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Hunter S. Thompson Penned the Greatest Job Request in the History of Journalism

Before he became successfully gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson was a part time copy editor and dirt poor journo in New York’s Greenwich Village. On Oct. 1, 1958, Thompson penned a letter to the Vancouver Sun’s editor Jack Scott--who was making international news by pulling crazy stunts like sending his football editor to interview Chiang Kai-shek–formally offering up his services for hire. He compares himself to the Marquis de Sade.

Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley.

By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.

I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)

Nothing beats having good references.

He didn’t get the gig. Read the rest of the letter here.

Photo: Courtesy Magnolia, National Post

H/T The eXiled

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