best works, to know what it implies and what it feels like. Then get out there and write your own story.