Hunter S. Thompson is famously referred to as the father of new journalism. His style of writing is clearly depicted in his article “The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved,” which was published in the year 1970. Thompson has received criticism and praise in equal measure, and his works continue to shape the field of journalism. The type of journalism that he invented was later on referred to as Gonzo, outlaw, and alternative journalism. In fact, Thompson’s style of journalism defied the rules of the traditional form of the art.
In contrast with the old style of journalism that was solely based on objectivity, Thompson’s new approach was subjective (Misiroglu & Charles 323). Additionally, it encompassed literary journalism, which includes the elements of fact and fantasy. The often-illuminating mixture of the two debunked the objectivity that was heavily stressed in traditional journalism (Misiroglu & Charles 323). “The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved” exposes the relativity of perception and experience. Additionally, it contains a lot of fiction and subjectivity while it describes the behind-the-scenes events of the prestigious horse race event titled The Run for the Roses.
The article is characterized by personal involvement, sarcasm, and controversies. Thompson was able to change the content of the article’s outline by describing the rot that was taking place in Kentucky Derby. The primary theme of the article was not the famous horse race event but the social ills that came with it. The advantage of Thompson’s new style of journalism is that it involves and engages the reader, thereby making it more effective in delivering facts and truths (Misiroglu & Charles 324). The reader is also able to relate to the journalist who also plays the role of a neutral observer in the story.
Misiroglu, Gina R, and Charles Allan. American Countercultures: An Encyclopedia of Nonconformists, Alternative Lifestyles, and Radical Ideas in U.s. History. London: Routledge, 2015. Print.