What Does Terrorism Mean in 2013? An Interview with Glenn Greenwald
VICE: What do you think about the media reaction to the Woolwich murder?
Glen Greenwald: Media outlets reacted pretty uniformly to the attack. They reacted the way that media outlets typically do to these kinds of incidents, which is by simply stating that it was a terrorist attack and channeling outrage about the unprecedented, barbaric act that everyone saw take place.
Do you think it was a “terrorist” attack?
What the word terrorism typically means in reality, functionally, when it’s most commonly used by our media, is that the perpetrators are Muslim, and that they are driven by either religious or political motivations. I think that when it became clear that the perpetrators were Muslim (they said “Allah Akbar” during the attack), then media outlets instantly said that this was an act of terror, and politicians sort of did at the same time. The premise here is that if the violence is perpetrated by Muslims against the West, for a political cause, then by definition it’s terrorism, but not the other way around. It’s very typical to call this a terrorist attack without including all sorts of acts of violence that the US and UK has routinely engaged in over the last decade.
We Spoke to a Former Crack Addict About Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
As everyone in Toronto (and now the planet) knows, Mayor Rob Ford has been accused of smoking crack cocaine. There’s apparently video evidence of him getting high while talking shit about Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau and immigrants. But the world still hasn’t seen that video and Rob has not officially addresed the issue. And while Gawker’s crowd-funded Indiegogo campaign to raise money to buy the iPhone footage from the drug dealers who took it is closing in on its $200,000 goal, they can’t even find the aforementioned drug dealers. On top of all that, Mark Towhey, Robbie’s former chief of staff, was fired for telling him to “get help.”
With all of this insane bullshit clouding Toronto’s municipal politics, we decided to talk to someone who knows firsthand what crack addiction and crack smoking looks like: a former crack addict named Rick. Here’s what he thinks of the allegations against poor ol’ Robbie.
VICE: Like everyone else, you’ve heard the story of Rob Ford’s crack video by now. Do you think the mayor could be a crack smoker?
Rick: If you’re asking my opinion, I suppose it’s possible that he might have tried it, but there is no way he is crack addict. I will go out on a limb and say it is impossible to be a crack addict and maintain any kind of lifestyle, let alone be a mayor. I doubt he’s even a drug addict at all.
Can people smoke crack casually?
No. I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of a casual crack smoker. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I’ve never heard of it.
Facebook and Censorship’s Slippery Slope
The First Amendment is great, huh? It gives people the right to (mostly) say whatever they like, because the lawyers and landholders who wrote the Constitution recognized that democracy requires people to debate and share opinions without worrying about reprisals or censorship from the government. The cost of this is that you have to allow people to hold racist protests and draw pictures of animals with human sex parts and so on, but allowing people to hold and share beliefs that most people find abhorrent or stupid is how we know we are free. Ayn Rand once said, by way of defending pornography, “Every infringement of human rights has begun with a suppression of a given right’s least attractive practitioners.” We should be free to write and say whatever we want, even if we’re pornographers, racists, or fans of Ayn Rand’s books.
We don’t have those same rights on Facebook, however.
Facebook isn’t just a cool place for you to hang out and chat with your buddies and share hot new content you found surfing the World Wide Web. It’s a platform owned by a massive corporation that makes money off of advertising and can do pretty much whatever it likes with the stuff you post on it. Which isn’t to say Facebook is evil, exactly, but it’s not your friend, and it’s not under any legal obligation to protect speech or use its site to say whatever you like. Zuckerberg and company get to decide what is and is not permissible on their property, and since they own the internet’s second-most-popular site, that gives them a lot of power.
In practice, Facebook uses this power to make itself as advertiser-friendly as possible. This means they suspend users for posting NSFW content and remove photos of “offensive” body parts like dicks and female nipples. They’ve also taken down aggressively racist content and videos of extreme violence. The arguments for banning these kinds of content are simple—Facebook is used by children and millions of users who are offended by that nasty stuff, and the website is supposed to be a place that “helps you connect and share with the people in your life,” not a free-for-all where hate groups can organize and broadcast their poison.
Honestly, @Seinfeld2000 Intarviewed Ezra Konig From Vampire Wekend
Editor’s Note: Our newest writer @Seinfeld2000 emailed us saying he’d interviewed Ezra from Vampire Weekend. We called bullshit, so he provided us with a snippet of their interview in which Ezra says that @Seinfeld2000 “revolutionized the way I thought about music” in order to prove the interview was legit. You can hear it below.
What if vampire’s were modarn today? That questien is at the hart of Vampire Wekend new albem Modarn Vampire’s And The City
Actualy, that remind’s me of another questien that is probebly a little more relevent to sociaty, no ofense to Vampire wekend: what if Sienfeld was still on tv today? That is the hypethesis of my hugely populer twiter parady acount @Seinfeld2000.
Guess who is a fan of @Seinfeld2000. Ezra konig from vampire wekend. Dont beleve me? No problem, just check out exibit A, this iPhone 4S screne grab of the twiter notificatien via my gmaile:
Anyway yada yada yada I reached out to Ezra konig and ask him if he would let me intarview him for VICE Noisey and literaly he was just was like “Id be happy to because i think your twiter is one of the greatest out there.” So I dont think its exagerate when i say that ezra konig and i are prety much best friend’s.
George came into my life five years ago, during a trip to Coney Island shortly after I had moved to New York. I was 18, painfully awkward, and having trouble making friends—especially with people my own age. He approached me on the boardwalk and asked me to help bury him in the sand.
Living on a disability pension, George is ill and has a huge scar on the side of his body from surgery. He is in constant pain, but for whatever reason, the pressure of being buried in the sand or walked on gives him temporary relief. After I dug him out of the sand, I followed him back to his apartment, and we’ve hung out together ever since: taking pictures, getting wheatgrass shots, going to the park, stuff like that.
Obviously, George has a lot of problems to overcome on a daily basis, but he is also capable of an incredible lightness. Like many other friends I met during this transient period in my life, I haven’t seen him in a while, but every so often, mostly on holidays, he’ll call just to say hi.
More Photos of George
Spanish Bombs: Granada just named a plaza after the Clash’s Joe Strummer
p.s. awesome “SEX” graffiti in the background
Please Start Banning Books Again
It’s been a while since anything besides people and their weapons seemed dangerous in America. There’s a lot of attention—and a great deal of money—spent on determining where the next physical threat is, and how that threat is going to kill us, but when it comes to protecting our minds from dirty things our stance is about as liberal as it gets. Profanity, outside of mildly offending someone’s taste, seems nearly impossible. Compared to places where you can be killed for speaking out or using sacrilegious images, this freedom is a good thing, right?
I’m not so sure.
I kind of miss the idea of cultural lines that one can’t step over. One of my most memorable high school experiences was getting a permission slip signed by my parents so I could listen to an audiotape of Allen Ginsberg reading “America.” Our teacher warned us it included vulgar language and homosexuality and drugs. Something about having to break a permissive barrier to gain access to that material grabbed my teenage attention more than any of the other stuff we were made to read that year—much of which I’ve long forgotten even the most basic elements of.
But “America” stands out in my mind. And not even because I think it’s a particularly great poem, but because in some way I felt being allowed to hear it was a privilege. Before then, my reading had been waning. I was a voracious book-face child until somewhere during middle or high school, when I became terribly bored with what I was assigned. But even my 16-year-old brain could tell there was something much more volatile under the surface of “America.” From there I set off on my own, first to Burroughs and Henry Miller, and eventually to Joyce, McCarthy, etc. It took a sort of brain bomb to get me going, but once I’d started I couldn’t stop.
Looking over a list of the banned and challenged books in US history, it’s impossible to argue that some of our most important works weren’t at one point considered wrong:
Moby Dick - Banned from English classes in Texas in 1851 because it “conflicted with community values.” Plus, think of how many kids in school must be making dick jokes every time it’s taught.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Called “trash and suitable only for the slums.” Not to mention depicted race in a way that many people today wish they could forget.
In February, legendary rapper turned con man Tim Dog died. Now there’s a warrant out for his arrest, and several people close to him think he’s still alive. After some digging, we think so too.