The VICE guide to politics

Dicks writing for dicks?

For a magazine that covers a lot of political stories it is interesting that Vice magazine does not have a ‘politics’ category on the header bar of its website. Vice covers a lot of political stories but it does not do politics. And it absolutely never takes political stories seriously.

In defence of Vice, it doesn’t take anything at all seriously. There are reasons that our culture has fled from ‘truths’ and there’s something to be said for the Vice point of view, for its ability to rip the piss out of everything and everyone. It is the extreme end of particular attitudes that have developed in our culture in reaction to the failed authorities of the past.

People can no longer take seriously anyone who claims a universal political truth. Part of me is glad about that. I could never take them seriously either.

Against Vice it has to be said that it is run by reactionary arseholes and is firmly embedded in neo-liberal ideology. A lot of the reason its readers don’t want to take anything seriously is they are globalised rich little brats who think hardship is the emotional toll of having to ask their parents to help pay their London or New York rent.

It is fine to not take political ideas seriously. It is not fine to treat people’s suffering as another part of the joke. Sometimes, like, stuff is real? I read a tweet recently by an @DanStayte:

Some say the sun goes round the earth, some say the earth goes round the sun. I say it’s something in between #liberal

This excellently describes the nonsensical ideological space in which Vice flourishes. But I didn’t particularly want to challenge Vice with this post – the editors couldn’t give a fuck what I think. Vice will probably die a slow and agonising death as the western economies wither. We will be sad, oh yes.

The point for the future is: when people do want to fight back, they won’t be the slightest bit interested in adopting political ideologies but that’s the solution most of the left tends to offer them. I’m not suggesting a Vice-like left – putting photos of men snorting coke off women’s breasts on leaflets and placards – but here’s something Vice does, albeit within the framework of neo-liberal capitalism: it provides a way of interacting with the world and with other people. It does present a truth of a sort, embedded within the dominant ideology.

The truth is, Vice does politics better than you do. It knows what ideology is there for – to run in the background informing what you do without ever being stated. If you do have an ideology, fine, and I don’t think you should hide it, but the point is not to persuade people of it but to help create ways for people to act in the world.

You should probably also take yourself a bit less seriously. If you don’t laugh at yourself, someone else will.

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4 Responses to The VICE guide to politics

  1. tim says:

    Some say the sun goes round the earth, some say the earth goes round the sun. I say it’s something in between – its the centre of mass of the sun earth system[0]; which happens in this case to be inside the sun. Due to relativity, it is also possible to construct the equations within a number of other inertial frames. So from the frame of someone standing still on the surface of the earth, the sun does indeed go around the earth (you can observe this phenomena by opening your eyes – assuming they work – don’t stare at the sun kids). In-fact, relativity demands that no single inertial frame is more “valid” that any other; this appears to be a fundamental property of the universe. #notaliberal #toolongfortwitter #yourdichotomyisn’tevenwrong #youknewallthisalready #wheredoestheironyend

    [0] actually, it is /much/ more complex than this, because all of the other bodies with mass exert a gravitational force on the earth and sun too and that affects the orbit measurably. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-body_problem

    • contact says:

      The earth approximately goes round the sun, as you well know. All the best physics works by approximations :p

  2. anon says:

    “People can no longer take seriously anyone who claims a political truth. Part of me is glad about that. I could never take them seriously either.”

    Really? Even personal political truths? That is sad. Surely there are some out there – I don’t want to live in a world of political relativism.

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