Loathing in Southern Denmark: Gonzo Ethos in a Showdown with Tabloid Journalism

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In their self-proclaimed “cacophonous” book 'Borderland—The Tønder Case Investigated' from 2007, journalists Mads Brügger and Nikolaj Thomassen travel to Tønder in south-western Denmark, full of loathing. They are investigating an extensive case of child molestation and are alienated not just by the circumstances of the case, but also by the sensationalist way in which it is covered by the tabloids. Their own affective and transgressive Gonzo coverage might seem like a primitive way of fighting tabloid obscenity with more obscenity, and Borderland did earn mixed reviews. In the mix, however, was a remarkable acknowledgment of the book as an enlightening, even “sober-minded” book that successfully resolves “the paradox of [its own] bad language.”1 The journalists’ visceral response to the events seems
by its mere idiosyncrasy to offer a potential discursive liberation not just of the journalists themselves, but also of readers who can hardly adopt the book’s jargon without reflection or commentary. Instead, readers are left—or liberated—to “drum it up on their own,” i.e., make sense of the cacophony and define their own standards by picking their own words when sharing the story with others. Arguably, this dynamic of involving readers in an affect-driven rhetorical relay race is essential to Gonzo ethos more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFear and Loathing Worldwide : Gonzo Journalism beyond Hunter S. Thompson
EditorsRobert Alexander, Christine Isager
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Publication date26 Jul 2018
ISBN (Print)9781501333910, 1501333917
ISBN (Electronic)9781501333927
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2018

ID: 177030231