“Keep the rascals honest” is what my professors always say about the main purpose of journalism. Good journalists have a craving for the truth and a passion for the written word. Sometimes, though, the industry gets the better of some and sweeps potiential good journalists away – just like any career with a moral purpose can do I suppose.
I came across “Beware the Gonzo” on Netflix last night and the title entrigued me. I was worried, based of the description of the movie, that it was going to be a horrible flick and completely ruin the idea of Gonzo journalism. A prep-school kid gets tired of his school newspaper and creates his own underground paper. Sounded kind of corney, but I was pleasently surprised how good it was.
It’s a pretty good modern day Hunter S. Thompson type story. It captures a youthful craving for truth and morality. It roots for the underdog, but it also shows how that craving can get out of control. It’s a kind of utilitarian story, wanting to tell the truth for the greater good, even if it means hurting those close to you.
Yeah, it’s a movie about prep school kids and their struggles. Yeah, it’s a story that roots for the underdog – a story that’s been told since the beginning of time – but something about this one makes it better. Probably just my journalistic bias.
I say all my journalist friends should watch it, but really everyone should. It’s a reminder as to why I wanted to get into this field in the first place. It helps keep my head on straight and not get pulled down by the industry, but also to not go overboard.
Even if your not a journalist, whatever area you got into, there may have been some kind of moral reason, and just try and always remember what that was.