Archive | March, 2014

Geeking out on Pinata

23 Mar

I’m feeling these new Madlib/Freddie Gibbs tracks

I told myself I’d start listening to NPR but I like Vice News better

13 Mar

20 years is a long time to be doing anything. If you can manage to do the same thing for 20 plus years, chances are you are (or will be) pretty good at it. 1994 was a peak year for fashion, pop culture, and music for the Gen-Xer’s. Vice Magazine encapsulated the various trends and fads from that era (art, sneakers,music) as the alternative movement gained steam.

20 years later, and Vice is an international conglomerate, with its own website, magazine, music label and documentary films. The founders of Vice, Suroosh Alvi and Shane Smith used the internet boom to their advantage to spread content in new and interesting ways. The fashion and pop culture stuff is amusing, and there are enough weird bizarro “This American Life” stories that make for good documentaries, but my personal favorites are the global affairs docs. Whether it means sending reporters into the front lines (I wonder what kind of insurance benefits and how much hazard pay they receive) out to Venezuela to cover the uprisings or sending them to Pakistan to buy guns off the black market, this media group is there to capture it in its rawest essence. The audience gets to experience the events as they unfold in the case of the Ukraine uprising, and subsequent Russian invasion of Crimea.They are at the forefront of immersion journalism right now, and it seems like the ball is just getting rolling for them. The coverage of the Ukraine invasion has been remarkably surreal and intense. Not only are they there when the shit goes down, but they seem to have their finger on the pulse of a place right before things blow up. Henry Langston (the correspondent covering the revolution in Kiev) goes into the thick of a chaos that resembles a real life “Terminator” reenactment. When Crimea is invaded by Putin and the Russians, Simon Ostrovsky comes very close to getting into some serious hot water with armed Russian military types.

This is much different than the 60 minutes approach. Their reporter (some white lady) went to Kiev well after the tension had peaked (and Yanukovich was ousted) and reported the event in a much different manner, riding around in limos with government officials.

What started out as an outlet to mentally escape the harsh winter of the midwest has turned into a full blown obsession with global politics. I’ve read that Shane Smith himself has said that if “you’re looking to Vice to be the main source of political media then you’re in trouble.” Well maybe we are in trouble. After a majority of these videos,which address topics such as nuclear melt downs, civil war, predatory gangsters, and being gay while under oppressive regimes, I say to myself “Man maybe its not so bad here in the states after all.”

But then I start to think, “What if Vice is holding up a mirror to us and all we are seeing is a reflection of what we have created and what we will become? What if the oppressive regimes in places like North Korea, Russia, and China are simply a harbinger of what is to become of us in the western world? What if we are already at that point and we don’t realize it because we’re too distracted to realize it?”

If you are poor, minority, gay, transgender, Marijuana enthusiast,sex worker, or a convicted felon, what rights do you really have here in the United States? And how long will it take before the right group (regime?) comes in and slowly negates all of the social progress we have made in the past 30 years?

Maybe we are in trouble.


L.A. is still quietly doing it’s own thing

4 Mar

Scale it Back

3 Mar

Can’t stop thinking about the Ukraine.