English: Hunter S. Thompson, Miami Book Fair International, 1988 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I think of Hunter S. Thompson and his Gonzo journalism. There’s one story while on the campaign trail in ’72, he nearly got the shit beat out of him by Secret Service thugs by way of a misunderstanding.
Seems the campaign manager called Hunter out in a restaurant about something Mr. Gonzo had written about him in the Rolling Stone article that month. Though Hunter liked the man and was generally complimentary, about his appearance, Hunter called him rumpled and likened him to a used car salesman.
Walking into the restaurant the campaign manager yelled “You have the nerve to show up here!?” Dr. Thompson hadn’t noticed George McGovern, the candidate, was present as well as his Secret Servicemen who were about to pounce on the unwelcome journalist.
In the end, apparently it was just a joke and said campaign manager didn’t really care about Hunter’s comments, although his wife apparently hated Thompson for what he’d said.
I freelance from time to time for local publications and I can recall one artist that I know and respect talking to me about an art review of mine that had just been published about his show. He thanked me but added comments about how sometimes art reviewers will throw in a kind of back-handed compliment.
This remark always stuck with me because, like a double agent, I had my paranoia that his “back-handed comment” was, in fact, back-handed. You see, there was something about his exhibition that I was criticizing by artfully using the word “abundance”. I love this artist’s work but i felt there was too much of it being shown.
There can be alot of fear in journalistic endeavors, but then again, I guess one could say the same about any kind of story telling or communication in general.
The lesson learned is this: Don’t try to be artful. Be courageous and just say it. If your opinion insults someone then maybe you’ve given them the best gift of all–honesty.
Please stay tuned for my next blog post. I’m going to “review” The Miracle Show which was a group of artists who performed and showed work at Reno Art Works this weekend. I want to lay it out honestly; they’ll all forgive me.