A short while ago, we posted what is arguably the best journalism want ad in the world, placed by Mathew Doig of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, who seems like a man who knows what he wants. Doig is looking for “the type of sicko who likes holing up in a tiny, closed office with reporters of questionable hygiene to build databases from scratch,” and the ideal candidate has:
[C]ursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede.
Credit goes to Lapham’s Quarterly for identifying the perfect applicant for the job. Unfortunately for Doig, he is already dead.
That applicant would be author Hunter S. Thompson circa 1958, who sent a cold-call letter to the Vancouver Sun when he was just 21, offering his services as a reporter. The letter is a classic:
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…
I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews. I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations. I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.
They belong together. FishbowlNY reached out to Doig to see if he would hire Hunter S. Thompson, circa 1958. We’ll let you know if we hear back.
*Update: We knew it! Doig responded via email:
As you may know, Thompson was cremated and had his ashes shot out of a cannon onto his property. My sister got to visit his house last year, and she scooped up some dirt from that part of the property, put it in a jar and gave it to me for Christmas. The jar is on my desk at work.