Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Gonzo is a style of reportage, film making, or any form of multimedia production in which the reporter, filmmaker or creator is intrinsically enmeshed with the subject action (rather than being a passive observer).
It's a misconception that the term was coined by Rolling Stone writer Hunter S. Thompson to describe his (often extreme) reporting. The word is attributed to Thompson, but it was first used by Boston Sunday Globe reporter Bill Cardoso who, after reading Thompson's infamous Scanlan Monthly article on the Kentucky Derby, proclaimed "That is pure Gonzo!" According to Cardoso , 'Gonzo' is South Boston Irish slang describing the last man standing after a drinking marathon. Thompson himself would instigate events, often in a prankish or belligerent manner, and then document both his actions and those of others. The term has also come into (sometimes pejorative) use to describe journalism (or generally any writing) that is broadly in the vein of Thompson's writing, characterized by a drug-fueled, stream of consciousness technique.
Gonzo also pertains to when a writer cannot remove himself from the subject he investigates. Thompson felt that objectivism in journalism was a myth (even though he was often accused of being too objective - not keeping the bigger picture in mind). The term has now become a bona-fide style of writing that concerns itself with 'telling it like it is', not far from the New Journalism practised by Tom Wolfe and Terry Southern.
Similarly, in pornographic movies, "Gonzo" refers to productions where the camera operator or director takes an overt part in the action, either by talking to the actors or by themselves being performers. Such movies often eschew narrative and plot, opting (as Thompson did) to present a roughly contemporaneous account of "actual" events. The intention of this is partly to involve the audience in the action, in a manner similar to the theater technique of breaking the fourth wall, but it is also economical as no one has to remember any lines. The term "Gonzo", was first used in pornographic by the West Coast chain of porn stores owned by Bay Management . Bay Management operates porn stores primarily in California, and has a near monopoly in most markets. The initial amateur offerings of Buttman, Ed Powers, and others were dubbed "Gonzo,"
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