An utterly brilliant piece of journalism plucked from Longreads’ end of years lists: The Daily’s Zach Baron spends a week in Las Vegas re-enacting Hunter S. Thompson’s famous steps, a la 2011.
The standfirst: “In 1971, Hunter Thompson first published ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ in Rolling Stone. Forty years later, The Daily’s Zach Baron revisits the piece and the town in which it was born, chasing Thompson¹s ghost through crazy desert car races, a dying local economy and a massive and menacing hacker convention known as DEFCON.”
Attempting to write about the Gonzo era – and in Gonzo spirit – could so easily have gone wrong. Instead, Baron pulls it off rhapsodically. Why does it strike such a chord? This passage sums it up:
“[T]he eerie thing about reading “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in this foul year of Our Lord, 2011, is the dispiriting sense of recognition that runs up the spine.”
Read it. I implore you. Stick with it to the end (it’s a monster). Journalism tends not to be done like this any more. Bravo.