Is Boston Really Gonzo?

Where did Hunter S. Thompson get the word "gonzo?" The accepted story's always been that it was a bit of Boston slang that a Boston newspaper editor first hung on Thompson. But—suck it Boston—that may be a myth!

In the traditional story, Boston Globe editor Bill Cardoso said Hunter's writing was "gonzo," which was Southie slang for "off the chain," and Hunter ran with it. But the Boston Globe (appropriately—or inappropriately? Discuss) reports today that decidedly non-Gonzo historian Douglas Brinkley says he got the real scoop from HST himself, before he offed himself:

Brinkley's account begins in a New Hampshire motel in 1968, when Cardoso and Thompson were covering the Nixon campaign. Thompson was listening to "Gonzo,'' a 1960 recording by the New Orleans pianist James Booker, over and over again.

Brinkley says that Cardoso was in fact inspired by this New Orleans record, not by any Boston slang. Of course some Boston people dispute this, but you know how Boston people are.

[Boston Globe. Photo via]