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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Illustration by Nick Gazin
VOLUME 10 NUMBER 12 Cover by Mishka Henner. The cover image is what Coronado Feeders, in Dalhart, Texas, looks like from space. And, yes, that thing that looks like Earth’s gaping, bleeding asshole is a half-mile-by-half-mile runoff pool of cow shit and piss. It’s from Mishka’s new series, which consists of mega-high-resolution composite satellite images of cattle farms and oil fields (mostly in the American Southwest).
DISEASES ARE SMARTER THAN OUR MEDS Everyone Will Be Sick in the Drug-Resistant Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
BEEF AND OIL A Bird’s-Eye View of Two of Modern Life’s Most Precious Commodities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
RUNNING ON EMPTY Squandering the Earth’s Natural Resources Sure Was Fun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
COWARDS ARE BLACKMAILING YOUNG WOMEN TO DEATH ON THE INTERNET Along with an Assortment of Other Disgusting Acts of Online Sexual Extortion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
DON’T GET CAUGHT I’ve Spent Eight Years and Counting in the System for a Nonviolent Felony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
THE SECRET DRINKER’S HANDBOOK Follow These Ten Rules and Become a World-Class Clandestine Alcoholic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
14 Masthead 16 Employees 18 Front of the Book 70 Li’l Thinks: Realness, to the Extreme 72 Combover: Santa Daddy 74 The Cute Show Page! 76 Reviews 80 Johnny Ryan’s Page 12 VICE
Discover the true cost of your tuna sandwich For every three tonnes of tuna caught using Fish Aggregation Devices, a tonne of other sea life, including turtles, rays and whales, is needlessly slaughtered. Yet many Australian brands still source tuna ﬁshed in this destructive way. Visit changeyourtuna.org and ﬁnd out which brands you can support to stop the cruel and wasteful use of ‘FADs’.
FOUNDERS Suroosh Alvi, Shane Smith
CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER Eddy Moretti
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WORDS Bruno Bayley, Bert Burykill, Kate Carraway, Scott Dozier, Brett Gelman, Angel Lauren, Clancy Martin, Patrick McGuire, Brian Moylan, Chris Nieratko, Sean Yeaton
DIGITAL OPERATIONS MANAGER Todd Andrews (email@example.com)
PHOTOS Janicza Bravo, Mishka Henner, Andrew B. Myers, Christian Storm ILLUSTRATIONS John Bogan, Alex Cook, Nick Gazin, Penelope Gazin, Esra Røise, Johnny Ryan, Jennifer Sims, Sam Taylor COPY EDITOR Sam Frank
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PRINTED IN AUSTRALIA VICE.com 14 VICE
EMPLOYEES OF THE MONTH
MISHKA HENNER Mishka is obsessed with the digitalisation of the world and spends most of his days pouring over satellite images, Google Street View, online forums, and data sets. He just had a baby girl and wanted to name her Jpeg, but his girlfriend said no because that’s what moms are for. He’s been short-listed for this year’s Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for No Man’s Land, a series of Street View images of European sex workers. In this issue, we’re proud to feature his terrifying satellite composite images of massive beef farms and oil fields in the US. The photo essay doubles as the catalogue to Mishka’s solo show at the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, England, which will run March 1 to May 5. See BEEF AND OIL, page 44
ESRA RØISE Esra is a Norwegian freelance illustrator who lives and works in Oslo. Ever since she graduated from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts she’s been drawing at her kitchen table for the likes of Vogue, Nylon, Nike, and Levi’s. Esra uses a combination of watercolour, ink, and pencil in her works and loves spending ridiculous amounts of time trying to re-create moments that last only a split second—like those photos people sometime snap of you midword or blinking funny, where you look like a mutant. For this issue, she illustrated Clancy Martin’s harrowing, all-too-real guide for alcoholics who want to hide their boozing from loved ones, and in the process made us really thirsty. See THE SECRET DRINKER’S HANDBOOK, page 60
PATRICK McGUIRE Patrick is VICE Canada’s new managing editor, but dude’s been with us for quite a bit now. He bided his time by doing the boring shit like online-advertising operations until he told us Anonymous wanted to have a baby with him and started writing about the internet and other things for VICE.com that made us very scared. Recently, Patrick has been investigating an online ring of pedophiles who prey on young girls via webcam chat sites, and who may have pushed a 15-year-old named Amanda Todd to suicide. Lately, he says, he’s been trying to wash his soul clean by taking scalding showers. We’re sure you’ll want to hop in with him after reading his story in this issue, which delves deep into the grimy world of the next frontier of sexual extortion. See COWARDS ARE BLACKMAILING YOUNG WOMEN TO DEATH ON THE INTERNET, page 54
JONNIE MORRIS Film editor Jonnie Morris joined our Melbourne office this year and has been cutting all of our videos into fluid, coherent mini movies that make sense and are nice to watch ever since. We like her so much we’ve even built a tiny, windowless room for her to work in. Not that she complains. Before coming here, Jonnie directed and edited films for things like ESPN, Al Jazeera, as well as VICE in the UK. For the purposes of this blurb, we asked her about her favourite books, foods and movies, which definitely made her feel like we were judging her. The only thing she’d tell us is that she hates mushrooms. Nice one, Jonny. No one would ever judge you on the basis of something as reasonable and grown-up as that. See Jonny’s work in our KNAPSACK BARTENDER series, now showing at VICE.COM
MELISSA TAN Melissa was a pretty good intern. She did all our annoying jobs and always acted surprised when we apologised for how boring they were. Her enthusiasm and young-person-internetskills were very handy additions to our office of Angela Lansbury types. Then on her last day she turned up with a bag full of assorted rich people chocolates and the most inappropriately sexy cactus a workplace has ever seen. It was pretty awesome until someone pointed out it made us look like a bunch of inconsiderate, selfish assholes. So thanks Mel, not for the hours of hard work, but for giving us a cactus shaped like a penis. By the way, you’ll be hearing from our lawyers. Sexual harassment is not a joke. Be the next Melissa, send your intern application to STUFF@VICEAUSTRALIA.COM
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HAVE ANIMALS DECLARED WAR ON US? For millennia, humans have been wreaking havoc on animals by doing things like hunting them for sport, destroying their habitats to make ourselves more comfortable, and skinning their carcasses so rich people can have fashionable gloves. And now it appears that animals are perhaps striking back. In September, rabid beavers began attacking swimmers in Fairfax County, Virginia; in 2010, swarms of vampire bats attacked more than 500 people in a Peruvian village, killing at least four; and chimpanzees have recently been assaulting people and even stealing and eating babies in Africa and India. Most experts dismiss such incidents as “odd” and poohpooh the theory that they are part of some larger trend. In 2008, John Jeremiah Sullivan wrote about these incidents for an article in GQ… but, it turns out, he made a lot of it up. It is true, however, that there’s something called phenotypic plasticity, which is when an organism self-alters its characteristics to cope with a change in its environment. Though it’s usually associated with plants, on rare occasions animals have been known to do some morphing as well.
BY ANGEL LAUREN Photo by iStockphoto/mrtom-uk
Despite the naysayers, is it within the realm of possibility that animals have adapted to become aggressive and organised in response to humanity’s supreme assholery on our shared world? According to Stephen Stearns, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale, probably not. “[The attacks] are much more likely to have something to do with humans invading animal habitats,” he told me. “The animals are reacting to humans who don’t know what they’re doing.” My research also led me to James Donahue, a retiree who lives in close proximity to wild animals in northern Michigan and had some answers he received from a spiritual entity he and his wife call Abba Father. He believes the uptick in animal attacks on humans to be an omen of the “end of days.” I asked him all about it, because who even knows who’s right anymore. VICE: So, you’ve heard about how vicious beasts are waging war on humanity? James Donahue: Yes, but I ﬁnd it hard to believe that animals would deliberately go into people’s homes and attack them unless they were provoked. Animals are extremely territorial; that’s common knowledge. But they don’t pursue trouble. There are bears and cougars that live in the woods behind my home, and the only time we’ve ever really seen them is when the bears are rummaging through the trash. What did your buddy Abba Father have to say about these attacks? In our session he discussed the fate of the relationship between humans and animals as looking very bleak if we continue to overcrowd the world. We discussed the years of bizarre behavior as being a byproduct of their natural design. But it is still all theoretical. Did he have a theory as to why animals are being so mean to people? Well, he said that animals feel threatened. After years of us violating their space, they have ﬁnally had enough and are avenging themselves as best they can. He says it has a lot to do with human arrogance. When I was young, a bird laid its nest at the foot of a tree in my backyard. Whenever I got close, she kept her eye on me. Animals are smarter than humans give them credit for.
How Are We Gonna Die? BY SEAN YEATON Illustration by John Bogan
According to history, the end has been forever nigh. If God isn’t about to destroy us, it’s our own weapons; if it’s not civil war, it’s foreign enemies or aliens. As such, it’s easy to get lost in the magniﬁcent spectacle of uncertainty that plagues our very existence and lose sight of the things that might actually kill us all. Stuart Armstrong is a research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, where he’s been on a mission to gauge what sort of doom might befall mankind. The FHI makes it its business to track a bunch of legitimate apocalyptic risks, and Stuart was kind enough to offer me some insight into four of the most plausible:
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE “It’s either going to kill us all or we’re going to cope with it. Even if we just get human-level AIs, these things can be copied and trained; we can take the best of them and then we can network them together and form supercommittees with the intelligence equivalent of, say, Edison, Einstein, George Soros, Bill Clinton, Oprah, Plato, Goebbels, Bernie Madoff, and Steve Jobs combined—each entity brilliant in its own narrow domain and then networked with one another, running millions of times faster than any normal human.”
SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY “With the ability to program cells as one programs computers comes the ability to engineer viruses, bacteria, and animal cells for speciﬁc and potentially deadly purposes. For the moment, what we have are basically superhackers who are making genomes that express certain things and propagate themselves.”
NANOTECHNOLOGY “With nanotechnology, we can build machines for spying and for military purposes on the tiniest of scales, seeding them throughout the ecosystem. This could collapse the need for trade and allow a completely disarmed state to build an arsenal in a single day, destabilising the world.”
NUCLEAR WAR “The weapons of the Cold War are still out there, and their deadliness hasn’t decreased. Recent research has demonstrated that the nuclear-winter scenario remains plausible, even for a small-scale nuclear conﬂict. And proliferation remains a perennial possibility, especially if technological developments allow nonstate actors to get in on the game.”
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WHAT’S IT LIKE PULLING REFUGEES OUT OF AUSTRALIAN WATERS? As most of the world slides further into chaos and death, the countries that haven’t hit rock bottom will have to deal with increasing numbers of destitute immigrants. Even Australia, a giant island, has to deal with thousands of illegal immigrants sneaking through its borders each year. In 2012, the patrol boats of the Royal Australian Navy’s Operation Resolute intercepted more than 200 vessels carrying asylum seekers—mostly Hazaras escaping persecution in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Tamils ﬂeeing an unfriendly government in Sri Lanka.
With this number set to increase, Parliament is discussing new measures that include something they call “turnaround policy,” which I imagine involves waving guns around and telling boats to fuck off back to where they came from. But for all the talk of borders in Australian politics, few of us have any idea of what it’s really like out there on the wild sea. To ﬁnd out, we spoke to a patrol-boat sailor, who agreed to be interviewed on the condition of anonymity. VICE: So what do you guys do out there while you’re ﬂoating in the water all day? Mystery Sailor: Our overall mission is to conduct border-protection operations, as well as conduct foreign-ﬁshing vessel (FFV) and suspected illegal-entry vessel (SIEV) boardings. These days we’re conducting more SIEV boardings than anything else. It keeps us busy.
BY ROYCE AKERS Photo courtesy of Mystery Sailor
How do these boardings go down? Well, each one tests you in different ways. Sometimes you battle the
Hello, I Am Going to Die Because I Killed People
A few months ago, a death-row inmate from Nevada sent our music editor, Kelly McClure, a fan letter. His name is Scott Dozier, and he seems like a nice guy on paper—on the other hand, he did steal $12,000 from a dude who had brought the cash to buy stuff to make meth, then shot him, hacked the body into two pieces, and put it into a suitcase. He also killed another man in 2002, and they never found that guy’s head or arms. So just keep that in mind when you read the excerpt from his fan letter below.
BY SCOTT DOZIER Photo by Christian Storm
Dear Ms. McClure, You are hilarious and awesome and I love you, not, however, like you’d reasonably (and correctly the vast majority of the time) presume someone on death row means when they say they “love” you. You’ve made it plain you’re a lesbian— which is terriﬁc, but again, not like you’d reasonably presume when someone on death row says, “Gee… I think it’s terriﬁc you’re a lesbian.” (I guess I can reasonably presume
elements, and other times you’re dealing with sick children or belligerent crewmembers. If you’re unlucky, you’ll ﬁnd yourself pulling people out of the water. Sometimes those people will be deceased.
up on our shores after falling out of boats. To think asylum seekers are trying to sneak into Australia is absurd. I doubt they’d know what to do if they ever made it to the mainland.
Have you had to do that? It’s something that’s happened. And it stays with you.
I’ve heard the rest of the Australian Navy has a nickname for what you do. Yeah, nicknames are everywhere in the Navy. Patrol-boat sailors have been called “taxi drivers” or “cabbies” before. We go out, pick them up, and take them to an immigration facility.
How do you even go about locating these smuggling ships? The boats never follow a course directly to Australia. They sail toward places like Ashmore Island or Christmas Island. A voyage on a SIEV from somewhere like Sri Lanka or Indonesia is extremely dangerous, and chances are they won’t make it all the way. They want to be found as soon as possible, because they know the sooner they contact us the sooner they’ll be off the boat and safe.
What’s your read on how the public views you and your colleagues? I often get asked, “Why don’t you just shoot them?” Someone said that to me once and it actually started a ﬁght. You get so angry hearing that because you start to realise people think of asylum seekers as enemies of the state.
This goes against the popularly held image of illegal immigrants washing
What happens to the boats after they’re evacuated? They’re sprayed with accelerant and set on ﬁre.
you’re not the same Kelly McClure from Boulder City, NV, who shared her virginity with me in the shower at Jeff Yinger’s house in the summer of ’85 for two reasons: I) I can’t imagine you’re old enough. II) you’re a lesbian… although she did play softball…) I digress. If you’ve ever had even the most remote personal or journalistic interest about life on death row, living as a “condemned to die” individual, associations or dynamics therein from someone who is not a creep… I’m your guy. I’ve written the magazine before to no avail, and will likely continue to until the government-sanctioned murder of my corporeal being (and maybe my “soul” too, guess we’ll see -), as I’ve got a surplus of time on my hands and a catastrophic dearth of intelligence, hilarity, and awesomeness. I can only draw and work out so much. If you’re interested you can check out my “ﬁt for public consumption” pastels at/on my Facebook page/wall (whatever the frick
it’s called). No (in the event you’re wondering), I do not have FB/computer access, it’s managed by my sister and a friend. My most sincere thanks for the little taste I get monthly, the mag rocks way hard ass, I love it (and yes I’d marry it). I read it cover to cover at least three times and wait with bated breath for the next issue to arrive. Be nice to yourself, all my very, very best Sincerely, S.R. Dozier AKA Skoti
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AMERICA’S CONGRESS IS CRACKING UP After the nearly two-yearlong period of yelling and lying known as the 2012 presidential campaign, you would think that now, ﬁnally, US politicians could sit down at their desks and get to work on solving problems. And you would be wrong. The main issue facing the United States isn’t that the bad guys are in control of the government, it’s that the government—in particular, Congress—can’t get anything done. Or won’t, same difference. The basic contours of our national nightmare are apparent to anyone who watches the news—nothing happens in the Senate without a supermajority thanks to the constant threat of holds, ﬁlibusters, and other legislative jiujitsu, and partisanship has intensiﬁed to the point where votes are solely determined by party membership.
BY HARRY CHEADLE Photo illustration by Alex Cook
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But America’s troubles are more deep-seated than could be accounted for by a rise in the number of ideological-minded assholes in ofﬁce. In The Broken Branch, a critical study of the House and Senate published in 2006, political scholars Thomas E. Mann and Norman Ornstein document the decades-long evolution of Congress, from a deliberative body run by specialised committees and long-standing norms to what it is today (a sycophantic cesspool). The book’s authors blame the gridlock not just on partisanship—which has been increasing since at least the 80s and was given a shot of steroids by Newt Gingrich in the 90s—but also on lawmakers losing pride in Congress as an institution. The old practice of writing bills in committees that dealt with speciﬁc areas of policy and debating them on the ﬂoor has been replaced by passing bills written by party leaders and lobbyists on party-line votes before anyone has fully read their contents. Worse still, party leaders make committee assignments that aren’t based on seniority or merit, but rather the ability of chosen congressmen to raise money for their respective parties. Donald Wolfensberger was a Republican staffer for three decades and is now a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Earlier this year, he told a Senate committee that “all this [campaigning] has grossly contorted the nature of the institution from a lawmaking machine into a money machine.” I spoke to Donald about this problem, and he was eager to criticise the culture of the constant campaign. “[Congressmen] still think that if they score political points and get reelected, the public will overlook the fact that all this partisan gamesmanship is going on,” he said. “But I think it’s slowly catching up with them. I think you’re hearing some different tones from members after this election, like, ‘Maybe we do have to get some things done.’” The ﬁrst thing they have to get done, as of this writing, is avoid the “ﬁscal cliff,” a package of tax hikes and spending cuts that no one wants but is due to kick in at the start of 2013 thanks to a brutally incompetent series of deﬁcit-reduction negotiations that went on in 2012. Then the new Congress will have to talk about the deﬁcit again and come to a consensus, which will be tough since, according to Donald, rank-and-ﬁle legislators are discouraged by party bosses from even attending bipartisan policy seminars, never mind actually working with the other side. I hope no one needs the federal government anytime soon.
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You Will Never Be as Rich as These Pets BY BRIAN MOYLAN Photo by iStockphoto/darak77
When you’re about to be kicked out of your squat and are scanning the sidewalk for enough change to buy some ramen noodles, you always dream that someday you’ll somehow land in a fat pile of dough. Maybe it’ll be the lottery, or a personal-injury lawsuit, or a trust fund your parents forgot to tell you about. Hate to break it to you, but it’s never going to happen. You’re going to die a poor, sad schmuck. But do you know who is richer than you? Yes, a bunch of fat right-wing white guys, pasty tech geniuses in hoodies, and shady Russian oligarchs, but also a lot of animals. Yes, animals! The following pets are all millionaires, and you’re still trying to use that expired student ID to get two bucks off at the movies on Tuesday night. And you know what? That’s just the way the world works. Might as well accept it and move on. GUNTHER IV: Worth $373 million This German shepherd—the world’s richest dog—inherited his money from his father, who was left $80 million in 1991 by his owner, German countess Karlotta Liebenstein. The other $300 million came from money his trustees made in investments. Yeah, he has people who work for him. He also owns Madonna’s old Miami mansion. How many of you are wondering if you can marry a dog? TOBY RIMES: Worth $80 million The rich keep getting richer. Toby’s greatgreat-great-dogfather, the original Toby, was the pampered poodle of crazy rich lady Ella Wendel, who left him all her money when she died in 1931. The endowment, passed from dog to dog ever since, has been growing as your chances of getting a job dwindle. LUKE, LAYLA, SUNNY, LAUREN, AND SADIE: Worth $30 million Oprah Winfrey won’t even give us one of her favorite things, but her will reportedly provides a fortune for whatever dogs she leaves behind when she dies. That is, if Oprah is not immortal, which I ﬁnd hard to believe. TOMMASINO: Worth $15 million Rags-to-riches stories do come true, but only if you’re a stray that wanders into Italian real estate scion Maria Assunta’s house where you purr your way into the will. But you’re a human. You’ll get arrested if you try that. You’re screwed. CONCHITA, APRIL MARIA, AND LUCIA: Worth $11 Million These three yipping pooches (a Chihuahua, a Maltese, and a Yorkshire terrier) got a $3 million trust and a Miami mansion (which just sold for more than $8 million) from crazy rich lady Gail Posner. Her own son only got $1 million and contested the will, alleging that her aides drugged her with pain pills and tried to steal her money. Florida! GIGOO: Worth $10 million British publishing heir Miles Blackwell made a fortune selling textbooks. Then he left it all to a chicken. There is a rich chicken out there in the world. Open a vein now.
DISEASES ARE SMARTER THAN OUR MEDS Everyone Will Be Sick in the Drug-Resistant Future BY BRUNO BAYLEY ILLUSTRATION BY SAM TAYLOR
ere in the West, we’ve gotten used to having effective medications for common ailments available at our fingertips. The bad news is that many of these medicines will soon cease to work. This is because the pathogens responsible for some of the world’s more horrifying diseases—many of which appear to have been largely eradicated—have continued to mutate and develop resistances since the development of their supposed cures. Because I’m an obsessive hypochondriac, I had to know more about this impending biological disaster so that I can spend the interim wallowing in the comfort of a constant state of panic. To help me get there, I spoke with Rachel Nugent, who chaired the Drug Resistance Working Group and Initiative while at the Center for Global Development, about her research into horrific diseases and the treatments that will, someday soon, be completely ineffective.
VICE: Why are medications we spent so much time and money developing now failing? Rachel Nugent: There are a number of ways a pathogen can develop a resistance to drugs. One is when people who are taking drugs, the right drugs, don’t finish the full course. Maybe after a few days they start feeling
better, so they see no reason to continue taking the medicine. You have to put pressure on the bug to kill it, but it doesn’t work if it’s incomplete. It’s like you’re having a fight in a boxing ring, you have the bug on the ropes, and then you walk away thinking you’ve won. Well, that bug can come back, and often it comes back stronger. This is called “acquired resistance,” which means the pathogen adapts within the person’s body to be less susceptible to the meds. The second way resistant strains propagate is when an already-resistant form of pathogen spreads from one person to another, or from animal to human. The more this resistant strain is spread around, the more common it becomes. Are resistant forms of pathogens considered new strains? Are they the same thing? Yes, usually, but resistance is not always the result of mutations. It can result from other ways the microbe adapts to its environment. Also, mutations happen all the time and don’t always lead to resistance. Generally speaking, infectious disease is the area where we most need to worry about resistance, although it can also apply to cancer drugs, for instance. But because the whole process is so much slower when treating diseases like cancer, we don’t see resistance building at the same pace as we do for infectious diseases. So the rapid mutation of infectious-disease pathogens also accelerates their level of drug resistance? Yes. They can change at a rate of hundreds or even thousands of mutations an hour. They can also adapt in
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skimp on the active ingredients, or they are produced in a high-quality way but are degraded somewhere along the supply chain. Both counterfeit and substandard drugs are a threat and can lead to resistance, but of course a drug that is completely counterfeit isn’t going to include the active ingredient in it at all, so it won’t contribute to resistance. It’s having too little of that active ingredient in the drug that allows the bug to survive the pressure. Mind you, not all drugs manufactured in India or China are substandard or counterfeit. But the amount of bad drugs flooding into poor countries, and even some richer countries, is staggering. And just as new medications flow around the world, drug-resistant bugs are very good travelers.
other ways that allow them to survive in the presence of drugs. Malaria, for instance, is very difficult for us to control. We’ve developed a number of new drugs for malaria, but the parasite that causes it adapts very quickly and efficiently. We can’t keep up with it. We have a lot of antibiotics available, but many are similar to one another, so each pathogen that mutates or adapts in response to one type of antibiotic will more easily acquire resistance against a number of others. Over the course of my finger-gnawing research for this interview, I discovered that tuberculosis is one of the main case studies in the fight against drug-resistant bacterial diseases. What makes TB such a worry? I thought we had it under control. TB is a great example of a way that resistance to drugs develops, because a person needs to be on TB medication for a long time to cure it. With a normal case of TB, an individual might be taking medication for around nine months. Over the course of treatment, there’s plenty of opportunity to slip up and forget or neglect to take the meds. And TB drugs are nasty; people don’t want to be on them. But in the case of TB, the medical system has responded pretty well. We usually observe TB patients, using a method we call Directly Observed Therapy Short-Course, to ensure that they take their meds at the prescribed intervals. Nine months may seem like a long time, but if someone is unfortunate enough to get stuck with a resistant strain of TB, he or she will have to take meds for at least a couple of years. How prevalent is this super-resistant form of TB? It’s out there, and it’s widespread. Treatment for it is one of the worst drug regimens available, and it’s much more expensive than normal TB drugs. There are some forms of TB around now that we really can’t treat at all. The drugs we have don’t seem to cure it. We call it totally resistant TB, although that is not an official term yet. The term used for other forms of resistant TB is either multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) or extensively drugresistant TB (XDR-TB). Totally resistant TB is not widespread, but people don’t like to talk about it. Do cheap and counterfeit meds manufactured in the East contribute to the drug-resistance dilemma? Yes, and this is where India, China, and other sources of poorquality drugs become important. It’s not just a matter of a poor health system, which many of these countries have, but there’s also the issue of substandard drugs. These are drugs that work, feel, or even act like good antibiotics or good antimalarials, but oftentimes they are produced in factories that
What about HIV/AIDS medications? Are they also slowly becoming obsolete? This is actually one case where we can say resistance is ahead of us; it’s off in the future. It’s happening slowly, being documented at pretty low rates—less than 5 percent of cases seem to be resistant forms. That’s still pretty low, but if we’re spending money to put a patient on antiretrovirals (ARVs), and we aren’t paying attention to the management of the drugs and how people are adhering to regimens, then it will become a big problem too. Think about all the research-and-development money put into creating ARVs, which were developed to combat HIV. We need as many as we can get. We are clearly losing many of the antibiotics we have, and have lost many, if not all, of the antimalarials we have. What happens when antimalarials no longer work? Are we all going to die from mosquito bites? We are now seeing resistance to all malaria treatments, even artemisinin-combination therapies, which are formulations of multiple drugs combined into one pill. Artemisinin has been the only truly effective agent against malaria until recently, and it has been useful to combine it with other antimalarials because drugs work differently, or have different mechanisms of action. Making the pathogen fight against several mechanisms is more effective than pitting it against just one. You might have heard of drug cocktails used to fight AIDS. It’s the same principle. Why don’t the old antimalarials work? Until recently, all we had to treat malaria was old drugs like sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine and chloroquine, which date back to the 50s. The longer most drugs are used, the greater the likelihood that some resistance will develop over time. That’s why the increased use of ARVs around the world is expected to result in even more resistance. So is there any hope for people who have been infected with these drug-resistant strains? With TB, there is nothing to be done but to treat them with second- or third-line drugs. Second- and third-line drugs are your backups. They’re more expensive, typically have worse side effects, and require more advanced health facilities to administer. For some diseases, we don’t even have backups. But people can also just die, and they do.
Photo by CDC/Joe Millar
A close-up of Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria scattered among white blood cells. If you have these little guys inside you, you probably have gonorrhea, and if they’re the drug-resistant kind, you’re fucked.
I recently read about a form of super-gonorrhea that is, as of now, untreatable. I believe it was first reported among sex workers in Japan. Gonorrhea is something that we haven’t really worried about for decades; it was quickly and easily cured with antibiotics. But we are now seeing these new strains of gonorrhea and some of the other sexually transmitted infections. These can be pretty damaging diseases if left uncured.
RUNNING ON EMPTY Squandering the Earth’s Natural Resources Sure Was Fun BY VICE STAFF, ILLUSTRATION BY SAM TAYLOR
ccording to the Bible, right after God pooped out humanity, He told us, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground… I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth.” What He didn’t tell us was that all this shit is finite—that if we continued to fuck one another silly without contraceptives, eventually the planet wouldn’t be able to sustain the human race. This is yet another reason why God isn’t real, and He isn’t going to save us from anything. So get over it already. Mother Nature, on the other hand, is one very real and very bad bitch who is capable of shaking Homo sapiens off her topsoil like a nasty case of dandruff. And pretty soon, if things keep going the way they are (and let’s just be honest, they will), the seed-bearing plants will rot, “meteorologist” will cease to be a job description, most everyone will freeze to death, and cannibals will roam free, feasting on any remaining stragglers. In recognition of this terrible—but inevitable—outcome, we asked our international offices to put their research caps on and find out which sorts of precious materials and resources their countries were running out of the fastest. We know you only
flush for No. 2 and work in a green office or whatever, but the sort of problems detailed below are, at this point, pretty much unfixable. Not much else to do but sit back and watch the long, slow death of the floating rock we call home.
USA The United States has lots of abundant resources— purple mountain majesties, spacious skies, and so on—but it may soon be in danger of running out of amber waves of grain. According to Steven Stoll, professor of environmental history at Fordham University, America’s arable farmland is shrinking. Part of the problem is that farmers are finding it more profitable to sell their land to developers than to use it for its intended purpose—the American Farmland Trust estimates that between 1982 and 2007, 41 million acres of rural space was lost this way. The erosion of soil is also an increasing threat: A Cornell University study found that Kansas, once one of the country’s most abundant agricultural states, loses 650 tons of topsoil—the two-foot layer of nutrient-rich soil that’s vital to growing pretty much anything—per year. Though the US continues to export over $130 billion in agricultural commodities each year, it is also exporting smaller amounts of crops like soybeans and grain than it has in the
past. One of the only things keeping America’s farming industry alive is the fact that the prices for the basic foodstuffs it produces remain high.
BULGARIA The main problem in Bulgaria is that they’re running out of Bulgarians. According to data from the Bulgarian Center for Demographic Policy, its population is decreasing at a rate of 70,000 to 80,000 people per year, or about six people per hour. Why? Fewer and fewer babies are being born, death rates are increasing, and young people who have limited career prospects want to get the hell out of the country. These three factors are most likely going to persist throughout the near future, and signs of brain drain have been apparent since the mid-80s. The Bulgarian National Statistical Institute says that the population has decreased from about 9 million in 1989 to 7.3 million in 2011. By 2060, that number will have dropped to less than 6 million, and in 2134 there won’t be a single Bulgarian left.
GERMANY Even though Germany is one of the most economically influential countries in the world and therefore needs a lot of resources, it doesn’t contain a lot of the good and profitable stuff like iron, oil, and gold. So hardworking Germans are forced by nature to depend on other nations, spending tens of billions of euros a year to import natural resources from other Western European countries, as well as places like Australia, China, and Canada. The one exception to this scarcity is coal, the mining of which fueled the country’s industrial revolution in the 19th century and provided thousands of jobs in the Ruhr Valley and the Saarland. Those jobs have since vanished, thanks to the government’s phasing out of subsidies for the mining of black coal (the most energyefficient type of coal) beginning in 2007. According to Bernd Lehmann, a professor of geoscience at the Clausthal University of Technology, black-coal mining in Germany had become too expensive for the government to subsidise—not to mention the fact that the country wants to move toward fuels that don’t fill the air with toxic smoke and contribute to climate change. “Germany is in the middle of a transition and urgently needs to get away from fossil fuels,” Bernd said, though he noted that coal will be a valuable energy source for at least the next 100 years, and the extraction of black coal is on the rise globally. And though there may be no more black-coal mines in Germany moving forward, the country’s excavation of brown coal—an even dirtier form of energy— continues unabated, since that industry isn’t dependent on government money.
MEXICO Corn is the lifeblood of Mexico—it may have been domesticated by Paleoamericans there 10,000 years ago, and today some of the poorest Mexicans get half of their calories from corn tortillas. But increasingly, the country has had to rely on the US for this all-important crop. Part of the problem is the North American Free Trade Agreement, which removed trade barriers and forced Mexicans to compete with the USA’s cheap, government-subsidised corn—as a result, many struggling farmers had to abandon their land and way of life. Corn imports from the US have continued to increase
(they were up 25 percent last year), despite prices rising due to the expanding ethanol energy industry. Activists have been demanding more local corn production, with the slogan Sin maís no hay país (“Without corn, there’s no Mexico”), but their cries have gone unheeded. The decline of corn farming goes beyond political and economic factors, though. Adolfo Jiménez, an adviser at the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing, and Nutrition, blames the environment. “Ten or 15 years ago, you could predict times of drought and times of rain, but today, it’s really hard to know, and that affects the production of corn,” he said. Competing with the US agricultural industry is doubly worse when nature is handicapping you.
NETHERLANDS The Netherlands is the world’s eighth-biggest producer of natural gas and its fifth-largest exporter; it extracts 30 percent of the natural gas produced by the European Union, mostly thanks to the massive Groningen gas field in the northeastern part of the country. But the end of this gassy gravy train is nigh, something that even the industry’s boosters admit. “The Netherlands is 100 percent self-sufficient,” said Aart Tacoma, an environmental specialist at NOGEPA, a trade association of Dutch energy companies. “The gas industry in the Netherlands provides 12 billion euros for the public treasury every year. And that number is growing. But the gas is becoming scarce, so this means that the Netherlands will be more dependent on imported gas.” It’s estimated that the country’s natural-gas fields will be exhausted in 70 years, and when that happens, the economy will be in a lot of trouble. “We’ll have to import from Russia and Norway, but they have different types of gas, which will force us to build new stoves,” Aart said. “Tax revenues and employment will decline too.”
ITALY Each year, between 50,000 and 80,000 tons of sardines and anchovies are fished out of Italian seas, but thanks to some environmentally unfriendly practices it’s only a matter of time before Italy runs out of these delicious, salty delicacies. The biggest reason for the fishy decline is a technique called a volante, which involves dragging a net suspended between two boats slightly above the seabed. In the 15 years since the adoption of this practice, it has become widespread in key fishing grounds like Chioggia, Pila di Porto Tolle, and the Sicilian Channel, and the number of trawlers has increased 130 percent between 1995 and 2012. Neither the Italian government nor the European Union has ever conducted a scientific study to gauge the effects of this type of fishing (they still label it “experimental” even though it’s been practiced for more than a decade), which many claim has had a destructive impact on fauna. According to Allesandro Giannì, campaign manager for Greenpeace Italy, research shows that the anchovy and sardine population has decreased by more than 75 percent since the 90s. Of course, this has resulted in increased prices for these fish, and this in turn has led to an increase in fishing, creating a vicious cycle. Eventually, Greenpeace warns, overfishing will lead to such a dramatic decline in the supply of sardines and anchovies that industry-dependent towns will collapse, and Italians will be without their favorite pizza topping.
Every expert we spoke with agreed that Austria isn’t going to run out of natural resources anytime soon. The country is rich with oil, copper, zinc, lignite, timber, iron ore, and magnesite, and various industries extract about 169 million tons of this stuff every year. Robert Holnstiener of the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family, and Youth said that any shortages the country is experiencing are due to geopolitics, not the earth running out of anything. Austria’s agriculture industry is suffering, however, as small farms are becoming less and less economically viable. Unlike in the US, a lot of these farms aren’t being replaced with developments, but instead with forests. These forests aren’t being cut down and turned into lumber, however, as Austria continues to import most of the wood it requires. It seems that Austrians are just A-OK with abandoning their farmland and letting nature take its course.
Sweden’s lumber industry is nicknamed “the spine of Sweden’s economy,” as wood is one of the country’s main exports, and more than 60 percent of its territory is covered by forests. This doesn’t mean Swedes live in a natural wooded wonderland—the vast majority of their forests are regrowth, which means they are heavily managed by the government and loggers, and barely 1 percent are primeval, old-growth forests. That’s a big problem, because while 100 million hectares of trees are planted every year to supplant the 80 million hectares that are harvested, man-sown forests don’t generate the old, decaying, and dying trees known as deadwood, which provide sustenance for small organisms and are vital to the forest ecosystem. According to entomologist Gunnar Isacsson of the Swedish Forest Agency, it takes thousands of years for a forest to generate enough deadwood for some creatures to survive, and that as a result of industrialisation almost entirely wiping out Sweden’s primeval forests, several species—like the white-backed woodpecker and the long-horned beetle—are now endangered or extinct.
According to the Polish Geological Institute, the country will run out of zinc and lead before other minerals. Lead is used for the production of batteries, cables, pipes, paints, and those big, heavy blankets you wear at the dentist during an X-ray. Zinc is mainly used as an anticorrosion agent, which keeps things from getting rusty and broken. Mirosław Rutkowski, spokesman for the Polish Geological Institute, said it’s difficult to predict the condition of Poland’s natural resources in the future, as we don’t know where technology will take us. Twenty years ago, no one would have guessed we’d all be after lithium, which is used to make batteries for cell phones. But Poland will probably need lead and zinc long after they’ve been depleted.
UK The UK’s natural-gas fields in the North Sea have generated a lot of wealth for the nation over the past few decades, but that’s rapidly becoming a distant memory. Production peaked in the year 2000 and has been in steep decline since. The UK became a net importer of natural gas last year, a milestone nobody wanted to reach. Part of the problem is that the UK relies on the stuff to produce a lot of its electricity thanks to the “dash for gas” in the 90s, when a slew of gas-fired power stations were built because, at the time, it was cheap. It’s almost impossible to predict when the North Sea will run out of gas entirely, because how much remains and how easy it is to extract affects its price, which
influences demand. But if production continues to decline at the same rate it has been, it will reach zero by 2015. That means the nation will have to buy all of its gas somewhere else (at the moment, its main supplier is Qatar). It’s easy to imagine a future where the UK is dependent on foreign countries for a big portion of its energy, and this could have numerous unpleasant consequences, from price increases and shortages to resource wars.
Over the past 200 years, Australia has experienced a larger decline in its varieties of flora and fauna than any other continent, which is going to have massive ramifications for the environment and the economy in the near future. Nicholas Mikhailovich of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney, said that as plants and animals become endangered and go extinct, it becomes harder and harder for nature to go about its ordinary business of pollinating crops and making sure us humans can grow plants that keep us alive. Then there’s tourism, an industry that contributes $35 billion to the economy per year and makes up 2.5 percent of Australia’s GDP. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park alone brings in $5.4 billion a year, but you can bet that fewer people will show up if the reefs and creatures that inhabit them die off due to the acidification of the ocean, which is going to happen by 2050, according to estimates. The primary threat to Australia’s biodiversity is mining, the country’s largest industry, and it’s not slowing down. Fragile ecosystems such as the Simpson Desert, the Kimberleys, and Cairns have been marked for future mining projects, exacerbating the environmental threat. Unfortunately, Australia’s economic dependence on mining (the industry makes up 10 percent of the GDP) ensures that plants and animals aren’t going to stop going extinct anytime soon.
BRAZIL Niobium is a little-known bright, soft, greyish metal that’s worth more than gold these days. It’s so malleable, moldable, and flexible that it has become essential for space, nuclear, and heavy construction industries, as well as for the production of medical equipment like prostheses and MRI- and CT-scan-machine components. Niobium’s also resistant to corrosion and extreme heat. So this is one serious motherfucker of a material, basically, and Brazil has 98 percent of it. Nearly 75 percent of the niobium used in the entire world comes from a single mine in the city of Araxá. But niobium is not going to stick around forever. The question is: What is the world going to do when Brazil runs out of it? Some minerals that could replace it include titanium, tungsten, and tantalum, but all of those alternatives are way more expensive. Hopefully, we’ll find some new magical metal before the niobium goes bye-bye. Then again, that will probably be centuries from now, by which time we’ll probably all be dead anyway.
Chad TimTim STYLE: TimTim COLOR: Midnight/Brown
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Me in the present, enjoying the park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where I used to picnic when I was on work release.
DON’T GET CAUGHT I’ve Spent Eight Years and Counting in the System for a Nonviolent Felony BY BERT BURYKILL PORTRAIT BY CHRISTIAN STORM
’d been involved in selling drugs since I first smoked weed when I was 13. It just made sense to me that in order to have the money to use drugs, I’d have to sell some, too. I never thought I was doing anything wrong—my entrepreneurship put smiles on a lot of faces, and I did it better than most people ’cause I showed up on time and wasn’t a greedy, lying scumbag. I did abuse my stash pretty frequently, but I had enough self-control to avoid going off the deep end. As a kid, I attended elite prep schools, played hockey year-round, and wound up getting accepted into Skidmore College, where, smooth as silk, I kept selling narcotics, mostly to my fellow students. Soon, I was HOOKED, living lovely off all that drug loot. I drove all around the Northeast like a madman, bartering and hustling coke, weed, X, shrooms, and whatever else seemed like a good flip. (I stayed away from dope and crack, though—you have to draw the line somewhere.) I was so cocky—I never actually thought the pork-chop patrol would come after me. I ignored the illegality of what I was doing and didn’t care about my well-being enough to investigate or even pay attention to the laws. But as I soon learned, the law was paying lots of attention to me.
On a seemingly normal Friday night in February 2004, I was outside a Barnes & Noble with my older brother and his son when I got tagged by an undercover cop who looked like an upstate trailer-park stick-up kid. In retrospect, I wish he had robbed me for all my money instead of cuffing me in front of my six-year-old nephew. At that moment, my brain was spiraling through a million made-up explanations for my arrest instead of accepting the nightmarish reality of what was about to happen next. The pigs had a search warrant, and they took me back to my crib to rifle through my head stash, which was substantial enough to get me charged with five felonies and, potentially, 12 to 25 years in prison. I was 23 years old. I spent the night in county jail and then, thankfully, was released on bail to await my trial. At the time, I was in my last semester of college and had been as excited as a nip-sucking piglet to finally graduate with all of my peoples. The future was so bright, and unlike most of my fellow students, I was in the black: I had a ton of money saved. I had already booked my plane tickets and hotel reservations to go to Italy with my girlfriend. But not anymore. Whatever the outcome of the trial, I knew my parents would be devastated (way more than I was), and I’d probably be kicked out of school. I ended up taking a plea bargain. I was sentenced to three to nine years in state prison. My lengthy sentence was at least partially a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time—’04 was an election year, and the politicians in Saratoga Springs, where I was living and dealing,
LEFT: I remember being a goofy spaz as a kid. Later, drugs would calm me down. RIGHT: My senior-year yearbook picture. I attended Millbrook School, near Poughkeepsie, New York.
thought the town had a drug problem. The district attorney who prosecuted me probably figured nabbing a college student “involved in a drug-trafficking ring from New York City” (as the local paper referred to me) was a good demonstration that the city was tough on crime. They made an example out of me. I took the plea deal in August, and they told me I was going to jail in October. Because I was at home, living in my own apartment, I spent that summer in an awkward sort of hell—I was technically free, but soon not to be. Every day that passed inched me closer to The End. It was such an awful countdown—never before or since in my life have I wanted time to stand still. When the morning of that loathsome day arrived I was already running late, stumbling out of my girl’s apartment, hungover and sleep-deprived. I left my bonerabelle sobbing uncontrollably in the bed. She couldn’t handle going to court and watching the police take me away. We’d been together a couple years, and this was the most horrible way imaginable to say good-bye. Only death would’ve been worse. I found my parents parked on the street, waiting, already lockjawed with tears in their eyes. They were so caring that they had even temporarily moved to Saratoga Springs, renting an apartment for a few months to watch over me while I was out on bail, making sure I didn’t do anything stupid before I was sent away, which I probably would have if they weren’t there. I still cringe over the pain I put my father and mother through. I felt like the Human Turd. efore my trial, while I had been awaiting sentencing in the county jail, I had met a few small-time thugs who tried to scare me with the classic prison-shower scenario: “So you’re in the shower and Bubba steps to you, blade in hand, and says, ‘I’m either leaving here with blood on my dick or blood on this banger. What’s it gon’ be?’” But this never happened. Instead, I ended up serving a total of eight months in a “boot camp” in upstate New York for first-time nonviolent offenders, which they call “shock incarceration.” I received the same three-to-nine-year punishment as 50 Cent did for similar drug charges and graduated from the same program. I wasn’t raped there, but I did nearly have my ass beat. A shock inmate is on his feet and forced to do some sort of nonsense for 18 hours a day, overseen by a bunch of obnoxious hillbilly drill instructors screaming taunts like, “Shut your cock polisher, you sperm-burping bitch!” Lots of these wannabe hardasses aren’t educated, nor do they have any sort of military
background; they’re just good ole boys who enjoy fuckin’ with city slickers. A few were legit, good people, but others were awful pieces of sadistic shit who abused their power beyond belief. I saw inmates get choked, punched in the face, and bullied until they cried. Still, I managed to keep a low profile. I also made a couple close friends from within my platoon, which helped the time pass. But in truth, there really isn’t a lot of free time to kick the willy bobo when you’re being harassed and made to do busywork all day and night. Shock inmates are not allowed books, games, music, or packages from home—the idea is that, much like a military recruit, a new inmate is stripped of everything and then rebuilt. The goal is to change an individual with criminal tendencies before it’s too late. I don’t think it did much for me, maybe because I dealt with the monotony by acting like a robot and didn’t pay much attention. I exerted the bare amount of energy needed to slide by without anyone bothering me. I remember largely being concerned with the sad fact that my girlfriend, too ashamed to give me a proper dismissal, stopped visiting and writing me after only three or four months. Later, I received a letter from a friend describing how he walked in on her slutting it up with a dude I thought was a low-life who probably had a case of explosive herpes. It doesn’t seem as devastating today, but for three or four months I spent at least ten hours a day in a fury over this broad. I couldn’t get it out of my head. All my plans down the drain—a for-the-most-part-excellent two-year romance, my first true love, was now unraveling while I was powerless in prison. Shock ruined a lot of relationships. We were only allowed ten minutes of phone time twice a month, whereas in a normal jail you can pretty much talk whenever the phones are free. All I had was a pen and paper. The three or four letters a week my baby got from me definitely would’ve made her cry—but I still don’t know whether she ever bothered to read them. got out of jail just in time for my 25th birthday in 2005, and within two or three weeks I was making trips back down to the Bronx to pick up coke and E. I don’t blame it on anyone but myself, but I was helped back into the drug-dealing world by a girl I had known before I went to prison, who approached me at a bar one night, explaining she’d always had a crush on me. It was a good enough reason to wind up naked in bed with her. This bona-fide-sexy stripper broad, whom I started dating shortly afterward, encouraged me to deal, and soon I was making a couple grand every week. Plus, I was always invited to parties—more often than not ones with a bunch of mostly naked cokehead strippers sniffin’ and cryin’ about how their stepfathers raped them or their moms sold their naked prepubescent bodies to a crack dealer. Ever since those nights, I haven’t looked at strippers the same or been enticed to hit up a titty bar even once. There was not much time to think—even when I wanted to—and I thrived off the chaos. It was a very poor decision to go back to that life so quickly. I should’ve given honesty and hard work a chance… or at least waited until I finished up parole to start dealing again. And of course, I ended up getting caught, in February 2006, with my crazy sexy baby as my codefendant. It is a shameful experience to get busted a second time; any good will you’ve earned is immediately squandered because you’re letting people down and affirming all the naysayers. This time around, though, we decided to fight the charge in court, ’cause the cops searched us illegally. Then, as we were ready to go to trial, my girlfriend was arrested again while on bail for a slew of things and decided to turn on me—she signed a written statement that contained some truth and a lot
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A photo of me in prison from ’07. These pictures with the hand-painted backdrops are called “clickclicks,” and inmates love ’em. I sent this one out to females I was trying to impress.
of complete fabrications that made me out to be a drug-pushing woman beater. After that, I was screwed, so I had to cop out and take a parole violation, which put me in a bad spot. I had to serve two more years of my original sentence inside, and I bounced around from Saratoga County Jail to “correctional facilities” in Lyon Mountain and Hale Creek. I did a whole tour of upstate New York. In Saratoga, time sometimes moved very slow, ’cause we were trapped in one big cellblock all the time. During the winter, we didn’t even get outside for an hour a day, so I didn’t see the sky for months. Lyon Mountain, which recently closed, was a pretty cool minimum-security prison where I did some work-crew stints mowing lawns, shoveling snow, and other grounds-maintenance shit. Hale Creek focused on drug programs, so I spent a lot of hours in excruciating group-therapy sessions. The only entertainment was that one of our counselors was making out with inmates, which caused quite a ruckus (the counselor was eventually fired). After graduating from Hale Creek, they shipped me down to Manhattan for work release. Work release is for nonviolent convicts and allows for work furloughs during which, after displaying good behavior for a few months, you’re allowed to spend some nights at home in your own bed. I spent nearly two years at a work-release facility in Harlem, employed at a nonprofit in downtown Manhattan as an in-house writer. My duties were beyond dull, but I was BLESSED to have a decent job. And my situation was more surreal than ever—I was out in the real world working like a seemingly normal citizen, like the Burykill I might’ve been if I’d never started dealing. But after work, instead of going out with coworkers, having drinks at the bar, and gettin’ my dizzle stizzled by the secretary, I was taking the train so I could be back at jail by 7 PM, where I had to then endure more group therapy with a bunch of convicts. Alongside
80 obnoxious dudes, I’d spend my nights sleeping in a room on an uncomfortable metal rack with an inch-thick “mattress” that looked like something a bird would peck together out of recycled cardboard boxes and other trash. I earned some privileges as time went on, basic stuff like keeping my paychecks (when I started, they’d give me 15 percent of what I earned as a stipend and put the rest in an account I couldn’t touch until I was granted release) and renting my own apartment. I was trying hard to live the normal life, but I had this awful and embarrassing secret: I was spending a couple nights in prison each week. During that time I had bagged a couple pussycats, only to freak ’em out with the fact that I was required to hang out in prison every so often. Then I met my current girlfriend, who, against all sound judgment, proved to be addicted to what my dick did to her just enough to fall in love with me. Yet despite the lustrous cloud of affection filling our hungry nostrils, she couldn’t tell her parents why I had such a weird and unpredictable schedule. The stress was killing me. After a year of this, I managed to get 7-0 status, which meant I was allowed to sleep at my place every night, although I still had to spend a few hours in the facility twice a week. Then came my parole hearing. I went before the parole board on the morning of July 2, 2009, a Thursday. I was pretty confident in my chances of going free—I acted humble, admitted my crime, and expressed remorse and disgust at the way that I used to live. I even lauded the rehabilitation I received while incarcerated. I had been working at the same job for the whole 18 months, and I had received promotions and raises that I had documented for the board to review. But when I brought them up during the interview, it seemed as though no one had read my bosses’ letters that vouched for my good character, at least judging from the questions the board members asked. Sometimes the Division of Parole makes decisions arbitrarily, or at least it seems that way for the poor shitheads on the receiving end of their life-wrecking judgements. Despite my best efforts, the board told me that I’d be on work release for the next two years. Worse yet, they revoked my 7-0 status and started taking my paychecks again, to the point where I couldn’t pay rent. The board claimed they weren’t happy with the interview given during the hearing. Basically, they thought I was lying about something. They also said that if I was released into the free world I would likely commit the same crime again. Although that had happened once, for 18 months I had been in the free world with absolutely no police contact, no getting into trouble. I was pissed. So of course, being who I am, I started selling weed, coke, and ecstasy again and wound up moving into the living room of a friend, a friend who happened to do quite a bit of the drugs I was selling. It was fun, but not the ideal situation for someone being closely supervised by three different branches of the New York State Department of Corrections. Either way, I was beyond bitter and started getting fucked up on the regular. I never claimed to be the tastiest cracker on the counter, but I was stale as hell that summer. I got dumber than dumb, retarded-level-IQ idiotic. A couple months after getting hit at the parole board, I pissed dirty at the work-release facility. They were on some no-tolerance bullshit: “You’re lucky to be here, there’re thousands of inmates upstate ready to take your spot… SORRY.” They didn’t take into account that I’d been doing the right thing for 20 months, or at least avoided getting caught for anything illegal. After pissing positive, I was allowed one last visit from my girlfriend in the work-release jail while I was waiting to get shipped north. We cried bona fide tears of pain, anguish, and sorrow.
ince my first arrest, I’ve gone back to jail four times. Sometimes, obviously, it was because I was acting the uncouth fool. But other times I got caught doing things that the paroled are not allowed to partake in but ordinary nonoffenders take for granted. And they all sent me to prison, no questions asked: drinking a beer, driving a car, being out past curfew. In total, I’ve spent six years behind bars, and today I’m free but still have two more years of parole. Do my actions really merit this much time and money spent watching me? In the minds of many sensible Americans, I am not even a criminal—I never physically harmed anyone, I just sold some stuff the Man didn’t want me to sell—but to this day I can be locked up at any time for doing things that an average citizen wouldn’t even get ticketed for. For instance, earlier this year I went back in because a few city cops thought I was breaking into a car when, in reality, a friend was fixing the window of my car. Once the ball-lickin’ porkchop ascertained I was on parole for drug charges, he decided to illegally search me and my vehicle. He came up empty-handed and let me go but notified my parole officer that he “interviewed” me, and I subsequently got arrested because all of this happened just after my 9 PM curfew. What fucked me is that whenever a parolee has contact with the police he is supposed to notify his PO, but it was my honest misunderstanding that this only applied if I got a ticket or was arrested. The cops actually apologised for searching me, but according to parole, fixing my car window minutes past my curfew was a serious enough offense to send me to county jail for two months. And so I entered my third decade on the planet trapped in a room with 59 other men who had been stripped of their ability to achieve anything. Quite a few of them will never be coming home. Yet every two years at their parole hearings they will still drive themselves crazy clinging to the hope that they will see the world again and use every trick in the book to try to get out. Then there are those of us—like me—whom the “lifers” want to kill, ’cause we get our shot back in the free world and within a matter of months we’re back in jail. It’s a pretty common phenomenon: Out of the 2 million Americans on parole today, according to the good ole Department of Justice, about 100,000 per year land back in jail for small violations. When I was locked up, I remember one dude in particular—a guy who’d gotten blackout drunk and accidentally killed a friend by crushing his throat—who really didn’t like us failed parolees. He freaked me out right after I arrived at Riverview by showing me all his paperwork, basically bragging that he was a true killer. When he learned that I had just fucked up my work release he grew red with rage, and I was sure I was next on his hit list. That look, the burning contempt in an eternally condemned man’s eyes, drove it home for me: I need to live desperately and carefully, doing whatever it takes to avoid the stinkin’ clink-clink. It’s essential to find ways to have fun in prison, to somehow maintain your sanity. But when I take a serious look around, it dawns on me how much wasted potential there is inside, how many people are living with regrets who will never have a chance to make good on them. It’s way too late. All of this isn’t just a lesson on how to deal with prison. It’s a lesson on how to deal with life—one that I’m guilty of forgetting all the time. It’s been almost a decade since I’ve been able to find happiness within myself, and before that I was usually happy for the wrong reasons. Now I just need to convince my girl to be patient a little longer, to just chill and be quiet while I try to make good things happen. As long as I’m not locked up, there’s always hope that I might win the lotto, or that my girl might introduce an exotic bird into the bedroom. That shit is never going to happen if you’re in jail.
It ain’t easy bein’ sleazy.
It was just so fuckin’ stupid, sad, and pathetic that I was about to give up months of hard-earned life just ’cause I wanted to party. We sat there holding hands like a couple of dummies; I’ll never forget the misery of her crying as I fought back guilty tears of shame, figuring I wouldn’t be butt-nekkid with my bonerabelle for about a year—I was HURTING, thinking she wouldn’t make it, about the plethora of hogs desperate to fuck her away from me. Turns out a year was wishful thinking on my part—somehow it became 24 months before I was allowed to frolic nekkid inside her delectable pusshole. I don’t care who you are or where you are, that’s one stiff punishment for just having a dirty dick. The upstate prison I was sent to, Riverview, had a view of the distant lights of the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge, which crossed over the river and into Canada. It was early on during this time that I had a feeling, some sort of premonition, that I would become a writer. I was in the box for that first month after the dirty urine test, sending letters to my girl and my parents telling them that I was just going to write the bid away, and that I wouldn’t need much from them (yeah, right). I knew that at this point I was such a selfish piece of shit and lower than low—the best I could do was to try to put those feelings onto paper in an attempt to figure out how someone so seemingly intelligent and (relatively) normal like me could do this to himself. The answer is still elusive. Clinically speaking, I suffer from the disease of addiction, but I say fuck that! I’ll stay in denial. The only affliction I will accept is the one that causes me to break out in cuffs, one where the only place I can recuperate—according to the law—is behind bars. Prison has taken so much away from me, and so I have vowed to use my experience to get something back.
HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?
HARD-HITTING WEEKEND JOURNALISM AT ITS FINEST NOW SHOWING ON VICE.COM
Did you ever see that Terry Zwigoff movie Louie Bluie? It’s about three 80-year-old black friends who just sit around and rip on each other mercilessly. They’ve had three-quarters of a century’s practice, and the shit that comes out of their mouths every second is the best, most scathing burn you’ve ever come up with in your entire 20-year-old life. This is like the white country-club version of that.
This should ﬁnally shut up all the naysayers who think fags won’t use marriage for the same purpose straights do: to hook up with crazy Floridian raver sluts who take off in the car with whatever credit cards and jewelry they can get their hands on the ﬁrst time you can’t get it up.
“OK, I’m at the rally and I’ve got the bottle on my head. Yes, I’m using my right hand—that better? What? You STILL can’t hear me?! Jeez, what is with this stupid phone?”
We put Diane Pernet in the DOs years ago because we liked her whole Disney-villain-meets-19th-century-widow thing. We were bummed out when we heard she’d died, but she seems to be taking the whole life-as-a-ghost thing in stride. Or glide, whatever.
You can keep on telling yourself print is dead, but I’ll believe it when I don’t see at least one copy of Buttman on my commute every single morning.
Whoa now, I’m all for progressive, Dutch-style drug policies, but the Smack Family Robinson here might be taking things a bit too far. Can we maybe ﬁnd a middle ground between spending $500 every second to throw stoners in jail and “The family that nods together plods together”? Is that too much to ask? Stop giving your kid heroin.
How about this hot little piece of snatch, eh? I mean, ungh. Can’t you just picture the back of that cowl arching up as she tries to keep the rest of her habit up over her ass while you’re slamming her into the pew? Whattsa matter, you ain’t into nuns or something? Don’t you watch porn?
Christ, could you squint a little harder, Salman? I think there are still astronauts watching from Mir who don’t get how intense the book you’re reading is from the throbbing dick-vein about to spray half your forehead across the park.
Monks did that to their hair because they weren’t allowed to get laid. All you’re doing is making excuses for yourself.
Kinda takes the fun out of insulting Eastern Europeans when their actual lives are already the cruelest parody imaginable.
I hope it’s funny when I lose my mind. I hope that when my world turns into an Aphex Twin video set to a staticky radio station of Christmas songs and advice from the devil, it just looks like I got fired from my job hosting a children’s show in some former Soviet republic and haven’t stopped by home yet.
Romanian vampires get a bad rap over here (blood-mad rapists who fear the daylight and stalk the shadows), but that’s just because Bram Stoker wanted to make a point about syphilis and the corruption of British aristocratic bloodlines. The real ones are pretty cute.
Speaking of misconceptions, when you consider how many Euros still think we’re all Marlboro Men and rappers, it’s nice to meet a Yankophile who’s actually done his homework. Even if that means looking like dogshit.
Welp, that just about does it for old 2012. Hope you kids enjoyed these little fashion funnies of mine, at least ’til next year. Now get out there and jazz June or whatever you’re calling it these days. As for me, I’ll most likely pull up my old seat on the promenade and catch up on the horses. Ahhhh, who looks good today?
It would suck if you were an alien and you’d kept it a secret for 20 years, then during one Facebook photo your cartilaginous alien spine goes sssssshlunk and everybody is like, “Kaitlin… what’s with your baAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! [screaming and puking]”
Every time I see a burlesque/electroclash-gladiator fusion show (often) I can’t help but be struck by the fact of just how much training and body conditioning it takes to pull off an hour of me being bored out of my goddamned mind.
Hey, elastosleeves. Those lines are there so every brunette you draw doesn’t turn into a caricature of Sarah Silverman from the “our favorite customers” wall at Katz’s. Use them.
T-shirt dresses, nana scarves, and those droopy Russian hooker boots are each already their own kettle of bonerkilling fish. Putting them all together is complete fucking insanity. Are you in a fashion show for Hasidic wives?
No way. This can’t be real. Nobody’s face is shaped like that in real life. Are they dressed up as those puppets from Spitting Image? Did the girl from above leave two of her drawings too close to a come-to-life machine?
I sure hope she’s into having her feet tied to the bedframe above her head, because that’s what every guy who takes her home is going to assume.
Bar G Feeders, Hereford, Texas—Thirty-five percent of farms in the US are devoted to raising cattle for beef, making this type of farm the most common in the country.
BEEF AND OIL
A Bird’s-Eye View of Two of Modern Life’s Most Precious Commodities
PHOTOS BY MISHKA HENNER
Brahaney Oil Field, Plains, Texasâ€”One 158 litre barrel of crude oil yields approximately 72 litres of gasoline.
Tascosa Feed Yard, Bushland, Texasâ€”There were about 31 million beef cows in the US as of 2011, and 27 million feeder calves on their way to becoming meat. The country exported 1.26 billion kilograms of beef that year, worth a total of $5.04 billion.
Shamrock Farms, Stanfield, Arizonaâ€”Including all the water needed to grow feed and grass for grazing, it takes about 9,500 litres of water to produce one pound of beefâ€”100 times more than what is needed to produce a pound of wheat.
Kern River Oil Field, Bakersfield, Californiaâ€”In 2011, the US consumed nearly 19 million barrels of oil per day, which accounted for about 22 percent of the worldâ€™s petroleum consumption.
North Ward Estes Oil Field, Wickett, Texasâ€”The US produces somewhere around 5.8 million barrels of oil a day, less than a third of what it consumes. By comparison, the country that produces the most oil is Russia, which churns out around 10 million barrels a day.
Randall County Feedyard, Amarillo, Texasâ€”One quarter-pound hamburger patty takes almost three kilograms of grain, 197 litres of water, 22 square metres of land, and 1000 BTUs of fossil fuel to produce.
Wasson Oil and Gas Field, Denver City, Texasâ€”In 2011, the US ranked as the number one consumer of oil in the world, demanding the same volume as China, Japan, and India combined.
COWARDS ARE BLACKMAILING YOUNG WOMEN TO DEATH ON THE INTERNET Along with an Assortment of Other Disgusting Acts of Online Sexual Extortion BY PATRICK McGUIRE PHOTOS BY ANDREW B. MYERS
ast October, a Canadian teenager named Amanda Todd hung herself at her home in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Five weeks before committing suicide, Amanda posted a video to YouTube detailing years of harassment she’d undergone after being coaxed to flash an anonymous guy via webcam. In the video, she describes how this man continually blackmailed her into performing live-streamed strip shows. He used the topless images he had of Amanda as leverage, threatening to send them to her friends and family if she didn’t comply. Amanda’s death was widely covered in the mainstream media, with most reporters and law-enforcement ofﬁcials using the term “cyberbullying” to describe its cause. But this blanket term fails to adequately describe what was a complicated case of sexual extortion and abusive humiliation perpetrated by a blackmailer with a penchant for naked underage girls. Even worse, it was not an isolated incident. The most despicable corners of the internet house a byzantine network devoted to sharing screen-captured images of naked—and often underage—girls. And quite a few of these individuals get off on manipulating, blackmailing, and shaming the young women they encounter. On the surface, there are the mainstream and highly popular public video-chat sites like blogTV and Stickam, designed to provide an audience for anyone with a webcam and an internet connection. If you’re a Yankees fan, you can jump on blogTV to discuss the latest game; if you’re a pedophile, you can lurk around and wait for young girls to sign on. At any given time on the site, it’s not unusual to ﬁnd ﬁve or six underage females publicly chatting with an audience of up to 100 people each. The predatory scumbags who monitor these mainstream sites share the links with fellow pedophiles in chat rooms on smaller sites like Chateen and Vichatter. There are dozens of users who lurk in these chat rooms, waiting for someone to link to a girl streaming live via webcam. I have seen several screen captures that show users describing these girls as “targets.” Once these lurkers identify a target on blogTV or a similar site, they all jump into the chat room in hopes that one of them can persuade her to get naked. If they can persuade her to show some skin,
it’s referred to as a “win,” and images of the girl are screen-captured or recorded without her consent or awareness. Those who log these images call themselves “cappers.” As mentioned above, this operation is a group effort, and a huge part of it revolves around sharing screencaps taken during these public webcam sessions. At the moment, the most popular medium for distributing these images is a message board called AnonIB, or Anonymous Image Board. On AnonIB, screencaps are categorised into subforums that correspond with various webcam chat sites. There are also subforums for different states and Canadian provinces, allowing these pedophiles to maintain an accurate ﬁling system for their images and keep track of where in the world the girls live, as well as where they tend to hang out on the internet. On these forums, predators post their personal screencaps and ask the community whether any other images of the girl in question exist. Usually—if they don’t already possess nude screencaps of the girl—they will also ask whether anyone has been successful in obtaining some from a previous webcam session. Often, they discuss or argue over whether a speciﬁc girl is likely to masturbate on camera. It’s a public market where images of naked minors are swapped like trading cards. There is even a subforum for blackmail on AnonIB. It has been “hidden” since Amanda’s suicide, only accessible to those who knew its URL beforehand. Judging by the limited number of posts on the blackmail board, it’s fair to say that the majority of cappers are not outspoken blackmailers. Those who are, however, use the board like a grotesque Craigslist. When a user acquires an image of a girl he’d like to see more of, he will post this picture and then scout the forum for the blackmailer best suited for the job. In one post, a desperate user vented his displeasure: “Why are all blackmailers so fucking unreliable? I’ve used at least 6 different blackmailers now… And every fucking single one has ended up standing me up… Ignoring my mails, and not giving me my share of the deal… I have at least 10 fresh girls ready for blackmail, with facebook, pictures, etc. But I can’t ﬁnd a reliable blackmailer.” If you dig around enough, there is also a mention of Amanda on the blackmail board. A commenter who was upset about her suicide
THE CAPPING WEB Tinychat and Stickam are public, mainstream, and advertising-supported webcam portals where anyone in the world can initiate a video chat and gain an audience. These sites are, however, largely populated by young girls. While the sites are strictly moderated for nudity, much to the displeasure of the pedophiles, they both appear to be very popular places for predators to find young girls.
CHATEEN These chat rooms are the incubators of the capper’s internet experience. Both Vichatter and Chateen provide a secluded and virtually grimy environment for likeminded pedos to discuss strategy for luring young girls.
When one of the pedophiles finds a girl who is live on her webcam at that very moment on Stickam, Tinychat, or some other site, they all swarm to the link.
berated the other users. “Hope none of you know this girl because of this site,” he wrote. “She killer [sic] herself last night because she had someone black mailing her for naked picture, exactly what all your low pieces of shit are doing on here, think about what you do from here on out you fucking jokes go get some real win don’t force it.” Perhaps more disturbing than the requests for reliable blackmailers, and the chatter about Amanda’s suicide, are the publicly discussed strategies the forum users follow to pursue a new target. Next to a close-up shot of the face of a woman—who appears to be in her early 20s—someone wrote, “This girl has issues with her parents they’re abusive and stuff. If pics got out it’d be bad for her since she just recently lost her paid internship. Stuff to leverage against her.” Another particularly creepy thread on the blackmail board was from a guy who worked at a hotel and doubled as their de facto computer technician. He bragged about installing surveillance software on the hotel’s computers so that he could gather personal information on “hot coworkers and guests,” giving him the ammo he needed to blackmail them into sending naked pictures. One user, who evidently had his target’s Facebook and email passwords, wrote, “In one of the emails, I found a video of her stripping and ﬁngering herself… I ﬁgure any and all pics/vids are sent phone-phone to her boyfriend… I am going to log into her facebook, and send her a message from her own account, saying I have her video, show her screenshots, and tell her I’m sending the video to her grandma, mom, best friend, etc, unless she responds to the message with 10 nude photos and another video by midnight.” This readiness to openly discuss the exploits of capping and blackmailing is not limited to AnonIB. In 2010, an online TV-styled show called The Daily Capper emerged on YouTube and Metacafe. Hosted by an animated news anchor, The Daily Capper repurposes footage from the children’s TV show Crashbox with a robotic voice dubbed over the original audio. The newscasts, which were initially published on a near-weekly basis, discussed girls who were appearing on sites like blogTV and Stickam, as well as relationships between cappers and blackmailers.
Once they have a girl in their sights who’s willing to take her clothes off, it’s a few simple keystrokes to take a screenshot and save a copy of her image, without the girl ever knowing.
appers are a competitive bunch and often face off against rivals in the community. These rivalries were highlighted in a onetime Daily Capper ceremony in 2010 during which several awards were handed out, including one for Blackmailer of the Year. The twisted honour went to Kody1206, the capper Anonymous accused of blackmailing Amanda last October. Evidently, a cross section of these cappers and blackmailers compete to get the most caps and best blackmailing stories. Amanda made her ﬁrst appearance on The Daily Capper while she was still alive, in December 2010. In a brief segment, the news anchor provides commentary over a video that shows Amanda singing to her webcam audience. Given that The Daily Capper appears to be the source of the footage, it stands to reason that at least one of the show’s creators was the capper who recorded the video. Then, on November 10, 2012, exactly one month after Amanda’s suicide and more than one year after its last installment was published, The Daily Capper released an entire episode devoted to Amanda. Uncharacteristically, the news anchor took the moral high ground and provided information on Amanda’s blackmailing, blamed Kody1206 for her death, and wagged a ﬁnger at media and law enforcement for missing out on the fact that Amanda was blackmailed by pedophiles. The video also showed chat logs that proved, at one point, cappers had shared topless images of Amanda. I made contact with the producer of The Daily Capper, who calls himself “dc,” through Twitter, before he posted the latest video with information about Amanda’s blackmail. The producer proved to me that he owned and operated The Daily Capper by sending me a message from the show’s YouTube account. He told me that he made videos for “what they’re doing right now.” In other words, to alert the public to the dangerous, nebulous culture that is the capping scene. The videos were uploaded to YouTube, the producer told me, so that they would be easy for the public to ﬁnd; however, anyone familiar with them knows they are highly cryptic and difﬁcult for anyone outside the capping community to comprehend. His claims made me wonder whether a more likely reason for using YouTube was that, with 1.4 billion videos currently live on the site, it was very
AnonIB is a message board that looks just like 4chan. It allows users to post images anonymously and AnonIB is broken up into subforums that provide an infrastructure for pedophiles to catalog and share the screencaps they take of unsuspecting girls. There are subforums for each major webcam chat site as well as each state and province in North America, so that these guys can keep track of where these girls live and where they appear on the internet. There is even a forum for blackmailers.
While AnonIB is a public forum for sharing screen captures of underage girls, The Daily Capper is an online video program that chronicles the exploits of these pedophiles. The show is largely made for a pedophile audience. The show’s title comes from the term “capping,” a short form of “screen capture,” and “capper” is also a term embraced by the screen-capturing pedophiles. The Daily Capper was highly active during 2010 and 2011, when it ran stories that detailed the blackmailing of underage girls and whether or not the FBI was monitoring chat sites like BlogTV. Uncensored episodes of the show, containing underage nudity, were published on a website called Motherless. Edited versions are also available on YouTube and Metacafe. The Daily Capper returned in November 2012, after more than a year of inactivity, to release information about the blackmail of Amanda Todd for reasons that are still unclear.
AnonlB VICE 57
easy to hide Daily Capper videos in plain sight among all the rants, idiotic product reviews, family videos, and other crap that hardly anyone notices. The producer said that he had “connections with a lot of the big names” in the capping world and that he had learned to mimic the cappers’ slang and behavior (so that he could incorporate them into the videos) by spending a lot of time in their chat rooms. He told me that the reason he became aware of the capping scene was that he had spent many hours in video chat rooms, trying to meet girls around his age. The producer also said that he is 19 years old, so it’s not out of the question that he would have been interested in persuading teenage girls to undress during his 2009 to 2010 stint in the capping world. He painted a picture of himself as a do-gooder double agent, which was quickly contradicted when he told me he was “close friends” with a capper named “Viper,” a man who is absolved of guilt in the most recent Capper video regarding the blackmail of Amanda. The producer also said that he “didn’t realise how old [Viper] was until November 2010.” When I asked why he would choose to be so friendly with someone who had allegedly blackmailed young girls, the producer told me: “He’s not a blackmailer. In fact, he was against blackmail.” Adding to the dubiousness of his claims, a Daily Capper video from December 2010 has a cartoon newscaster announcing, “Many have been saying that Viper has always been a role model for Kody1206.” Since revealed to the world as one Kody Maxson, 19, the capper once only known as Kody1206 is currently being charged in British Columbia for sexual assault and sexual interference with a minor (which, as far as I can tell, are unrelated to his capping activities). After our conversation, the producer sent me an animated video he made, also from December 2010, that depicts Viper’s plan to get screen captures of a girl named “Verica” (allegedly the niece of Viper’s girlfriend). The cartoon version of Viper, pictured as a caricature of Kim Jong-Il, opens the video by saying he has “a 15-year-old-girl” who masturbates for him “every day.” He triumphantly exclaims: “Life couldn’t get any better!” As the video proceeds, Viper finds out that an unnamed capper has blackmailed his girlfriend’s niece (who, apparently, is “hot” and has a “big ass”) and that screencaps of her were being circulated in chat rooms and traded by other cappers. He embarks on a ravenous quest to find them, and eventually succeeds. The bizarre explanation the producer gave me as to why he would glorify Viper’s behavior by making such a video was that Viper aided the producer in helping “girls on webcam chat sites, get sites shut down, and assisted in reporting rooms. I’d give him the credit to help him get what he wanted.” He went on to say that he helped build up Viper’s reputation among cappers so that Viper could acquire more screencaps of girls. In return, Viper would help The Daily Capper get the offending chat sites shut down. This doesn’t make much sense to me, even after spending the past couple months wallowing in the muck of the convoluted capping scene. Even more disturbing is the fact that the producer knew Amanda Todd was being blackmailed as early as December 2010 and perhaps even before that. Still, he neglected to do anything about it. When, two weeks before he released the latest Capper video detailing Amanda’s suicide, I asked him why he’d withheld this information for almost two years, he said: “I really do regret not doing it… I was wrong. I didn’t think there was anything I could do at that point. I do agree it was really stupid to just ignore it. I really can’t give a logical reason why.” Obviously, there needs to be effective legislation and action taken against these men, but new laws alone aren’t going to solve this problem. Society needs to change the way it deals with online predators and pedophiles by focusing on prevention and treatment rather than punishment, which will require complex international laws and guidelines
to help bring these offenders to justice and, hopefully, get them the help they so desperately need. Numerous requests to interview Sergeant Peter Thiessen, the media liaison in charge of the Amanda Todd case for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, were ignored. I did, however, speak to Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic. Fred specialises in the study and rehabilitation of pedophiles, and when I brought up blackmailing, he was quick to point out that pedophilia and the proclivity to blackmail are not intrinsically tied. “Pedophilia just has to do with a different kind of sexual makeup,” he said. “Someone with pedophilia is no more or less likely to blackmail others than somebody who is heterosexual or homosexual. I don’t want to suggest that having the psychiatric condition of pedophilia is somehow inextricably linked to that sort of behavior.” This distinction of pedophilia as a sexual orientation is an important one. It doesn’t take a psychologist to understand that no one chooses to be turned on by children. Just as homosexuals don’t choose to be attracted to the same sex, or heterosexuals to the opposite sex, the pedophiliac orientation is a result of genetics. It follows, then, that there are pedophiles who recognise the danger of their sexual urges and want to control them. Unfortunately, the stigma that our society has put on those who are attracted to children dissuades many of them from seeking help. “When we say the word ‘pedophilia,’” Fred told me, “we’re not saying it in the way a physician would. We’re saying it as a way to describe someone who is less than human. Certainly, as a society, we haven’t supported the idea that many of these pedophiles are good people who are struggling and need assistance. To many that might sound like heresy, but from my perspective, as someone who has worked in this ﬁeld, there are people out there who are fundamentally decent but need help to make sure they manage their sexual needs without hurting others and destroying their own lives in the process.” As we all know, the anonymity of the internet has made it far too easy for pedophiles to lie about who they really are. In Amanda’s YouTube video, she says the man on the other end of her computer called her “perfect” and “beautiful,” which helped persuade her to ﬂash him. Amanda’s mother, Carol, told me that she had a very open relationship with her late daughter. Around the time of Amanda’s blackmailing, Carol said that she and her daughter were having regular conversations about the dangers of her online behavior. Carol knew about The Daily Capper and the blackmailing world in which Amanda had unwittingly become a celebrity of sorts. She even provided police with links (provided to her anonymously via Facebook) to the newscasts and posts on pedophile forums that mentioned Amanda. But even with all of this evidence, at the time of this writing no arrests have been made in connection with Amanda’s extortion. Carol and I discussed the potential for educating people on the complexities of this tragic and disturbing problem. “I had a daughter,” Carol said, “and I’ve been hearing the stuff people have been saying—that Amanda must have been neglected. I talked to her about what she should and shouldn’t do, and she would just nod her head and say, ‘Yes, Mum. I understand.’ Did it all get into her head? No. At that moment, kids are so impulsive. They don’t want to be lectured.” Fred echoed Carol’s sentiments. “It’s a tremendous challenge,” he told me. “Obviously what’s happening is wrong, and it’s not the child’s fault. We can’t allow them to be in a position where they can’t say what they are really feeling. Many kids who get involved sexually with adults care about them. We need to help the children understand that what this adult did is wrong, but that ‘maybe he really did like you,’ so that it doesn’t become an even bigger betrayal of trust. It’s very hard to have a politically correct attitude about this.”
Starring Val Kilmer
Watch the full ďŹ lm now exclusively on YouTube
THE SECRET DRINKER’S HANDBOOK Follow These Ten Rules and Become a World-Class Clandestine Alcoholic BY CLANCY MARTIN ILLUSTRATIONS BY ESRA RØISE
y happiest days as a secret drinker were in Kansas City, when my youngest daughter was still a baby. She was allergic to breast milk, so I’d take a bottle of soy milk, bundle her in her sling, and we’d walk to the convenience store half a block from my apartment and buy a half-pint of Jack Daniels and a large Diet Dr. Pepper in a styrofoam cup. Then I’d pour out half of the Dr. Pepper in the alley behind the store and refill it with whiskey. Finding these geographic nooks and crannies in a city is much harder than you’d think, until you begin to search for them.
We’d walk together through the streets of my neighbourhood. Our route usually took us past the abandoned boarding house where Hemingway had lived when he wrote for the Kansas City Star. My daughter drank her soy milk (she was a two-bottle kid, and so I always brought a second bottle of soy milk in my pocket), and I drank my drink. We’d look at each other under the trees on Rockhill and Hyde Park, grand old decayed Kansas City, past the stone mansions and the brick halfway houses and the NelsonAtkins Museum and Walter De Maria’s illuminated pond. She’d fall asleep, and then I’d take her back home and put her in bed. That’s how she fell asleep every night, until she was a year and a half. In winter, I’d bundle her under my jacket, with just her little face peeking out, and sometimes we’d go to a secondstory Irish bar on Main Street, and other times to Dave’s Stagecoach Inn—a dive I loved on Westport Road. A secret drinker misses bars. Like the ritual of chopping your coke or heating your heroin, a drink at the bar is very different from any other kind of drink, even if the bartender is too busy to make conversation and no one else wants to chat. One very cold winter night, when the bar was full at Dave’s, a bartender I’d never liked told me: “I can’t serve you with your baby in here, man.” “You’ve served me with her in here plenty of times before,” I said. “The baby’s not drinking.” At the few bars we frequented, most people liked to see me with my baby. Most drunks are friendly and kind, generous people who appreciate the difficulties of others and like babies. “You shouldn’t have that baby out in this cold, I can’t serve you.” “I’m sorry, what did you just say?” I yelled at him. “Did you just tell me how to take care of my baby? How many children do you have?” I could see he didn’t have kids. I lost my temper. My baby was warmer snuggled up under my heavy winter coat than she would have been at home in bed. “The one thing I can’t bear is people telling me how to raise my children,” I said to a woman standing next to me. She nodded sympathetically. Later, after I quit drinking, I wanted to go apologise to the guy. But if you’re a drunk, once you start apologising, it never ends. I don’t care what they say at AA.
ecret drinkers are everywhere. You’re constantly surrounded. Say you decide to have a drink on your lunch hour or in the quiet afternoon. You see a woman sitting alone in a booth with a glass of white wine and a plate of uninteresting vegetables in front of her. It’s not readily apparent to most people that she’s hiding anything. And that’s the ruse: She knows the general public doesn’t associate white wine with the alcoholic’s drink of choice. You notice a guy in the liquor store looking nervous at the register, almost as if he were planning to rob the place. He takes his pint of rum but not his receipt—he’s of age, so what’s his problem? He is in fact glancing over his shoulder, but he’s not worried about the cops or you. He’s looking for the people he hopes he won’t see or, more specifically, people he hopes won’t see him. He’s looking for his wife’s friends. For members of his home group at AA. Coworkers. Old lovers, who know he’s supposed to be sober. Students or customers. All the people he lies to—those who think he no longer drinks. When a secret drinker enters a restaurant, even before he sits down, he takes note of the bartender, the bathroom, and a table with its back to the bar. “That’s where we’d like to sit, please,” he tells the hostess. Ideally, there is a wall or a pole or some other obstruction between his table and the bar. If the bar and the bathroom are far apart, a good secret drinker will suggest a different restaurant. The best restaurants have both the bar and the bathroom completely separated from the dining room, which allows the secret drinker to easily keep pace with his date. The first rule of secret drinking: Keep your date drinking, too. Only a sober person can spot a drunk. The secret drinker will go to the bathroom more often than an ordinary person. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told, without a hint of sarcasm, “You have a small bladder.” The smart secret drinker will drink plenty of water and will often order several beverages—coffee, Diet Coke, sparkling water—in order to reinforce the illusion that he is a recovering drunk. Even when the secret drinker gets stuck in a restaurant where the bar and bathroom are inside the dining area, there are workarounds. About a year ago, I was having dim sum
one morning with a date on the Upper West Side in a place where the bar was in plain view and opposite the bathroom. There were no other dim sum restaurants in the neighbourhood, and once we were inside, my date wanted to sit beside me in a booth. I had spotted a little basement breakfast place around the corner on the walk over, a long shot but my best hope. As with most restaurants, the bathrooms in the dumpling place were close to the exit. I went to the bathroom, slipped out the back door, and darted into the breakfast place. They didn’t sell liquor but did have wine in little bottles. I asked for three bottles of Merlot—undrinkable stuff, slightly better than cough syrup, really—and paid with cash. I stood on the sidewalk and, with my date’s back to me, gulped them all down. I made two more visits back there before our meal was over. This was despite the fact that I had to come in the front door. I didn’t know how to explain it to my date—who by this time had reason to be suspicious. But luckily, she didn’t notice. If she had, any old lie would’ve probably worked. It was 11 in the morning and the truth was too absurd, even for me. Rule number two: Always carry cash. Your bank statement is your enemy, and you can’t pay in a hurry with a credit card. In Seattle, on a date with a different woman and an older friend of hers, I tried the same trick at a seaside restaurant, and they saw me come back in the front door every time. (I’d always wedge the back door open, but it’d rarely stay that way. Kitchen staff go in and out of these doors a lot, and they usually lock automatically. You can knock, and they might let you in the first time, but they won’t repeatedly.) My date’s older, savvier, more skeptical friend, a criminaldefense lawyer from Louisiana, took notice and said: “You go to the bathroom in the back and come back in the front.” She raised an eyebrow. “Are you going next door to drink?” She liked me, but she had the low-down. I said, “I like to look at the ocean for a minute when I have the chance. I live in Kansas City. It’s a treat for me.” I don’t think even my date bought that one, but if you control the discourse, you control the truth. Secret drinking is just like any other kind of cheating. You’re never really busted until the evidence is absolutely overwhelming or, fool that you are, you admit the truth. Rule number three: Deny, deny, deny. If you haven’t learned this one in the course of ordinary life yet, learn it today. Of course you want to tell the truth. Of course she tells you she’ll forgive you if you’ll just admit the truth. And when she tells you that lie—the lie about forgiving you, the lie of absolution with confession—she means it. She doesn’t know it’s a lie. But after you admit the truth, everything changes. Here’s another example of how to beat the bar-bathroom problem: It was a big night out at Masa in New York. I had eaten at the restaurant before, and I knew there was no bar. I couldn’t repeatedly leave the restaurant: It was in a mall, and there was no rear exit. So, it came down to my socks. You can fit as many as three airplane/minibar bottles of liquor into each sock. If you carry a purse, of course, it’s
probably much easier. You can use your suit pockets, but that’s risky; there’s probably going to be cuddling in the taxi on the way to the restaurant. On arrival, go to the bathroom and hide the bottles. Usually there’s a shelf, a cabinet, a drop-panel ceiling—something. I’ve hidden regular-size wine bottles in restaurant bathrooms before, but at Masa there was nowhere to hide anything. Those Japanese and their minimalist aesthetic. There wasn’t even a removable top on the toilet tank (bottles will float very happily in there, though you risk someone taking a peek if they interfere with the apparatus or make a noise—I’ve never been entirely comfortable with this method.) So I put mine in the garbage can, tucking them beneath the trash. When I returned to the bathroom I’d always empty the trash into the toilet or my pockets, all but a tissue or two, so that an employee wouldn’t take it and find my bottles. It was a beautiful evening: My date drank sake at the sushi bar, I drank vodka in the toilet, and she didn’t worry about me getting drunk. We took a bicycle cab from Lincoln Center all the way to our hotel on Gramercy Park, where there were still bottles in the minibar that I could drink and refill with water. Another piece of advice: Don’t forget your cell phone. This won’t work as well with an intimate acquaintance, but with casual friends or at business lunches or dinners, a cellphone call is an ideal excuse to leave the table. Step outside to another nearby place. Or, if your destination is a bit more
remote, stash a bottle in your glove box or under the seat (it’s awkward if someone notices you opening your trunk in the middle of an imaginary cell-phone call). Rule number four: Accept that everyone knows what you’re doing, and act as if no one does. You must be blithe, confident, and assured. Later, when you’re in recovery, if you tell a close friend, “I was secretly drinking at that time,” you’ll almost always be pleasantly surprised to learn that they had no idea. People are much less suspicious than you think. But the attitude that everyone knows what you’re up to will keep you from skulking, which is a dead giveaway. Rule number five: Befriend the bartender. Befriend your waiter. Befriend any staff who will permit you to do so. Suppose you have positioned your date so that she’s facing away from the bar; there’s the bathroom, inviting you, and there’s the corner of the bar and the bartender. You excuse yourself while she’s looking at the menu and say, “Please order me a Diet Coke if the waiter comes by.” Time for a double vodka. Well vodka only, straight—that’s the quickest and cheapest route to drunkenness. No ice for the same reason. Slip the bartender a 20—that works out to a $10 tip in the vast majority of bars and restaurants in the country and will still be an easy $5 in pricier places. And the next time you order a double, he’ll pour you a triple. If you see your waiter—no one said this was going to be cheap, but it is cheaper than your regular drinking—hand him a ten or a 20 too, if you can. No one can bust you faster than a waiter. “Can I bring you another vodka, sir?” Right at the table, in front of your date. This has happened to me several times. You’ll notice that I only refer to men above, in terms of waitstaff and bar staff. I don’t know why it is, but in my experience, female waiters and bartenders are more likely than males to bust secret drinkers. It may be that they are less tolerant of lies, secrets, and silence. It may be they are more often the victims of secret drinking. It may be they simply side with your date. Or it may merely be that my charm doesn’t work as well on them, maybe because I subconsciously feel more guilty using a woman as an accomplice. Either way, something to keep in mind. The best way to take care of your waiter is to stand by the bathroom door and wait for him to approach the bar. Wave him over. Then say, “Could you get me a double well vodka? Just between us. I’m not really drinking.” Then deliver the 20. They understand—they’ve been down this road before. It never hurts to add, “I’m sure you understand.” Normally, this will disarm the situation. Another marvelous trick: After the big tip, ask your waiter if he can bring your next Diet Coke with a shot of vodka in it. I’ve never had anyone—man or woman— refuse. That said, this one is risky. Once at a PF Chang’s in Kansas City, a young, dumb waiter came by my table to pick up my empty Diet Coke-and-vodka glass I’d ordered at the bar—with him standing beside me—and said, “Another drink, sir?” “Yes, another DIET COKE, please.”
My date stared at me, mouth agape. The waiter still didn’t get the hint. “Diet Coke and vodka, correct, sir?” “Uh, no, Diet Coke is what I was drinking. I don’t drink.” He finally got it. “Oh, of course, sir.” When he came back, he brought me a Diet Coke. Which was fortunate, because the first thing my date did was ask for a sip of my drink. ike many young boys, I took my first secret drinks from my parents’ liquor cabinet. My stepsisters and I didn’t drink much at a time, but eventually my stepfather called a family conference at the dinner table and accused my older stepbrothers of sneaking sips. We let them take the heat. Later, at age 12, I was babysitting and hit the liquor cabinet again. Some friends came over and then the parents arrived, back from their date. My mother said she smelled the vodka on my breath. I denied it, of course. But the next day, child that I was, I asked her: “What is that alcohol that has no smell?”
Growing up, you watch other people drinking. They become happier and happier the more they imbibe. “There is no alcohol that has no smell,” she informed me. For two decades you wait, watching other people enjoy their alcohol. It’s in these formative years that the secret drinker begins to learn the art and thrill of his craft. You also learn that, above all else, alcohol is freedom. It is the great equaliser of inhibition. For years, growing up, you watch other people drinking. They become happier and happier the more they imbibe—freer, looser, wilder. When I had a serious talk with my eldest daughter, some years ago, about my drinking, she said of my ex-wife and me: “I always liked it when you two were drinking. You were more playful. You were more fun.” (Eventually, I admit, I managed to convince her, through my behavior, that I am not so fun when I drink.) Drinking is everywhere, all the time, but we are only free to do it in certain prescribed situations. An editor friend of mine installed a camera in his office because he observed that the levels in all of his high-priced scotch bottles were steadily decreasing. Then the scotch started changing colour. Soon after installing the camera, he saw our friend, a secret drinker, creeping into his office at ten in the morning when my editor friend had gone to the bathroom, shakily opening a bottle and stealing a swig or two before putting it back on the shelf. Sometimes he’d bring a bottle of water with him for a little judicious refilling. (On that note, be careful about using water to refill a partially emptied bottle of alcohol. Water clouds many liquors, and then you’ve no choice but to take the whole damn bottle. A full-size bottle of liquor is a hard thing to
hide.) I don’t think my editor friend, a kind and fair man, ever confronted the perpetrator. If I know him as well as I think I do, he empathised with his colleague’s need and suffering. This man simply had to have a drink in the morning. And he was either too broke to buy his own or knew that if he had his own he wouldn’t have been able to hide his drunkenness. One thing my friend is not, however, is a philanthropist. He started filling his 30-year-old Macallan bottles with $7-a-bottle Teacher’s. As recently as 20 years ago, you were free to drink three martinis at lunch before heading back to the office with a sanguine grin on your face. Then there was a long stretch when getting buzzed during work hours was unacceptable. But lately things seem to be veering toward freedom again. My point is that when the alcoholic quits, he’s not just quitting drinking. The physical part is mostly easy. The hard part is that by quitting drinking, he is also quitting a lifestyle, a way of understanding the world, a basic irreplaceable pleasure, a treatment for psychological problems,
Every secret drink guzzled is, in essence, an act of deﬁance against the tyranny of others. a stimulant to his appetite for life, and a basic understanding of himself. But the most difficult thing is that the drinker is walking away from his personal freedom and stifling his free will. You may think he is a slave to his addiction. But really, it is his addiction that keeps him from being enslaved. Every time the drinker feels oppressed, he reaches for the bottle. People have told him he shouldn’t drink, and he hasn’t listened. This wears him down, and the secret drinker emerges from his malaise in a state of oppression. This is nothing new. When St. Augustine, as a boy, climbed a wall to steal pears that he didn’t even bother to eat, he concluded that it was proof of original sin. And in a sense, he was right: It was an expression of his freedom, it was his rebellion, his defiance. Adam, too, took a bite of the apple simply because he was warned not to, rather than because of lies he was told involving a snake and a woman. Dostoyevsky’s Underground Man refuses to go to the doctor despite his diseased liver simply because to do so would be to comply with societal norms and negate his choice to do as he pleases, even if that choice is impulsive and counterintuitive. He insists that he will be free, whatever the price. Every secret drink guzzled is, in essence, an act of defiance against the tyranny of others, or the tyranny of a partner, the tyranny of society, or even the tyranny of one’s own addiction: “Fuck you! I can have three long swallows and put you back down here behind the basement stairs, Mr. Belvedere. And good night!” Or a better, more realistic idea, even if it’s a more modest statement: Buy the half-pint and just drain the whole damn thing.
re you, reader, trying to quit drinking or transition to a more sober lifestyle? Going cold turkey may not be for you. If, against my advice, you decide to head down this road of desolation, it will most likely go something like this: Three days white-knuckle sober—then who knows how many days spent on a wild bender. Your partner, if you have one, will be furious. Recriminations, promises, tears. Soon you will start to lose things that will inhibit your dayto-day existence. It starts with your driver’s license, your credit cards, your keys, your cell phone, your money, your clothes. And it only escalates from there. Worried about losing self-respect? Please. I remember an editor of mine once telling me about a writer who had ordered $10,000 worth of wine on his publisher’s tab at a restaurant before passing out stone-drunk in the bathroom. “Imagine being that guy, the next day,” he said. I replied, “Oh, don’t worry, he can handle that. He’s way past the point of caring whether or not people think he’s a drunk.” You’ve already lost your reputation at this point. But your job? Your career? Your liberty? Your partner? Your kids? All these can and will be taken away if you don’t get a grip. But if you’ve reached this point, you’re past convincing anyone—including yourself—that you are capable of tapering off. So consider secret drinking. It’s largely selfregulating. You get your fix, but you have to keep it secret, which means you have to keep it under control. This brings us to rule number six: You must possess rigid discipline regarding texts and phone calls. Your cell phone—which has allowed so many to secretly drink—can become your worst enemy once you’ve had a few too many (and that’s inevitably going to happen). You will call or text sober people who will recognise that your syntax is garbled and more words are misspelled than usual. Your easy affection and quick anger are all too familiar. And your wit is suddenly off half a beat. There’s a simple way to avoid these problems: Never get drunk. The key, I cannot repeat enough, is self-discipline; and here, again, St. Augustine is helpful: “The greatest part of virtue lies in avoiding the opportunity for vice.” Augustine was familiar with the weaknesses of human will. This is the same man who, when trying to overcome his sexual rapaciousness, prayed: “Make me chaste, Lord… but not yet, Lord, not yet!” This, too, is the secret drinker’s prayer. OK, stay with me here. Now we’re going to talk about baby steps—how secret drinking can keep your habit (somewhat) in check. Your backyard is your safest bar, but it’s only as good as the weather. If it’s a nice time of year and you like secretly drinking in the sun and warmth, buy a few bottles and hide them underground—flowerbeds are easiest—at an angle, and roll some tinfoil over your stash. Then, at your leisure and with a long straw and a beach towel, there’s your subterranean booze fix. This is an old trick, however, so old that if your partner or relatives attend Al-Anon they will have heard of this one, so beware. The secret drinker must accept and embrace the fact that he cannot stay sober inside airports and airplanes. Here he has freedom—flight!—mixed up with glamour
and excitement—travel, luxury, and escape: These are the wool of bat and tongue of dog that flavors the hell broth of the alcoholic soul. And there is no easier place in which to secretly drink than an airport. Every bartender working in an airport assumes that their customers are in a hurry. On the plane it’s even easier—the bar is in immediate proximity to the bathroom. If you’d rather not steal the bottles (a moment’s work), flight attendants are very happy—it’s surprising but true, and I don’t know why this is the case—for you to stand and chat with them while you buy and down a drink. Maybe it has something to do with being stuck in the back of the plane for long hours every week. The toilet seat of an airplane bathroom is an unusually comfortable place to drink a bottle of red wine—especially if it’s a larger plane and several other bathrooms are available. It’s snug and private and no one can call you on your phone or expect anything from you while you’re in there. If you are trying to stay sober but slip up while traveling, be prepared: Once you’re home, the first few nights will be difficult. It can take as long as 90 days to break the physical dependency to alcohol. You will not be able to sleep without booze. So tell your partner: “I’m making a teapot of hot milk to drink while I read.” Wholesome. She’ll offer to make it for you, she’ll be so pleased. But no, you insist. It’s “soothing” for you to make it yourself. Hot milk is nothing without a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and,
depending on the brand, 50 to 120 proof vanilla. Start with medium-size bottles and buy them every day on the way home so she doesn’t notice how much you’re using or how fast you’re going through them. They’re small and easy to tuck away in the garbage. I used to buy specific brands and wash the labels off the back so that my now exwife wouldn’t notice the alcohol content (many brands of vanilla are labeled on the front for this very reason). If you pour too much in, you will be asked: “What’s that smell?” The familiar worried expression. “Nutmeg, I think. You know, no one ever guesses nutmeg.” So be sure to use lots of it and pile on the cinnamon. It’s also important for the secret drinker to establish and follow a strict routine. You’re home at six. Play with the kids for an hour, feed them. While she’s making their lunches, run to the store for adult food. Grab a half-pint of Jägermeister (surprisingly, it has the least breath smell of any liquor). One big swallow in the parking lot. A second gulp before the grocery store. A third when you get back into the car. After you park in the driveway, stash the bottle in the garage, again, in a trash can (you are going to become increasingly conscientious about taking out the trash), or under a stairwell if possible. That fourth and last nip, before bed, is your reward for going another day on only a halfpint of Jäger. This solitary pleasure, ritualised, sustained me for three solid years before things came to a head.
For emergencies, always keep alcoholic cough syrup and alcoholic mouthwash in the house. If you slip up and find yourself drunk, down three large swallows of cough syrup, lie down with the half-empty bottle by your head, and plead the flu. The cough syrup will explain the smell and the slurring; the flu gives you the excuse to spend the next morning in bed. Other quick tips: At a party, steal a bottle and hide it in the coat closet or bathroom—or some other secluded place where you can explain yourself if caught; buy nonalcoholic beer or wine, pour it out, and refill it with the real thing (this is a particularly good one—you can stroll around the house or the party comfortably with a real drink in hand); run to the convenience store, buy a 40-ounce or two and ask for paper sacks, and take a quick walk around the block (only at night—this can be exceedingly dangerous during the day); or hit a Dunkin’ Donuts, where there is usually a line and the lockable one-toilet bathrooms are usually empty (regular coffee-shop bathrooms are almost always full). If you’re out and your date isn’t drinking she will undoubtedly catch a whiff or ask to smell your breath—eating lemons and hand soap can help a bit, but it’s best if you smoke cigarettes and, on vacation, smoke cigars. Rule number seven: Always, always, be in control of the liquor. If your partner seizes the liquor cabinet or even the fridge, you will soon be exposed. So be proactive. When she has that look in her eye, put a drink in her hand. She’ll say she’s not in the mood for one, but soon she’ll want a second. It’s the nature of the drug. Every alcoholic is partnered with an alcoholic in training. “I think you drink vicariously through me,” she’ll say. Well, yes and no. If you are in a hotel with a minibar, so long as you’re always the one making the drinks for your partner, you can always refill the other bottles you smuggle into the bathroom with water. Be sure to discard them when your partner is out of the room, and then, when the bill is presented, if you’re not the one paying—and the minibar tab is an issue—assert firmly that “my girlfriend only had three beers.” They will—I assure you, as I’ve done it many times—remove the other minibar charges from your check. Rule number eight: As I’ve said over and over: Be the only one who takes out the trash. People are gossips. Spies are everywhere. You can’t become a regular at any establishment. You can’t hit the same convenience store, liquor store, bar, or restaurant too many times. Eventually you’ll wind up in there with your partner, and someone will slip up. They probably won’t even speak: You’ll be asking for a pack of Marlboro Lights for your wife, and he’ll put the cigarettes and a half-pint on the counter and start hitting the register keys. Rule number nine: You are a secret drinker now. You’re having an affair. Accept it. Be circumspect, as delicate as the most practiced adulterer. Sometimes fortune favors the bold, and you’ll have to bluff your way through. “Hey, thanks for the whiskey, I’ve been off the stuff for a year now”—give the cashier a hard look—“but thanks, I’m glad you offered!” You’ll laugh, and with any luck your partner
will laugh (nervously). These moments must be kept to a minimum. There will be no cell-phone records to trip you up in this love affair (and we’ve already talked about texting), but all the same, other people are out to catch you. You can’t even guess how many times my ex-wife told me, “I heard a story that you were drunk at the X on Y night,” or “I’ve been hearing rumors.” This kind of thing simply cannot happen. Which leads me to rule number ten, the most important of them all: You cannot get fall-down drunk. But you will get drunk, and occasionally you will even have to admit to a relapse, but you have three, maybe four, Get out of Jail Free cards. When it starts happening more than once a month, your partner or a relative is going to say: “Face it. You’re drinking again.” And once she thinks you’re drinking regularly, secret drinking will become almost impossible. If you use the wrong toothpaste, she’ll smell booze on your breath. If you spray on perfume, she’ll ask: “Do you smell alcohol?” Every minute of every day will have to be accounted for. No more quick trips to the corner store, no more grocery runs. She’ll even start taking out the trash.
Rule number nine: You are a secret drinker now. You’re having an affair. Accept it. If you use these simple strategies and follow these rules, you can secretly drink for as long as you like. There are a couple caveats, though: First, disposing of bottles. It sounds easy, but it’s a major pain in the ass. Every empty incriminates you—even if it’s not your empty. Empties in the trash will incriminate you; be sure to tie up those bags. If you throw too many bottles over the fence, here comes the angry neighbour—and you’re busted. You can’t let empties stay inside the house. You can’t have empties anywhere. And while it may sound counterintuitive, it’s just as hard to get an empty bottle of booze out of your home as it was to bring it in when it was full. Many of the techniques I have described above are appropriate for both single drinkers and partners. I have met people, through the course of my sobrieties and relapses, in and out of AA and psych wards, who realised at some point during their secret-drinking tenure that he or she was married to a secret drinker. The true secret drinker, however, is a sociable person. He prefers the company of others. He craves intimacy, he wants a best friend, he misses his mom. But there will come a time in his life when he is told: “You know, you could just live here in your little apartment and drink yourself to death. Nobody would mind except you. You can have all the bottles you want. Why don’t you just do that?” But you won’t do that. And it will always be: Make me sober, Lord… But not yet, Lord, not yet.
LI’L THINKS: REALNESS, TO THE EXTREME BY KATE CARRAWAY, ILLUSTRATION BY PENELOPE GAZIN
Kate Carraway writes the weekly Girl News column for VICE.com.
Most of us suck, and most of life is sucky. Considered another way, everything is the worst. But it’s for the best. (Probably? Maybe.) That individuals and organisations and businesses and governments and even the collective consciousness are so roundly selfish and chaotic and banal and usually so ultimately boring is on the surface not so good. And yet couldn’t that consistently shitty foundation of almost everything we are and live with be some kind of necessary substructure of checks and balances? Like, a carefully evolutionary-ed trias politica, in the interest of maintaining a relatively stable level of the Fucking Worst Stuff. I mean, think it through: The people who are actually right about ethics and morals—and, come on, we know who is right and who is wrong but then there is all of that stuff about energy and ego and how good steak tastes—are such bummers to hang out with. When things are sucky and awful, whatever goes well and right feels like the arc of a fourth-order rainbow coming and coming and coming out of every end; without daily, endless, expected badness, everyone would be like #richkidsofinstagram, and everyone knows that in between their smug dimples and beyond their 0.00001 percent teeth is the most fiery hellmouth. Badness is guaranteed. What’s worse, and what makes the badness maybe impossible to overcome, is that values, generally, are obtuse. As a little kid, adult mistakes and limitations are so adorably understood as black or white things. They’re not, but what is worse (and, come on now, everything is worse) and harder is that pursuing or doing the right thing isn’t what’s hard, it’s just knowing what the right thing is with any clarity at all. (I would always and totally do the right thing if I knew what that thing was, you know?)
There is no real way out of this. Positive-thinking movements and The Secret and nihilism and the faux anarchy of punk and youth and an addictive reliance on intellectual justifications for gnarly desires and behaviors are all pretty obviously nonsolutions. The only way out is, I think, to go underneath, because the opposite of trying to outsmart or outrun or outdo all of this veritable and perpetual worstness is to accept it. I like to call this credo “extreme realness,” which is a sunglasses-on-askateboard way of identifying a breed of stoicism that inhales every once in a while. What extreme realness amounts to is honesty—like, true and thorough honesty. Extreme realness accepts that everything is not only the worst but is getting even and ever more terrible all the time, and that the only valid, possibly useful response is the bottom-up acceptance of one’s and others’ limitations and inclinations and capabilities. Spin, of the industrial variety and applied to every machination of the culture at large, is right now so gorgeously constructed and elegantly invisible and easily communicable that actual children on Twitter know how to PR themselves into cartoon characters with their own brand statements. Most or much of American culture is about shadows and projections, and that explains almost everything about the market, the housing crisis, the too-perfect acrobatics of politics, why most TV and journalism sucks, and why anything isn’t what you thought it would be or want it to be. It is stupid and disease-y and something that has been internalised in this sick, sad way that can only be addressed by a psychophilosophical system of acknowledgement: Not only is everything the worst, but everything is what it is—a mom-and-dad thing to say that turns out to be revolutionary when applied the right way. Extreme realness (“realness, to the extreeeeme!” and then you pop open a can of novelty cola) comes in three parts: The first is projection, like, instead of assuming that anything will be good, understand that it won’t be while being tooootally OK with that, because when you know what something is and isn’t you can do more and better stuff with it, inside it; the second is acknowledging that whatever is will be, and what the scope of that is is, because understanding what a given person or political machine or whateversies is bounded by, responding to, and offering is how to get what you want from them or it; the third is—and maybe this sounds retardedly easy, but listen—owning mistakes and failures as if they are essential and operative elements of existing, which they are. Extreme realness most crucially demands that you get over yourself. Actually, not so much “get over” as “meet yourself where you are.” It identifies “lying” as a singularly clarified negative value and elevates “legit” to what it should have always meant. Most awesomely, extreme realness overturns the gross and ubiquitous mores of aspirationalism without affecting the imagination, because there isn’t any reason that the dreamiest daydreams—the most wild and blue and multijizzing rainbows—can’t be part of it. There isn’t any reason that honesty isn’t the dreamiest daydream of all.
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COMBOVER: SANTA DADDY BY BRETT GELMAN, PHOTOS BY JANICZA BRAVO Featuring Angela Trimbur
Well, now I’m depressed. Really down in the dumps. I don’t know what to do. My mind is spinning like a dreidel. And my body feels like a couple slabs of corned beef that have rotted in the California sun for way too long. Not lean corned beef, mind you, but the really fatty stuff. The type of corned beef that’s so fatty you gotta pull half of it out of your mouth while chewing to keep yourself from gagging. I don’t deserve any of this. I’m a good guy who’s just trying to make some movies and have some fun. But these other people with their uptight meshuga ways keep bringing me down. Sartre was right: “Hell is other people.” Was Sartre anti-Semitic? I don’t know. Who cares? He’s right. A lot of anti-Semites have interesting things to offer. Say what you will about Goebbels, but the schmuck knew how to sell. Maybe a walk will do me good. Yeah, a walk. I never walk. Always driving. Why did they build this place so spread out? Feels good to walk and say hello to the trees and bushes and birds. Then, BOOM! A hot piece of shiksa bumps right into me. Gorgeous, in some kind of French number that made me think she might be an anti-Semite (which made me harder than matzo). She gives me a look that screams, “Follow me, you sexy Hollywood producer, you!” And I do. This one knows how to tease. Oy vey, that walk, it’s doing me more right than a shot of penicillin. And she knows how right it’s doing me. She gives me a little extra and randomly straddles a tree like a dancer. She leads me to what I can only assume is her apartment. Before she opens the door, she turns to me. “I’m Angela. I’m an actress. I like spy movies, salads, and naughty afternoons. By the way, what time is it?” “The afternoon.” “Perfect. Why don’t you come in?” Nice apartment. She’s done well for herself. It’s funny that I’ve never come across her till now. If I had met her, I’d have given her a contract for five movies faster than two rabbis can stretch a penny. She paces back and forth, sizing me up. I sit down. So much walking. I’m a little tired, and if this is going where I think it’s going, I’m going to need all the strength I can get. “I just turned 20 two days ago,” she says. “I feel so old. So very old. I’m really missing my childhood. I long for it. It’s such a deep longing. Something that goes to the very core of my being and then spreads to my senses. I realise I haven’t giggled in quite a while.
Sure, I’ve laughed, but I ache for a prolonged giggle. The way I used to giggle at the zoo or circus. Before I learned what the zoo and the circus really were. Before I learned what life really was. Do you ever long for your childhood?” “Well, that depends,” I reply. “My parents used to beat the shit out of me. Not in a bad way. That’s what people did back then. But that doesn’t mean I liked it.” “You were probably born a man, weren’t you? Just like Santa.” “Excuse me?” “Hold on. I’ve got something for you.” She walks into the other room. Should I follow her? No. She comes back. She holds something up. A Santa suit. My spine tingles with horny glee. “Put this on so I can tell you what I want for Christmas.” You bet your ass I put it on. I put it on like it’s my bar mitzvah suit and we gotta be at temple in five minutes. I emerge from her bathroom as St. Nick. “Why, hello, Santa.” “Hello, ho ho ho, Angela! Thank you for inviting me over. You seem very nice as opposed to naughty. Ho ho ho!” “I’m a little bit of both. Don’t you want to know what I want for Christmas?” “Of course. I am, after all, Santa Claus. What do you want for Christmas, little girl?” “I want my big Jewish Santa Daddy to spank my nice-naughty ass!” I oblige her. I lean her over my red velvet lap and spank away like her tuchus is Rudolph’s back. “Spank me, Santa Daddy! Spank that ass, Santa Daddy! Spank that 16-year-old ass! Merry Christmas!” My hand goes cold. “Sixteen? I thought you said you were 20!” “Did I? Oops! Guess I’m even less nice than you thought!” “Where’re your parents?” “What does it matter where they are? They’re gone. We’re here. Now kiss my fucking mistletoe!” “No way!” “OK! Well, in that case… RAPE! RAPE! SANTA’S RAPING MEEEEEEEE!!!!!!” I run. She chases. I run faster. Alone. Will I always be alone? I will. I’ll always be alone. No one is here for me. And why should they be? I run. RAPE! I’m alone. This is the ninth chapter of Combover, Brett Gelman’s new novel about Hollywood, the beauty of the Jewish tradition, baldness, and murder. We will be serialising it until March. Read the previous installments at VICE.com.
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THE CUTE SHOW PAGE! BY ELLIS JONES
The Cute Show Page! is normally meant to incite feelings of love, purity, and happiness—all the stuff that tugs at the ol’ heartstrings and makes you want to hum nursery rhymes while skipping down the street. But as we all know, the hard reality is that humans have been decimating the sanctity of the animal kingdom for eons. The 2012 International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species includes 3,947 “critically endangered” species that face a very high risk of extinction or whose populations have decreased, or will decrease, by 80 percent within three generations. And that’s not including species that currently only exist in captivity. This adorable Hawaiian monk seal is one of the many unfortunate creatures included on the Red List. There are fewer than 1,200 of these flippered tubes of blubber left on the planet. And it looks like things are about to get even lonelier for these mostly solitary (hence the “monk” distinction) animals, the only seal native to Hawaii. Like many sea-dwelling mammals, Hawaiian
monk seals are finding it nearly impossible to live in and around an ocean that has been raped, pillaged, polluted, and generally used as a landfill-cum-toilet by humanity since the halcyon days of the Industrial Revolution. As if they weren’t ridiculously adorable already, the monk seal is known to locals as “Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua,” which means “dog that runs in rough waters.” These aqua-pooches have a grey coat, a white belly, and a slender (well, for a seal) physique that helps them hunt prey like lobster, fish, and octopus in deep waters. Their favorite thing to do is laze about on volcanic rock and sandy beaches. Their least favorite thing is to be murdered en masse by humanity’s ignorance and callous disregard for other living beings. We are awful and should probably kill ourselves. Considering that these seals are already close to extinction, we thought it best not to encroach even more on their turf to stick cameras in their faces. To see some cute animals we were actually able to hang out with, check out episodes of The Cute Show! on VICE.com.
Photo by iStockphoto/JimmyAnderson
Hawaiian Monk Seals!
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REVIEWS BEST ALBUM OF THE MONTH: THE PHARMACY
SOLANGE True Terrible
Like all walking vaginas, Beyoncé probably snoops around her man’s computer from time to time. So after Jay-Z’s done deleting those naked photos of Kim that Kanye emailed him, I bet he clears his iTunes playlist cache, too, ’cause he deﬁnitely listens to this EP way more than whatever his wife’s been working on lately—and, trust me, you DO NOT want to get locked out of that ﬁne, ﬁne pussy. SSST
GHOSTFACE KILLAH Twelve Reasons to Die Soul Temple
During the shit circus that is CMJ, I was at a twee-pop fest that just so happened to be taking place next to a Ghostface Killah show. At one point, I took a break from wanting to kill myself to go outside and smoke a cigarette, and saw that the whole street had been blocked off with cop cars because some manner of riot had erupted outside the Ghostface show. A guitarist for one of the twee bands later came out of the venue to ﬁnd a shoe atop his windshield. That is all. RYAN GOSLING
DAVINCI The MOEna Lisa SWTBRDS
DaVinci’s album is out on SWTBRDS, which I read as “sweetbreads,” which is a dish that is neither sweet nor bread. It’s the thymus gland of a calf, and I don’t even know what that means but imagine it tastes yucky unless you’re a weird-beard foodie who fashions himself as an outdoorsman. You know, the guys who are
into frog legs, snails, pigeons, foie gras, blood sausage, spleens, horse cocks, and monkey brains. Basically, the more you’re “into food,” the more you like eating stuff that might be used in an occult ritual. What’s confusing is that, judging from the music he makes, Mr. DaVinci sounds like a guy who eats salads from McDonald’s for every meal. And I’m lovin’ it. RHEK
that you can tell how long the musicians spent on it (way too long), yet in the end it’s utterly disposable to me. I just listened to it twice, and I can’t remember one song. I do remember that there were dumb samples of people talking, and clean technical drumming that reminded me of some video of Travis Barker playing by himself. It’s like a more intense, more industrial form of trip-hop, but you can’t fall asleep to it or drink cocktails to it or fuck to it, so fuck it. TONY BARMAN
TRINIDAD JAMES Don’t Be S.A.F.E. (Sensitive as Fuck Everyday) Self-released
With rap albums dropping out of every nook and cranny of the internet every minute of every day, it’s hard to keep on top of all the hot young hits of today. You know, all the shit the kids are talking about. But we can’t let this one pass on by. Oh, no. On the surface, our boy James looks like maybe another trendy, ignorant fashion flash in the pan who’s good for a laugh and an outstanding viral video (“All Gold Everything”), but this is seriously one of the best, and most original, albums I’ve heard all year. Catchy choruses, progressive and hard-hitting beats, and the Trini gladiator is skilled on the mic, straight styling on ’em—he finna blow for real, superstar status. Plus the cover is Ol’ Dirty Bastard legendary. Pop a molly, we’re sweating—wooooo!!! RHEK
CRYSTAL CASTLES III Universal/Fiction
This is some frigid shitshow electro. Then again, post-Xanax, all those choppy beats and bloop bleeps actually sound melodic. One of the best parts on the album is when Alice Glass’s vocals go from baby doll to screamy-me-no-understandy during “Pale Flesh.” And the raver “Wrath of God” is all dancey doomgoth and glow sticks. Breaking news: I’m shaving my head, getting gold grillz, locking myself in a cellar, and listening to this album. Forever. Deal with that shit, haters. JENNIFER DARLING
WIRES UNDER TENSION
EL PERRO DEL MAR
The Control Group
The promo sheet for this thing likens Wires Under Tension’s music to a 1940s composer who manipulated player pianos to create music so complex that it was impossible for human hands to perform. This is a stupid comparison, because any composition made by the infinite number of pedantic laptop assholes out there could be described the sameway. Unless your synthesizer runs off of steam and barber tonic or some shit, I’m not buying it. And if I do that means you’re a steampunk, which also negates your reason for deserving air. But the most depressing thing about this album is
El Perro del Mar’s Sarah Assbring dares to journey into the morass of message music this time around on her ﬁfth (sorta, depending on your deﬁnition of LP) studio album, Pale Fire. It’s a pretty daring move for an artist who has previously crafted tunes out of smooth blips, sprinkled with lyrics so sparse each song could ﬁt into a single tweet. Most artists who decide to switch gears and hop on a podium deserve to be punched in the face, but El Perro del Mar makes this transition with complete grace. The lyrical brevity is still present, only this time she weighs her words much more wisely.
REVIEWS WORST ALBUM OF THE MONTH: WIRES UNDER TENSION:
From concerns about the future in “Hold Off” to emphasising the importance of love in “Home Is to Feel Like That,” Sarah gets her point across clearly and in a concise fashion, which is increasingly rare in our “lemme tell you why I’m a crybaby on Facebook” world. Plus, with climate change causing all of these weird storms to happen, “To the Beat of a Dying World” is eerily prescient. I bet she knows Susan Miller. KATHY IANDOLI
PRINCE RAMA Top Ten Hits of the End of the World Paw Tracks
Top Ten Hits is, as its press release states, “a pseudo-compilation album” for which “the Brooklyn duo invented ten different pop bands that died during the apocalypse, channeling the ghosts of each one to perform the various songs.” OK. Well. It is an ambitious project, if we’re talking about the same kind of “ambitious” my parents used when discussing my childhood career goal of becoming a professional cat. Sufﬁce it to say that the Larson sisters and I have found the same degree of success in our endeavors. SEMIPRO CAT
ANGULAR Unrest Independent
I gave this a vomit, but that doesn’t mean it’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. It’s just that right now, at this point on the space-time continuum, the mass of atoms lumped together in this chair forms a person who thinks this sounds like a drug awareness advert. You know the ones, where the pretty young girl goes to the only rave in the eastern suburbs, meets the only guy still selling ecstasy, and ends up getting reamed in the back of a Datsun. But if things had gone a little differently, and dystopian, Coffs Harbor dubstep was my vibe, then I’d be into this. So if you’re a beach dwelling raver, happy Christmas. SHIRLEY TEMPLAR
ANDY STOTT Luxury Problems Modern Love
I’m too old to care about whatever white-label 12-inch Boomkat is hyperbolising over this week, but Andy Stott is at the forefront of spooky, monolithic slabs of dark electronica, and this one is a burner. It’s “dance” music for goddamn bona ﬁde adults who ﬂee unbearable warehouse parties to chain-smoke and listen to this on the walk home while thinking adult-ass thoughts. And just plain ass thoughts. BJ ARMSTRONG
FRED THOMAS Night Times Framework
With the arguable exception of the Holocaust, there is nothing worse than going into a bathroom stall after someone has left a fresh turd that has clogged the toilet. It throws my whole day off. It’s like, This is my responsibility now? I have to get all resourceful in here before I can relieve myself? That hardly seems fair. And, just so you know, the papier-mâché hat you were apparently trying to make in here? It sucks. Also, try your best not to shit at work, please. Save your poop aggression for your home facilities. SEAN YEATON
girlfriend Tilda Swinton even pops up to deliver a gobbledygook spoken-word ditty about being impaled by a sword or something (wish it was my dick, knowwhati’msayin?). Whatever, the whole thing ﬂows real smooth-like and even reminds me of Neil Young’s score for Dead Man, which, if you haven’t seen yet, is what you’re watching tonight on Netﬂix Instant. Somehow Jim Jarmusch even manages to make you forget about how Johnny Depp is now a shitty, balding actor. It’s called foresight. JOHN “SPIDER” SALLEY
GREEN DAY ¡Dos! Warner Brothers
My friend Nick loves Green Day. In fact, I think they might be his favorite band. He’s cool as fuck, has a hot wife, is funny as hell. Dude also loves weed. This time next year he’s going to be a dad, and so it make sense that his favorite band is Green Day. Which is ﬁne; music just doesn’t enter our realm of discussion. But what would you do if your friend were in Green Day? Imagine calling up your old boy Billie Joe to see whether he wants to see a movie and his 40-year-old ass shows up late, looking like an Avril Lavigne ﬂesh costume and asking whether you had a chance to listen to his demo for “Fuck Time” yet. The previews are on and this clown wants to talk about “Fuck Time”? How about “Fuck Your Face”? He’s taking a hot ¡Dos! in your ear and all you’re trying to do is get your Ben Stiller on. Cut your losses. Your friend sucks as much as his tunes. BENT STILLER
JOZEF VAN WISSEM & JIM JARMUSCH
Eve of the Last Migration
The Mystery of Heaven Sacred Bones
Your favorite director and some downtown NY avant-garde dude hooked up with the most unfuckwithable label of our modern times to make a record of scorched-earth, amp-worshiping death rock. My future
Bootblacks are a Brooklyn death-rock band that sound like Nick Cave and other gothy things you know and like. So, of course, they made a vinyl record limited to 500 copies with this topographic-map-style pattern silk-screened all over the front and back. Each copy is hand-numbered and has a little obi strip and an
REVIEWS BEST COVER OF THE MONTH: MEMORY TAPES
embossed sticker. It’s cool when a record and its packaging are about equally good. But, I wonder, why wasn’t this put out by Sacred Bones? I thought they cornered the market on beautifully and darkly crafted record packaging? Oh well, I guess they can go suck a good man’s dick for dropping the ball. CHIM-CHIMENEY CHEROO
Hüsker Dü were put in a blender on liquefy. And that’s OK by me. There’s a lot of good post-post-post-post-postpostpunk coming out lately. HÜSKER DÜHHHHHHH
THE PHARMACY Stoned & Alone
billion people on this earth can all deserve to diiiiiiie! Diiiiiiie!” It’s subtle, but this bears a striking similarity to the well-known Toxic Narcotic song “Five Billion People Must Die.” At first I was like, “What are the odds?” but I think that the driving force behind thrash music is that you kind of want to kill everyone on the planet. NICK GAZIN
JAWBREAKER Bivouac (Reissue) Blackball
Do a Google Image search for “jawbreaker tattoo.” It will save you whatever money you were going to spend on your next stupid purchase. Cryptic? Yes. Consider this an intimate, interactive experience we just shared with each other, and then fuck off for a while. I’m busy. YEAN SEATON
THE FAINT Danse Macabre (Deluxe Edition) Saddle Creek
I sit across this girl from Omaha at work, and we’re pretty tight friends. Not like “take a bullet for me” tight, but we used to take smoke breaks together before I quit. We’ve deﬁnitely gotten hammer-drunk together at “work stuff,” but I can’t really handle that level of partying anymore. I guess people from Omaha still can, God bless ’em. Incidentally, I’ve eaten Thai food for lunch three times this week, and it’s Thursday. Hope it didn’t stink up the joint too bad. Hi, Kathleen! SEAN YEATON
WOOLLEN KITS Four Girls Trouble in Mind
These Australian guys used to make echo-laden fuzzy rock, but I guess that trend came and went because now they sound more like the Replacements and
You know that smell of cigarette smoke mixed with leather, gasoline, and eyebrow-hair grease that conjures up every boner you’ve ever had? That’s this band, and this album is Life Viagra. SATIN GRACELAND
ARTS MARTIAL Promises Will Get You Nowhere Two Records/Inertia
DEFTONES Koi No Yokan Reprise
If you enjoy laying in the sands of your youth and being caressed by waves of intense shyness, awkward erections, and remembering how little you actually understood about the world back when you bought Deftones CDs, you should go to the beach with your parents. RANGI RANGINUI
For every shitty blue collar chant on this album, there are at least seven baristas with purgatory sleeve tattoos and fry-grease quiffs simultaneously playing in identical bands. I’ve never loved this kind of music, but I’m not keen on totally sabotaging non-offensive ‘punk’ especially if my morning coffees are at stake. This isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s OK. But if you’re going to be making angry poetry about socialism and home-brewing, you should probably take a hint from Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace and grow a vagina or something. MELISSA TAN
TRASH TALK 119
Zingers Knock Yr Socks Off
It does my heart good to see a thrash band become as popular as Trash Talk has. Let me tell you, these guys can talk the talk but they can also thrash the thrash. All in all, with the exception of a few minor details, this record’s not a huge departure from their previous release. There’s a stoner-metal track with vocals from Tyler the Creator and Hodgy Beats, and there are fewer short songs than usual. Listening to it made me think about the times I saw Toxic Narcotic while wishing I could see them play again. Then the 28-second “For the Lesser Good” came on, which ends with the lyrics “6
I never get the burgers at KFC. I just can’t go past the fried chicken. Maybe it’s because I’m African, but no one else seems to fully appreciate the beauty of a deep-fried bird. Because of this fried fowl dedication, I’m not in a great position to draw comparisons between this album’s title and the famous burger. But what I do know is that this album is so delicious I’m about to go against thousands of years of evolution and buy a stupid KFC burger. My ancestors are going to kill me. FRANK STONE
REVIEWS WORST COVER OF THE MONTH: GREEN DAY:
BRIAN ENO Lux Warp Records
I love baths. Only, I don’t have one at my place and it turns out it’s quite an awkward and ultimately unsuccessful thing to ask your friends if you can come and soak it up at theirs. Happily, I now have the aural equivalent of Epsom Salts to listen to instead. God my skin feels soft. FARRAH FAUCET
everyone about it. Surprisingly they usually look like they’re having a pretty nice time. Then I remember that it’s only as a semi-composed adult you look back and realise what an obnoxious bag of pus you were. At the time you didn’t have a care in the world. You were just laying on your bed listening to albums like this. You didn’t have any problems that couldn’t be solved by tormenting someone even less fortunate than you. Life was easy as shit. Next time I see a teenager I’m going to push them in front of a tram. BEATRICE FAUMUINA.
MEMORY TAPES GUIDED BY VOICES
The Bears for Lunch
case with Construction Sounds—the result of Schneider TM spending eight years recording the sounds of construction sites near his home, which were slowly driving him insane. What the fuck were they building for eight years? Why didn’t he move? And why would he want to relive that experience by reverse-engineering nearly a decade’s worth of miserable noise? One thing I can say for certain is that the answers to these questions don’t matter and, at the end of the day, nobody really cares. I listened to this while lying on the ground in the middle of a pitch-black rainforest as bugs crawled all over me, and it was perfect, so that’s that. DREW MILLARD
SUFJAN STEVENS Silver & Gold
Bob Pollard is 55, was born on Halloween, and, according to my research, is an alcoholic cyborg with no need for sleep and a digital liver that runs off Cheetos. He drinks at least 40-something beers on a slow day, releases at least ten records a year (this is the third GBV record released this year), and puts together pretty decent collages in his “free time.” All this, and the motherfucker still has a success rate of at least 85 percent. I’ll qualify that statement by admitting I haven’t heard all of it. No one has; no one could. I doubt that even Bob remembers more than a quarter of the stuff he’s written over the years. He has creative dysentery; it never stops. And, yeah, this record is great, but chill the fuck out already, Pops. Can’t you just be a cool-ass granddad and play catch with me every once in a while? YOUR GRANDSON
Dude, I crashed my motherfucking four-wheeler into some rich fuck’s beach house. Luckily, there was this maniac sitting on the deck playing saxophone who looked exactly like that Jason Patric dude from The Lost Boys. Remember that guy? All sweat and hair? Who knows what happened to him (oh, right, Speed 2). Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any sax on this album, but, for real, it DOES make me wanna have S-E-X. And I bet that at this very moment at least two people are banging the day away to the tempos of this record, and will double-down on that with 4:1 odds that they are absolutely NOT fatasses. ORANGE JULIUS SIMPSON
Whenever I see teenagers I feel so bad for them. They’re all just walking pustules of angst and peer-based mental abuse. God they’re terrible, and you just know their parents are such butt-weeds and the guy who ﬁnger-blasted them on the weekend has already told
Whenever I ponder whether I’m actually enjoying a piece of experimental music or I’m just trying to jerk off my brain, what I’m really asking myself is: “Would I like this if I weren’t aware of the weird-ass context under which it was created?” This is especially the
I literally had to beg a friend who works in PR to email Asthmatic Kitty’s publicist to get a promo of this album to review (and to cherish) because my 50 or so requests went unanswered. If I’m honest with myself, this is probably because I’ve talked a little too much about how I’d love to scratch my back (and by “back,” I mean “tonsils”) with Sufjan’s penis, so I promise to be on my best behavior from here on out. But before that happens, I just HAVE to say this one thing: Hearing his voice sing “DING-A-LING-A-LING, JESUS IS THE KING” on this festive Christmas album isn’t exactly stiﬂing my urge to make him get on all fours, tie a saddle around his torso, and ride him to and from the refrigerator like a manger donkey until he cries. On the real, though, Christmas albums are usually depressing because they are excellent at inducing déjà vu of your fucked-up childhood and dysfunctional family dinners (like that time your mom raped you with a gelatinous tube of cranberry sauce). But this one, my merry friends, is nice like a rub-and-tug from Mrs. Claus after a hard night of stufﬁng your fat ass down dirty chimneys. There’s even a song about unicorns! Sufjan is doing a tour for this album where he supplies songbooks to the crowd so that everyone can sing along with him. I’m gonna never break eye contact. KAYLE MAQLUE
JOHNNY RYAN’S PAGE
THE REGINALD THEATRE SEYMOUR CENTRE January 6–19 TICKETS FROM $55 Sydney Festival 1300 668 812 sydneyfestival.org.au/murder Additional fees may apply
MURDER WORLD PREMIERE
ERTH AUSTRALIA INSPIRED BY NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS’ MURDER BALLADS VISUAL THEATRE MAGICIANS ERTH CREATE A WORLD OF LOVE, LUST AND DEATH. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals, Adelaide Festival, Sydney Festival, Melbourne Festival and Ten Days on the Island.
WHERE?HOUSE AT MELBOURNE MUSIC WEEK 2012
The long-unused Argus Building was recently reanimated as Where?House, the jaw-dropping hub of Melbourne Music Week 2012. It was powered by Intel®, which meant mind-altering projections turning its outside walls into analogue tapestries and a main stage hosting headline acts Bamboo Musik, Straight Arrows, New War and more. And that’s not to mention the Learning Curve space with its how-to sessions on video art and home recording, free internet in the Intel® Ultrabook™ Wi-Fi Lounge, and a bunch of food stalls by Fancy Hanks and Huxtaburger. We took some photos.
Photos by Elliott Lauren
The November 2012 issue of VICE Australia Magazine