Dogmeat, Nazi Hillbillies from Paraguay, and The End of Time: The Vice Guide to Travel Makes Rick Steves Look Like a Big Pussy
Provocative intern Justin Juul weighs in with a seethingly envious assessment of the latest creation belched forth from the land of Vice:
I wish I had more hands -- and the ability to lie through my teeth -- so I could give this travel DVD from Vice magazine four thumbs down. These jerk-offs are just too much, man. First they took a crappy Canadian ‘zine and turned it into a pop-culture phenomenon, and then, instead of selling out to the highest bidder, they reinvested their money into other creative outlets. They now have a monopoly on “cool,” with a record label, clothing line, and flawlessly designed website constantly reminding the rest of us how uncool we are in comparison. As if all this weren’t enough, the founders of the Vice empire have recently decided to change their image completely. Their publication, once easily ridiculed as a tragically hip fashion catalog masquerading as a subversive youth culture magazine, has suddenly morphed into a monthly ethnographic study of obscure subcultures with art, music, and fashion coverage thrown in as an afterthought. Those Vice fuckers are always one step ahead of the rest of us -- and for that they suck -- but put your jealousy aside and check out their newest venture.
An interactive, multimedia extension of the magazine’s recent image, The Vice Guide to Travel is a collection of short video essays made by Vice staffers and random art types like reformed thief David Choe and Derrick Beckles from the TV Carnage videos. From Shane Smith’s inebriated journey through the radioactive forests of Chernobyl to Suroosh Alvi's trip to a top secret gun market in Pakistan, The Vice Guide to Travel is a serious attempt to remake the tired face of travel journalism by ignoring the established confines -- dry narration, a pretense of cultural relativism, political correctness, etc -- that have kept the genre boring for so many years. The chicks and dudes at Vice approach their travel segments with open minds, unapologetic cultural misconceptions, and an appetite for adventure. The result feels like a bunch of drunk and jaded, upper middle class hipsters -- aka you and your friends -- sharing their tales of debauchery, only instead of Dutch hookers and pub crawls, they’re talking about Nazis, bombs, and Uzi-wielding Boy Scouts.
Although the creators of Vice magazine may very well be a bunch of annoying elitist Canucks who clown on absolutely everything, bad travel journalists they are not. The Vice Guide to Travel is better than most of the docs they show in my cultural anthropology courses back at UC Santa Cruz. Go buy it now.
If this review doesn’t make you want a copy of The Vice Guide to Travel, consider the following highlights and facts.
1. David Cross eats a dog.
2. A redneck from Alabama claims he is Bin Laden’s son.
3. How to buy a nuclear warhead.
4. Spike Jones, Johnny Knoxville, Dr. Josef Mengele (playing soccer with a pistola)
5. I am an intern; nobody is paying me for this shit.