If anyone reading has access to Angel Capital or is an Angel investor themself, I have a proposition. I’m thinking of starting an Online mag, that can also publish and disseminate hard copy editions, that will rival and overtake Vice, which we all know has sold out, and by some accounts may have been an intelligence rag and psyop all along. They sure seem to gain unprecedented special access. How do they do that without the aid of certain special “insiders?”
Vice was once a humble magazine about doing heroin and having sex (on heroin). Now, Vice is a global multimedia company, partly owned by Fox, valued at $1.4 billion. Vice is so successful that it no longer needs to exist.
On Friday, news broke that 21st Century Fox, which was recently spun off from News Corp, is sinking $70 million into Vice for a 5% stake in the company. That means the notional value of Vice as a whole is $1.4 billion. That means that Vice is worth about six times as much as the Washington Post, and just a wee bit less than the New York Times. If there was any doubt left, the counterculture has now become the establishment. There is now only one degree of separation between Rupert Murdoch and “The Meth-Fueled, Weeklong Orgies Ravaging London’s Gay-Sex Party Scene.”
Vice does a lot of great things. It makes a point of covering the dirty corners of the world. It does stories in war zones, and poverty-stricken slums, and authoritarian hellholes. Sure, some of those stories are little more than wide-eyed disaster tourism and painfully oblivious smirks at situations that deserve sobriety. But as a media entity, Vice produces a great deal of content on issues, places, and situations that tend to be neglected by what is colloquially called the “mainstream” media. And that is worthwhile in aggregate, even if it is sometimes exasperating in its particulars.
Honesty demands that Vice’s accomplishments be acknowledged. It also demands that we call Vice what it really is: an ever-expanding machine for selling counterculture cool to the world’s largest and most mainstream corporations. All media companies including ours are in the business of selling their audience’s attention, of course, but Vice stands out for its twin passions of wrapping itself in antiestablishment symbols and simultaneously hustling harder than anyone to become part of the establishment. More than most media companies, Vice is a trick pulled on its own audience: lured by the promise of not giving a fuck, cool kids are assembled into a space where their desirable not-give-a-fuckness can be sold to corporate sponsors for hefty fees, which go into the pockets of Vice’s owners.
Everyone else in the media is very jealous of Vice’s skill at pulling this trick. Just about every other upstart media company would love to be able to do it as well. And most of them would happily accept that Fox money and huge valuation. Vice, institutionally, is not any less scrupulous than anyone else in this business. Nor any more scrupulous. And that is the point. The cool kids, the angry kids, and everyone who feels the need to rage against the machine should simply be aware that all of their rage and anger and anomie is being happily packaged and sold. The revolution won’t be televised on HBO, nor funded by Rupert Murdoch. The revolution is the next generation of upstarts that begin with nothing and gradually rise up to eat Vice, and Gawker, and which are eventually eaten themselves by the next generation. None of us should get too comfortable.
In the meantime, congratulations to Vice on its billionaire status.
And just what were Vice‘s murky, mythological origins? It’s funny you should ask. This article explores how it all came about. Just another American success story — and how appropriate it precedes my Coming To America series.
Founded in Montreal, Canada, in 1994, the magazine started as a government-funded project, as part of a community-building welfare programme. Then known as the Voice of Montreal, it was originally run by three friends – Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi and Gavin McInnes – and became the Voice before Vice was finally born. Now with its headquarters in New York and more than 900,000 readers across 22 countries, Vice is building an empire – complete with its own web-based television channel, fashion range, online store and record label.
And, it turns out Vice‘s founders are liars, too. But, of course, if you’ve been following along, we all are to some degree — certainly some more than others. It looks like Shane Smith’s pretty darn good at this game resulting in a current net worth of $400 million, keeping in mind of course that net worth is a misleading wealth indicator. Smith’s liquid cash-out today is probably valued more in the single digit millions, the rest is just papered perception, but hey, it sounds impressive. Still, single digit millions is nothing to sneeze at, is it — especially from a former English teacher/poet/foreign war correspondent for Reuters or anything you care to, or Shane Smith cares to, make up to put on Smith’s resume?
And sources close to Smith, including former employees and friends, tell The Daily Caller that his career has long been paved with pure untruths.
In May 2007, Smith told Patrick Sisson in a Playboy interview that he was a wartime reporter for Reuters in Bosnia.
“You wrote for Reuters in Bosnia in the 1990s,” Sisson began in the Playboy interview. “Did that experience affect how you viewed the world and the way you look at Vice?”
“Definitely,” Smith replied. “I went down to Serbia and Croatia during the war. I covered the ethnic cleansing and did a big thing on [former Yugoslavian dictator Josip Broz] Tito,” he said.
The Financial Times also credited Smith with doing some work for the Budapest Sun, in addition to Reuters.
“[Smith] moved to Hungary, freelancing for the Budapest Sun and Reuters, and carved a lucrative, yet precarious, sideline as a currency hedger,” wrote Matthew Garrahan in December 2012.
But representatives for both the Budapest Sun and Reuters told TheDC that neither company has a record of Smith ever working for them, let alone a massive story on Tito under his byline, which he would have had to write in his early twenties.
Additionally, a records search of Google, Lexis Nexis and Factiva provided no documented journalism from Smith until well past 2004.
Alex Detrick, VICE’s communications director, repeatedly confirmed that Smith had worked at Reuters and the Budapest Sun in a series of text messages, emails, and a phone call with TheDC. Detrick did not reply when asked directly why it was that Reuters and the Budapest Sun have no record of Smith’s relationship with either organization.
More at link
Alright, you get the point. Vice and Catcher In The Lie share some similarities but we’re also distinct in many ways and I want to keep it that way as this endeavor takes off and burgeons. Unhampered, unfettered satirical muckraking is the goal, and if a following were to develop, or better yet, a readership, it shouldn’t be cultivated or engendered, but rather a natural, organic byproduct of hard-hitting investigative journalism that explores the cracks and crevices mainstream and alternative media overlook and even avoid at all costs.
Pursuant to that, let’s get this thing rolling. I think I’ve provided a firm basis and jumping off point for the direction and vibe with this initial blog and its Pulitzer Prize worthy series of posts, but it’s time to take it to the next level, and if you’re in a financial position to do so, you can help. Also, if you are an aspiring writer or just a writer in general, guest posts are welcome and perhaps we can form a Committee of Correspondence to develop this theme and platform.
If you’re interested, I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If not, I don’t give a shit anyway, so stuff it and go look for yet another tech company to invest your ill-gotten gains in you stingy prick(s). May you die on your yacht after a heroin overdose fed to you by a high-priced call girl from Atlanta. Make sure you click the link, it’s worth it. I have to laugh at all the glowing reports from his friends and acquaintances despite the fact the scum was leading a double life. Still, his wife and children won’t harbor a grudge since they’re left with a pot of gold. Money does that — it buys you immunity from moral condemnation. Without it, you’re going straight to hell.