30 for 30 Does the Derby, Hunter S. Thompson Style

30 for 30 Does the Derby, Hunter S. Thompson Style

Nick Roushover 5 years


Aritcle written by:Nick RoushNick Roush


[caption id="attachment_198545" align="alignnone" width="600"]A print by Kentucky for Kentucky. A print by Kentucky for Kentucky.[/caption] In honor of the 142nd Run for the Roses, ESPN has produced a 12-minute 30 for 30 Short: Gonzo @ the Derby.  The short film provides context and for fans of gonzo journalism, and eloquently describes how gonzo entered American pop culture through Hunter S. Thompson's ground-breaking longform, written under duress in Scanlan's Monthly -- The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved. As a Louisvillian and gonzo activist, I can ignore the fact that this short's illustration is from what Churchill Downs looks like now, compared to its natural beauty in the pre-suite era of 1970.  The filmmakers speak to a wide variety of characters that includes Sean Penn, Scanlan's eye-patched editor and HST's illustrating sidekick, Ralph Steadman. The dynamic between Steadman and Thompson is what drives Decadent and Depraved.  It's one of the qualities that would come to define the art.  "We don't cover the story, we become the story,"  Steadman said. Gonzo is best summarized by Hunter's literary executor: "It's participatory journalism, it's investigative reporting, it's pure fiction, it's exaggeration." Stead man could not confirm or deny specifics to the story, but he did admit that by the end of their journey, "I was a hopeless mess, a basket-case." There are many that may see Thompson as nothing more than a deranged delinquent, but this short may help you better understand how Thompson used Louisville to create the epicenter of a counter-culture movement.  

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