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Thread: mainstreaming of VICE // VICE mainstream

  1. #1
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    Default mainstreaming of VICE // VICE mainstream

    so, VICE has graduated from a YT channel to a show on HBO and in the last couple weeks there have been profiles in the NYT, the New Yorker and Time among others (sorry I don't have links b/c I read them all hard copy). if someone had told you 5 years ago that Vice was going to break into the most respectable bastions of mainstream U.S. journalism as a kind of semi-serious hipster alt news flagship you would have laughed, right? I have pretty mixed feelings about Vice news in general. the coverage is never in-depth and almost never strays (that I've seen) from a "woah dude check out how fucking crazy this shit is" tone, but they do cover TONS of stuff, and not just weird niche bullshit, that no big Western news organizations are covering, and seemingly w/o any ironic sneers, altho tons of cluelessness. the whole style is embodied, for anyone not familiar, in . don't have HBO but I'm kind of curious to see the show turns out. best case scenario would probably be injecting some journalistic depth while keeping the go anywhere/cover anything style

    dunno, what do other people think, if anything?

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    ive been wondering about this myself. its been something theyve been building up to for quite a few years (there was that docu on the NYT where they had a conference with NYT reporters and a guy from vice - worth seeking out if you can). seems weird to see it trying to go respectable. tbh the latest issue which is a harmony korine special is like old vice and i actually prefer it, as its just vice being more honest and doing what they do best - voyeuristic pieces on the strange and weird and freakish (for better/worse). i couldnt finish the piece in the previous issue on bangladeshi sweatshops before that as the tone was just, like you say, cluelesss and still occasionally stuck with the old vice tone of hip distance which pissed me off. its good that theyre trying to move beyond superficial patronising hipster shit, but im still a bit worried that this might be where a lot of people get their information. the thing i often find from looking at the descriptions for their docus/short videos is that yeah, theyre covering international subjects other organisations are too lazy or uninterested to cover, but much of what they seem to be covering is the stuff that has a degree of titillation/shock/disgust/condescension about it, even when theres some concern mixed in with that.
    Last edited by rubberdingyrapids; 15-04-2013 at 09:16 AM.

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    http://thump.vice.com/en_us

    and they've just launched a sub-site: "the world's newest authority on electronic everything". at least there's a decent faltyDL mix.

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    They are money-grabbing scum worse than the Daily Mail. I should know, I had the displeasure of working for them once, and that almost ended in court when they tried to turn my byline into a hit-piece against me and then duck out of our expenses agreement.

    Besides my personal gripes, what irks me the fact that alternative culture, as I know and love it, has always been about -- and should be about -- transcending judgemental attitudes. That's important for the people it's aimed at, the kids who are disaffected by their school, their society, etc. It gives them something to hold onto, a better path. Vice appropriates this alternative culture -- hardcore, punk, whatever -- and uses it to enforce a new kind of super-sneering judgemental attitude. As well as all the money-grubbing, Bush-voting crap, obviously.

    It worries me that they're being regarded as a news source of any kind, let a lone an authoritative or -- worse -- alternative news source. They're awful. Let's not give them any more time of day. OUT!

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    absolutely

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    Vice is shit and I don't find it surprising at all that they are being mainstreamed.

    They do occasionally do some good stuff though. This recent article on the night life where I live is spot on: http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/a-big...n-civilisation

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    Their piece about Deadmau5 and the American "EDM" scene exploding was pretty brilliant, too.
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    who in the world besides Vice can bring us a piece like this:

    http://www.vice.com/ground-zero/mali

    it is a problem, but reportage lacking context is surely not a problem they alone have.

    sorry you had a bad personal experience with whatever regional manager, bangpuss, but i've met some vice people including Shane, and they were all real people.

    big tobacco and alcohol have been trying to give them A LOT of money for many, many years, and they never gave in, continually telling these corporations to FUCK OFF --- because Vice wants to do things their way, and only their way. And now they are doing it their way on HBO. awesome.

    and don't know what you're going on about with vice being "judgemental"... metal heads are not "judgemental"? hiphop heads are not "judgemental"? is it not an intrinsic characteristic of subcultural groups to be "judgemental" and "elitist"? people on Dissensus don't sneer at people who listen to Diesel Boy or Skrillex?? GTFO.
    Last edited by zhao; 19-04-2013 at 09:39 AM.

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    I kinda like Vice, just think you have to take it with a large pinch of salt.
    One of the guys in my football team was working in marketing or sales or something for them a year or so ago and he was saying that it was becoming increasingly hard to get trendy brands to go for them because they were put off by things like the gross jar or whatever - and maybe their time had just gone. Might be no coincidence they go for mainstreaming now is what I'm saying.

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    big tobacco and alcohol have been trying to give them A LOT of money for many, many years, and they never gave in, continually telling these corporations to FUCK OFF
    doesnt mean all those stupid, borderline racist articles they used to print dont exist. i cant say i dont enjoy any part of vice, but thinking of it a kind of hipster daily mail makes some sense. im sure if i sat down with DM writers, i would think they were 'real people' (whatever that means) too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rubberdingyrapids View Post
    doesnt mean all those stupid, borderline racist articles they used to print dont exist. i cant say i dont enjoy any part of vice, but thinking of it a kind of hipster daily mail makes some sense. im sure if i sat down with DM writers, i would think they were 'real people' (whatever that means) too.
    the fact of Vice's continued and continuing refusal of big tobacco and big alcohol money was brought up to counter the accusation that they are " money-grabbing scum". In fact, not only that, they have refused mainstream TV offers many times in the last 10 years, until, presumably, the right one came along which allowed them total creative freedom -- from where i stand, that's called INTEGRITY. (even though a part of that integrity is used to defend things like "gross jar" lololol )

    which "borderline racist" stuff do you mean? i am very sensitive to overt, covert, structural, institutional, wholly normalized, and every other kind of racism in the media, and the times i have found Vice articles to be racist is pretty damn close to 0.

    nearly EVERY hollywood narrative is told from a structurally racist POV - I do not see that perspective in Vice.

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    so I thought about this a bit more. 1st, just tbc when I say "semi-serious hipster alt news flagship" I don't mean that's how I personally regard Vice, I'm referring to the way it's coming over/being presented in establishment media.

    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    reportage lacking context is surely not a problem they alone have
    absolutely true. the difference is, usually it's from shortcomings and not intentional. Vice makes it an ethos. the cluelessness is totally conscious and an integral part of their style. it's part of the lack of personal distance from the coverage that most journalists impose. tbf sometimes that (along w/$$$) grants access that serious journalists couldn't get but it also transforms coverage of issues into gawking at crazy shit.

    now much indy journalism, like conscious hip hop, is staid and painfully earnest. in a perfect world that wouldn't matter, but unfortunately it does. Vice has sex appeal. like a somewhat less stupid Kony 2012, it attracts 1st World 18-35s who otherwise wouldn't pay attention to news. at the same time it's covering things big traditional media outlets can't or won't (BBC being the exception), for whatever many reasons, cover. so far, so good.

    the thing is, journalism is not like art where inspired anti-professionalism can be good. I'm not demanding everyone get M.A.s from Columbia J-school but having standards is a good thing. accuracy, context, depth, are good things. I don't see why Vice can't hire real journalists - the kinds of freelancers (like the Canadian guy who guides around Liberia) and/or local journalists - to do actual work instead of JUST sending Shane or whoever somewhere to be like "hey! we are 1st world white hipsters in this Otherly crazy place! behold its crazy Otherness/dangerousness!". it's not like that would turn Vice into CNN.

    but ultimately if they want to be serious they'll take the steps to do so. if they don't they won't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bangpuss View Post
    alternative culture, as I know and love it
    you have rose-tinted glasses my friend. I'm not saying there aren't always people fighting the good fight, and that underground culture doesn't save kids all the time (or at least open new worlds to them), but as quick as something underground exists there's someone angling to make a buck off it, more sinisterly or less: Haight Independent Proprietors, ecstasy gangsters in the Summer of Love, (some) indie record label owners, Suicide Girls. Vice is hardly the worst of the lot, and least they've always been open about it.

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    With regard to booze/baccy sponsorship, isn't it possible that they would consider it harmful to their bad-ass 'alternative' image to suck the corporate cock, while at the same time having no compunction about ripping off their contributors?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    nearly EVERY hollywood narrative is told from a structurally racist POV - I do not see that perspective in Vice.
    on the one hand, I agree with you. VICE is like an insult comic who uses tons of racial/gay/etc slurs in an act but is firmly anti-racist/sexist/etc, and is at least in some way using those words to depower them Lenny Bruce style, tho I don't know that distinction is always clear to readers, or even writers. whereas most mainstream things are exactly the opposite where that structural shit is all firmly in place but at the same time there's a fake P.C. code firmly in place, i.e. where oppression is reduced to making a public apology to NAACP or GLAAD.

    this is the problem with Vice news tho: the first time I went to Mexico City it seemed like just this endless dystopian sprawl and I made a joke that the end of the world would begin w/a black hole opening up underneath it and swallowing it whole. one of the Mexican punks I was hanging out with was like "that's such a 1st world, gringo, bourgeois thing to say". and he was right. to see it as just an Other place. every single Vice documentary is like the mindset of that joke repeated endlessly. it is nice that they make zero pretense to journalistic "objectivity" but it will never not come off as clueless asshole hipsters go to wacky places.

    (also, ta fuck with that "real people" nonsense tho. come on, you're better than that)

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    in one sense Vice is in the fine Werner Herzog (Errol Morris too) tradition of making documentaries about weird shit. but that dude is always thinking about what he's doing, what he's saying. there's one great quote (in the doc about him eating his shoe I think - Les Blank RIP btw) where he says he's "working on creating a new grammar of images". now, we can't all be as deep or genuinely idiosyncratic as Werner Herzog. but in Vice there is absolutely nothing going beneath the surface. I mean, the guy cares enough to go to Mali or Pakistan or wherever and empathize with the people there but somehow doesn't care enough to do a competent job of showing their stories. this bothers me more than it should b/c it seems like such a missed opportunity.

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