The tragic death of anyone notwithstanding, it is troubling to see how the news media has fawned over "Gonzo" journalist Hunter S. Thompson since he killed himself on February 20, 2005. Indeed, Thompson -- who is best known for authoring "Hells Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 72," and his role as the "Uncle Duke" character in Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau -- was actually a destructive character of the late 20th century.
Along with drugs and marijuana prophet, Dr. Timothy Leary and others from the previous generation squeezed out of the "greatest generation," Hunter Thompson helped the anti-establishment boomer generation launch the drug culture that continues to erode our society. Certainly not a counterculture to be proud of.
And as for Hunter's style of the so-called new journalism, it is clearly alive a well in the new millennium, personified by the likes of Michael Moore, Al Franken and many self-injecting journalists of the day who carry on Thompson's legacy, even as one of his latest books -- "Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness - Modern History from the Sports Desk" -- finds renewed interest.
At least the media could have informed readers about the definition of "Gonzo" since it is attached to all the Hunter Thompson coverage. According to a Google source it seems that Gonzo journalism is highly subjective and extremely personal form of reporting. And Gonzo is really an Italian word for absurdities - "gonzagas," which is an appropriate definition, and probably a corruption of the French Canadian word "Gonzeaux" meaning "shining path." However, it is apparent that no such word as "Gonzo" officially exists, nor is it worth remembering beyond the absurd.
Daniel B. Jeffs, founder
The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS:
How a Tragedy Has Been Distorted
by the Media and Partisan Politics
Author: Michael Fumento
Publisher: Basic Books
(First Edition - see 1993 Second Edition below)
DDC Comment: Michael Fumento http://www.fumento.com is an honest journalist and author dedicated to determining the unvarnished truth, which is unfortunately rare in the highly partisan and subjective news business. On February 26, 2005, C-Span ran an encore Book Notes dated February 16, 1990 on Michael Fumento and his book, with Brian Lamb, which was well worth watching. Even though his book received fair and positive book reviews, Mr. Fumento described the censoring of his book by booksellers and the hateful reaction from extremists and the news media, which he aptly described as playing on sentiment to make AIDS a threat to everyone with overblown sensationalism. Brian Lamb referred to a column by then CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg (author of Bias and Arrogance exposing media bias) published in the Washington Post defending Fumento and his book.
>From the Second Editon Publisher, Regnery Publishing:
In this lucid and informative book, Michael Fumento explains the facts about the transmission of AIDS and exposes the tragedy of the campaign of misinformation which has surrounded this disease for decades.
Systematically debunking the myths about transmission and the travesty of the misuse of AIDS information, Michael Fumento demonstrates the harm that has come from keeping the American public from the truth about AIDS.
Praise for The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS
"Ably cutting through the statistical forests that make AIDS reporting so treacherous, Michael Fumento puts the risks we differentially face from this dreadful disease in comprehensible perspective." - John Allen Paulos, author of Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
"A signal contribution to our understanding of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Fumento has marshaled the epidemiological evidence with courage, conviction, and compassion. His is a major contribution, allaying public hysteria and focusing efforts for control and care to the high-risk groups most in need." - Alexander D. Langmuir, M.D., M.P.H., Former Chief Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control
FROM THE CRITICS
The belief that AIDS is poised to break out widely among non-drug-abusing heterosexuals is a myth created by the media and public health officials, charges Fumento. This former AIDS analyst for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights contends that estimates of the number of infected people, and of the risks to heterosexuals, have been grossly exaggerated, arguing further that the epidemic appears to be peaking. According to Fumento, two groups have fueled the alarmist myth: prudish conservative moralists and liberal ``democratizers'' eager to demonstrate that AIDS is not a ``gay plague.'' His allegation that AIDS research has drained funds from the fight against cancer will outrage activists who want more federal dollars spent on AIDS. Among this polemic's more controversial or startling contentions is the assertion that the incidence of AIDS in Africa has been greatly overstated, and the claim that bisexuality among U.S. blacks and Hispanics, far more than that among whites, has played a major role in AIDS transmission.
Written by a former AIDS analyst for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, this book is certain to be controversial. Its stated purpose is ``one of trying to show the effect of politics on AIDS and to some extent on science in general, and to provide an objective account of the risks of contracting AIDS and of the scope of the epidemic.'' Fumento's premise: ``among the great wide percentage of the nation the media calls `the general population,' that section the media and the public health authorities has tried desperately to terrify, there is no epidemic.'' Attempting to mollify the fears created by ``alarmists,'' the author uses an insidiously homophobic, flippant style to heighten an ``us verus them'' attitude toward the crisis, claiming that the money spent on research and education is being siphoned from other more deserving diseases. Though Fumento throws a lot of statistics around, his argument is contradicted by the continuing spread of AIDS among heterosexuals. Not a balanced approach.--James E. Van Buskirk, Acad . of Art Coll. Lib., San Francisco
Subtitled How a tragedy has been distorted by the media and partisan politics. Counters the predictions of an imminent AIDS epidemic among the general population. In a rapid fire, journalistic style, Fumento, a frequent writer on AIDS, reinterprets figures and conditions, and notes who benefits and who suffers from alarmist publicity. A refreshing, upbeat, AIDS book.