Go Gonzo Journal started in October 2009 as an extravagant idea in the mind of Anthony Varriano, your devoted editor, whose interest in the 1960’s Gonzo Movement sparked a longing for the days when popular media and the establishment were publicly bashed in magazines and newspapers all over the country. After reading Hunter S. Thompson’s The Great Shark Hunt, some of the absolute best American journalism ever written, I was hooked and devoted my time to reviving the sad state of affairs we call the popular media.
It’s ironic Go Gonzo Journal spawned out of a discussion over shots of Crown Royal at a bar in Philipsburg, Montana, a place so similar to Hunter’s Owl Farm outside Aspen, Colorado that had he ever visited he would have felt at home. Speaking with a writer and publisher of a local journal who was an avid supporter, I was consumed by the idea. After stumbling home, I bought the gogonzojournal.com domain and got to work.
I had never designed a website, but I was determined to bring my idea to fruition. I started writing Gonzo articles every night. I was glued to my computer like Hunter was glued to his typewriter. I had a bulletin board littered with possible subjects…a folder jam-packed with news articles and possible leads. I wrote until the wee hours of the morning, a bottle of Wild Turkey constantly with me, a pack of cigarettes by my side. Eventually, writing a little over 25,000 words in a month had taken its toll. I was slacking at my full-time job and was laid off, presenting the perfect opportunity to focus solely on Go Gonzo Journal.
Returning to Bozeman, Montana, I had ample time to finish the first online publication, and even recruited the help of a few friends to write articles. Since many of them were full-time college students, the amount of content suffered and frequent updates became a virtual impossibility. I sold my computer and got a real job after 6 months of unemployment, but I renewed the domain for 2 more years hoping to one day take another crack at it.
That day has come. In May 2011, I had saved enough money to once again focus solely on the journal, and instead of vowing to have full control over the site content and design, I built a new version assembled as a glorified blog. My authors can log in and submit articles for me to review and publish as I see fit. My cohort, Professor Heinous, and I also designed an array of hilarious T-shirts to be sold on the website with the hope to pay domain and hosting fees, as well as supplement the potential growth of the journal to physical publication.
We hope you enjoy what you read and contribute your own Gonzo stories to be shared with the online world. Together, in time, we can change the face of popular media and bring back the voice that was so powerful during the heyday of American journalism.