Term coined by Bill Cardoso in reference to Hunter S. Thompson's work. Specifically, the article The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, the account of HST's and Ralph Steadman's trip to cover the Kentucky Derby for Scanlan's monthly. The quote is: "I don't know what the fuck you're doing, but you've changed everything. It's totally gonzo."

See Also: gonzo journalism

In Italian a "Gonzo" is a gullible, stupid person - a sucker, if you will. It is listed as being "of uncertain origin"
This meaning appears to have no citizenship on the web...hence this writeup. I'd be really curious to find out wether there is a connection with the other, dominating one. And, if not, where does it come from? After all, it does not appear to be an English word.
gonkulator = G = Good Thing

gonzo /gon'zoh/ adj.

[from Hunter S. Thompson] 1. With total commitment, total concentration, and a mad sort of panache. (Thompson's original sense.) 2. More loosely: Overwhelming; outrageous; over the top; very large, esp. used of collections of source code, source files, or individual functions. Has some of the connotations of moby and hairy, but without the implication of obscurity or complexity.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

5pm-7pm everyday
Hosted by Zane Lowe

Gonzo is a delightfully wierd show, currently doing the rounds on MTV2 in the UK (looking at alien_life_form's w/u above, i can see where they got the name from). It is hosted by the charming (and hilarious) Zane Lowe, and is pretty much the only show on MTV2 with a human host (and is recorded in the UK). It airs from 5-7pm every night, with a "greatest of" episode aired on saturday and sunday, which outlines every great moment of the past week on the show (music video and otherwise).

Basically, it consists of Zane Lowe sitting on his arse for two hours on a brown couch with the odd alternative music video or three. When Zane is on screen, he ususally chats with the floor manager (forgotten his name, god bless) and reads some interesting posts off the MTV2 Europe message boards. He occasionally has guests in the form of alternative bands and whatnot, who happen to be in the area at the time (i.e. on tour).

It's great.

No, really!

Seeing as though it is MTV2's only "proper" show, it is also the main outpost for MTV2 news. It also has exclusive premiers of new music videos from new and old bands alike. Considering MTV2 is the largest alternative music station in Europe. you're more likely to catch a new video (or old favourite) on this show rather than anywhere else (for example, Kerrang! TV). So if your band has a new video, send it to MTV2. They may play it.

A new feature introduced recently is when underground bands have the ability to send their demos in, and if Zane and the rest of the crew like it enough (he's a pretty open mined guy about music) then they'll play a small snippet of one of the tracks and greet the world to your funkiness.

The couch itself is pretty crummy, looks like it's going to fall apart, and is plopped in front of a green screen, where random clips of kung fu films and the Strokes videos are played (as well as some Atari style video games). Zane blames the lack of budget , and how MTV2 they spent everything on their new website (see below). The whole look of the show is actually very much in line with the rest of the channel (very minimalistic).

It is likely that MTV2 will never play re-runs of it. Ever.

Go watch it. It's good.


Gonzo, like bullshit or beat or scumbag or love, might be a word best defined by half-synonyms and loose connotations. In this case: wildness, improvisation, manic flight, wheeling-and-dealing, bluffing, edgework, egotism.

Or a functional definition: handling something considered safe and sedate by consensus as if it was the last lap of the Indy 500 with a hand's breadth separating the top 2 cars.

Or a medical one: the adrenalin high produced by desperate staving-off of doom, all body systems functioning at 150% capacity like a cat that gains the strength of 10 men as it is being dragged to the bath.

A behavioral definition: trying to overcome dangers brought about by crazy actions with yet more crazy actions.

Though writer Hunter S. Thompson is the one who, by successful self-legendizing, has brought the word "gonzo" (of obscure origins) to fame, the mood of gonzo is present in many places. The movie Dr. Strangelove is an exploration of unsuccessful gonzo (if you consider nuclear eschaton an unsuccessful outcome). A college student deliberately holding off starting a paper until 2 hours before its deadline, then smoking weed while typing in order to get a combined panic/desperation/exhaustion/indifference/THC rush going is gonzo. The Marx Brothers might have something to say about it as well.

In a way, gonzo is a dark and sardonic version of the naive beat mania exemplified by Jack Kerouac's character Dean Moriarty. Hunter Thompson studied On the Road extensively, and who knows what lessons he took from it into the grim, ominous late 60s?

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