Hunter S. Thompson on Power

What is power?

According to Hunter S. Thompson, Gonzo Journalist extraordinaire, "Power is language.  Power is being able to use language.

"Power is the ability to help people.

"Power is taking risks.

"Power can be ruthless.

"Power is doing the right thing at the wrong time"

This thirty-second commercial was created for Macintosh in the 1990s when Steve "Jobs waxed lyrical about the 'crazy ones, misfits, rebels and rule breakers?' No surprise, then, that Apple decided to burnish its rebel credentials by hiring none other than the father of gonzo journalism to star in one of its TV spots."

But more than Fear and Loathing, Thompson was notorious not only for his drug-induced road trips, but also for his temper . . . and he was no techie.
According to Open Culture, "Presumably, simply having Thompson in the ad gave Apple enough countercultural cachet, since he never mentions either the company or its product. This may have been the result of previous grievances: according to legend, the journalist had received a Mac from the editors of the San Francisco Examiner in the mid-1980s, in hopes that the gadget would help him transmit his perennially late copy to the paper on time. Despite its many features, however, the Mac couldn’t stand up to Thompson’s temper (he was known to lose his cool when dealing with electronics). In a fit of rage, Thompson blew the machine to smithereens with his shotgun, and sent the remains to his editors. Power, indeed."
 But for all his quirks, Thompson answers a perennial question, "What is power?"

 How would you answer?  Education, language, position, politics, influencing behavior, making a difference . . . what kind of power do you want to exert on the world?


  1. Power in my book is having a positive influence on those around you. I remember not to long ago talking to someone that said he wanted to help the world, and my response was I would take care of myself first then take care of others. I believe in helping others and whenever I can I do, wether it be to give a dollar to a homeless man or an apple. Whatever the case may be I enjoy and feel great when I make a simple gesture that I know might make someones day just a bit better. I want to be a financial adviser maybe even own my own accounting firm to go with it then In the future I want to do more and then take my learning and apply it to other peoples lives in order to help them make the right decisions. I feel that many people do not know what they are doing and many entrust their money with certified thief's, I want to help those people not take advantage of them. That is power, taking the knowledge and good fortune you've had to spread it with a beneficial intent to help others, rather than use them.

  2. In my opinion power is confidence. In order to truly be powerful you must first believe in yourself and your ability to be successful. In an individual does not perceive themselves as worthy, no one can convince them otherwise. While many who struggle with confidence try to find worth in those around them, this type of confidence is fleeing and gives others dominance over the way you view yourself. Allowing another to dictate your self worth, exposes you to opinions of negativity and discouragement. Power must emanate from within you, because you are the only person you have control over.

    Sabrina Kirkpatrick

  3. Many people will have their own view on what power is. Personally, I believe that having power is having control. For example, the government has power over pretty much everyone, parents have power over kids, employers have power over employees, and teachers have power over students. Also, I have to agree and disagree with what Hunter S. Thompson thinks of power. I agree with language, risks, and ruthlessness being part of power, but I feel that someone can use power in a negative way as well, not only positive. People with power must use language, whether it is verbally or physically. It is not possible for someone to not speak up or take any actions and have power. Risks and ruthlessness, to me, fall under the same boat as the action part of language. When acting out, you sometimes have to take a risk and ruthless at times. Although, taking risking actions may cost you losing power. Like, a lower level manager could take a risk to better their company, but if it goes wrong, a higher level manager could fire them and they would be losing the power they once had in that business. Overall, I feel that power is dominance.

  4. There is not one true definition of what power is. Some people see it as having alot of authority, having lots of money, to stand up for what is right, but when I think of power the first word that comes to mind is strength. Growing up I was a comic/video game nerd and many of the characters said what power is. I do not seek to make a huge influential impact on the world because I do not care that much about eh human populations existence. They are destroying the world as we know it and is it fair for the rest of the planet to put up with humanities stupidity. The world would much be a better place without them. What kind of power I want is physical and mental strength, to be able to endure any situation and to overcome the problem.


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