Hunter Stockton Thompson and his effect on Journalism in the 20th century

Essay by MhootsCollege, Undergraduate October 2014

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Hunter Stockton Thompson was an anomaly; he was a journalist and a perjurer, a patriot and a traitor, he revolutionized his industry and dragged its name though the mud. Thompson was many things throughout his life from a juvenile delinquent to a celebrity, and even a would be politician, but through it all he was a journalist. His style of "Gonzo" journalism let the reader experience some of the most significant societal and political events in America from the 1960's to the early 2000's through his biased and often distorted view, all the while watching as his dreams and ideals about the country he loved slipped farther and farther out of reach. His unique and ever changing writing, and life, impacted pop culture and political discourse alike. He spent his life fighting for what he believed in, attempting to point the spotlight he drew to himself at the parts of our society that threatened his dream for a better world.

Hunter S. Thompson was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on July 18, 1939. After his father's death when he was 14 his mother fell deep into poverty, and alcoholism. As a teenager he was a delinquent and while in high school he was arrested for stealing someone's wallet, given the choice between the military or prison he joined the air force. While in the armed forces he worked as a sports writer for the military newspaper at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. After leaving the air force he moved forward with his career as a sports correspondent; a fairly straight forward path until he was assigned to write a story about the Kentucky derby in June of 1970.

The product of this assignment, "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved," was far from the story Hunter set...