Thursday, 14 June 2007

My battle against VICE Magazine....

Okay, so anyone reading this who knows me well enough to hear me speak about hair-brained schemes, (that's right, Hair-Brained Schemes) will know that for months and months now my partner and I have been planning a magazine. Now planning is a loose term. It means something more like occasionally telling people about it and being pleased when they say, "Wow, that sounds cool." (Which is exactly what I expect you to say to yourself at your computer screen. Right..... Now! Or wait, no more like after you read the idea. Sorry, it's been a while since I've posted. I'm a little overly excitable.)

So here's the magazine that we will eventually publish- as part of our Advice Booth project, and our general London lives. It will be called NICE magazine- for all of the happening people out there who feel like VICE is a thing of the past. For all of those glass half full kind of optimistic smile-at-people-on-the-street-without-seeming-creepy people who still enjoy a good vintage dress or buying an ironic record on Vinyl. Yes, that's right, you don't have to be a jerk to be hip anymore. In fact... Jerks are no longer cool. Truly, it's a revolutionary concept. And if it takes off expect to see too-cool-for-school types all in black dressed on every street corner straining to give you a smile while they point out their new frameless oversized glasses. They may even stop to pet your dog- or start baking brownies. It will be absolute nice mayhem. Like a carnival that is far more ironic and far more contrived. but hey- if it means free brownies, then all the power to them. Some hip people can bake too.

The Magazine would have such features as "Nice people and their dogs." Or "Scrapbooking for friends and family." And would come with a free mix cd! (or tape. I suppose tapes are hipper.) And we will chronicle such popular activities as Kitten Wars! Or reveal the truth with a celebrity gossip, merely recounting instances where we've heard good things. "Joanna Newsom helps old lady." "Daniel Kitson smiles at passerby." "Nicholas Cage-" Actually, scratch that. We probably won't write anything about the Cage. Unless he gets a really cute dog. Or becomes a cat and appears on kitten wars.

What I'm saying here is that NICE Magazine is going to explain the way of the future- which I would like to say is bright, although Orange Adverts seem to have copywrighted that sentiment. But mobile phone companies aside, we will be a magazine for nerds, geeks, and people with big smiles. It just seems like such a lovely idea... and in London, being nice is subversive.

But I'm still not onto the real nitty gritty of this post... Apologies, as I said before, it's been a long time, I'm excitable! The nitty gritty is that in preparation for this NICE issue, a letter that I wrote was actually published in our nemesis- VICE. As with most nemeses, VICE and I haven't always disliked each other. This is a spurned love. I was once, being Canadian (like the Montreal-born creators) hugely proud of the magazine. It is usually full of interesting Canadian imagery, it is Free AND Glossy, (who'd of thunk it?) and sometimes very funny and sometimes cutting edge. However, VICE and I lost touch. And it seems that while I was off doing whatever the heck I was doing, they went on a reality tv Staff Swapping show where they were paired up with NUTS magazine. I haven't read NUTS lately, though I suspect it's showing cutting edge photospreads, but VICE has just gone down the tubes.

(I am speculating about that stuff about the reality tv show. But the fact that we could, for a second, feasibly think it is true, I mean- that says something, doesn't it? Either you're gullible, or I'm right, or both.)

VICE recently stopped doing their Themed Issues. Most likely because their Iraq issue turned out to be so controversial. Though I read that issue, and I found it informative and well researched- I really applauded their trying to reach such their apolitical readership with some hard hitting facts. But perhaps the backlash preaching to the existential choir incurred was not as simple as a three part Nirvana harmony. I am guessing the magazine felt as though reality was a little too risky- and their next issue was called "the Fetish Issue."

Now for those of you lucky enough never to have read the Fetish Issue, I will describe it- The "Fashion" shoot was a woman practically naked in a Tokyo motel room tied up in duct tape. The "Cyber Sex" story was all pictures of men asking women to undress for them, and they complied. There were no fetishizations of the male format- that's right, not a one. Alienating both their gay and heterosexual female readership. I knew something was wrong when I was turning the pages and wondering, "What differentiates this from a hustler magazine? Really?" So of course, being at work, I decided to write them a letter of complaint. I didn't expect it to get published- I just really thought they should know that I found their latest issue extremely offensive and ... uh... stupid. But Amazingly enough, they did go ahead and publish it, and giving a response that was cowardly and absurd in equal parts.

Here is the link:

The letter is the third one down, under "Fetish."

So after reading this ridiculous response, part of me was so disappointed I just felt like not saying anything. But that very night, after a few drinks, at 3 in the morning, a female friend of mine insisted we compose the following and send it along:

Dear Friend,

Did you seriously just try to win an argument by calling me a lesbian? Seriously? Cos BTW I'm not fourteen years old and you're not a quarter back. When you're through with stuffing Nerdlinger in his locker and slapping each others' oiled tanned bottoms with towels in the shower room why not call me for a wee chat. Susan Faludi, Andrea Dworkin, Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, Gertrude Stein and I are all busy kissing and complimenting each other's intellects. But I'm sure we could take a time out to explain the erotic possibilities of the male bottom to your FHM-callibrated minds. Kisses!

double Dxx

Now blog-readers (four friends) I am tempted to post this on the comments wall of their webpage. I have, of course, already sent it to the letters section. I am certain that they won't publish my comeback, so perhaps the comment page is the best place for it. But I do encourage all of you to read their response, and don't hold back on telling them what's what. Seriously- it's time for everyone who isn't an immature heterosexual male to take back the VICE. Or eff it, just forget about them altogether and read our magazine. Of course it doesn't exist yet- but the possibilities are endless....

Lots of lurve,


PS: I just tried to download the cover to their Fetish issue, and they've renamed it the Noxious Fumes Issue and totally changed the cover- as though it never happened. Way to back track yet not apologizeor take responsibility... People like this should not be allowed to run anything. Magazine or otherwise.


Andrew Field said...

Basically you just ripped off an idea I had YEARS ago before I had even heard of vice magazine or been born to create a magazine called DICE magazine in which Naked women would play Yahtzee together. later I had a similar idea for a magazine called rice magazine in which naked women would be sent to China for 7 months to uncover the brutal realities of the global rice industry.

Deborah said...

I think you left our "Twice" Magazine, "Thrice" Magazine, "Lice" magazine and "Heist" Magazine, while you were rhymin mr. Dylan.

mstacey42 said...

I wish Vice had written this:

Dear Madame,

Vice Magazine is frankly quite a bit puzzled by your remarks re: The Fetish Issue. Vice is particularly confused by your apparent request that we ought to have published something about female fetishes. In the interest of clarification, we would invite you to think back to your, perhaps long distant but no doubt existent, memories of Sigmund Freud's 1927 essay, "Fetischismus." Surely you recall that the creation and the persistance of the fetish are the result of a uniquely male castration anxiety. Recalling this, you now hopefully understand our confusion at being attacked for our failure to portray something that does not exist within the pages of our magazine.

There was some question at Vice as to whether perhaps you had interpreted our issue as being about Marxian "commodity fetishism," rather than the sexual variety--an odd conjecture given the prominence awarded to leather face-masks in the article. If this is the case, and you are interested in seeing more female fetishism of the economic variety, Vice recommends an excursion outside the pages of our publication to the nearest shopping mall. It was also suggested, however, that given the tone and style of your letter, you were probably a woman in need of no such encouragement.

We hope this clears things up.

Vice Magazine

andrew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
andrew said...

hows your battle going? winning yet?