My Obseshes - by Kate Carraway
OK you guys this is going to be a tough read because I did it while I was bent over at the waist—or like between being bent over, but not for long because sitting up is real, real hard—because I ate some chocolate really quickly before a meeting (it’s like having lunch AND a coffee!), and it’s just all been very heave-ish and whatever adult moves I like to think I’ve made lately have shrunk in the face of midday self-imposed chocolate poisoning.
SAINT LAURENT PARIS LOGO
Is there anything more erotic than the original Yves Saint Laurent logo? The tilted “Y” and “L,” the all-caps, the threatening haunted-house-y-ness of the font, the getting-skins touchy-touch of the letters, all up on each other. And then, and then! The secondary logo where the “Y” “S” and “L” are threesomeing around like gross snakes? Just, magnifico.
So what do we think of the new logo? I feel no less rhapsodic about SAINT LAURENT PARIS, black-on-white, all-caps-y and brilliantly spaced, a held breath instead of sexual deliverance, but without the “Y” does it achieve that same level of immediate textual gratification? I dunno. I do like how un-t-shirt-able it is, that’s for sure.
I don’t know if this is directly Cat Marnell-related or indirectly Cat Marnell-related (in no world is it unrelated to Cat Marnell), but I read some random shits this week about the potential and relative value of writing from inside an experience, rather than, I guess, from around it or past it. And every person on my Twitter feed was very “What’s yr deal, Elizabeth Wurtzel?” even though she had just explained her deal, in detail! And then sometimes also parsing, in quick bits, the ego and intentions of Lena Dunham, there less “What’s yr deal” and more “Let me tell you about yr deal” which is the diff between 26 or whatever and 40 or whatever.
I like this in a HAHAHAHAHAHA kind of way because what it presumes, that anyone with some distance from the particular horrors or whatever is being publicly metabolized by these women (I don’t do it, but I know it’s hard) is somehow and necessarily in a better position to reflect on the meaning of transgression (than the currently transgressing! HOW?!), is both incorrect (which is no big deal) and ungenerous and self-important (bigger deals).
Coming from a place, in memoir or whatever else, of I-don’t-know!-ness, of vulnerability and conflict and nuance, is so much more interesting and important and legitimate, and should be important to people who front as arbiters of authenticity. Right?! Like, Not Knowing. I Don’t Know. “How could I know?” You can’t. I like that line, or I guess “those lines” in that W.S. Merwin poem like “I asked how can you ever be sure / that what you write is really / any good at all and he said you can’t / you can’t you can never be sure / you die without knowing / whether anything you wrote was any good / if you have to be sure don’t write” and the truly mean and judgey mania demonstrated by people who have to be sure, not just about the writing itself but by the experience, what it was and what it should have been – if you have to be sure! – is TOO WEIRD for me to even synthesize, is TOO MEAN to agree to. See?
Watch the Premiere of Our DOs & DON’Ts Show!
DOs & DON’Ts - Venice Beach
Cultural assassins Fat Jew and Cat Marnell commandeer a surveillance van to make fun of the best dressed and hottest messes on the streets of Venice Beach. No one is safe. Watch it here!
Cat Marnell’s Amphetamine Logic: Goodbye to All That (the End for Now)
Amphetamine Logic was kind of making me psychotic.
I sat down for lunch with my agent at an overpriced bistro on Park Avenue South.
"So Cat," Byrd Leavell, literary agent extraordinaire, said. "What’s new?"
"Well," I said, surreptitiously picking a peroxide scab off my head. "I guess I’ve finally burned out like everyone wants me to." I was eating on a steak and trying not to gag while I chewed.
"Hmm," said my agent. "Well, what are we going to do—"
"I don’t know, man," I gulped, and my hands started shaking. "Let me just try to explain the situation. I have no money and everyday eat empanadas from the corner that I pay for in laundry quarters. My apartment looks like a fucking personality disorder. You can barely open the door—"
"Uh huh," said Byrd.
"—I mean there are perfume bottle shards in my feet and there’s blood and oatmeal on the floor—"
"Cat," Byrd said. "You can’t live like this anymore."
But couldn’t I? On the way home I thought about all of the things instead of writing that I’d been doing.
I was Rolling Stone's ”Hot Bukowski.” I was the toast of the town. I was puking flowers afterhours; I was letting everybody down. I read a Tatler article: "London’s Seven Loveliest Lesbians." I mocked a skeleton dressed as Kenny Scharf at Gold Bar. There was ethanol, Adderall, night rainbows, Nalaxone. I sat around stoned in Soho House while the concierge charged my iPhone. I stuffed Artforum in my oven and stacked Richardson on the stove. I saw Pointbreak at MOMA; I saw 3 PM Hunger Games in LA at the Grove: “(PG-13) for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images—all involving teens.” I bleached everything I owned and my knuckles burned and scabbed from the bleach.
I snorted dope in DUMBO and I smoked dust on the beach. I preyed on editors during the day and slept with monsters at night. Life’s never dowdy in an Audi scoring pudé up in Washington Heights, is it babes? I drank Diet Coke and had coke sex and sat in Yorkville townhouse basements playing Mario Kart on a grimy old Super Nintendo. We smoked crack until our fingers turned black and watched Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. I chilled with famous downtown stupor freaks tweaking and listening to Diplo.
“WHY IS EVERYBODY DRESSED LIKE MR. PEANUT?!" I screamed once at Le Baron. I had about 40 pounds of fake hair on.
"Shhh," Same said. "You are dusted." And though I was confused of course I trusted him.
The Boom Boom Room was always full of doom. Our PCP smelled like burnt balloons. I was dressed Boricua heroin chic. Shaun was asking me if I saw Wu Tang at Milk Studios that one weird Fashion Week.
"Cat." Shaun said.
"Oh Jesus God, does it fucking matter?” I screamed. “Is this a ‘Big Picture’ problem?” The bathroom line disasters are as disastrous as disasters can be. “Shaun, the little coke girls are STARING AT ME.”
“They are staring at us because we know them,” Shaun said. “You’ve had them over to your house to do drugs at least four times. Invite them over. They’re the little LES… dominatrixes. They have tons of tons of drugs and money and they’re nice.”
"OK," I said, and I walked over and did.
“Amphetamine Logic is coming to an end. I am better and I will continue to get better, and it doesn’t matter to me that you don’t want to believe this, or don’t understand what it means.
I’m almost done with writing about drugs. This was supposed to be the last installment, but we have a column or two more to go: I have to make you understand why I had to tell you all this. I haven’t finished explaining how it used to be.”
-Read: Cat Marnell’s Amphetamine Logic - The End, Part 1
Amphetamine Logic: The Cockroach and the Cokehead
May 2012: I quit my job and burn all my bridges so I can swim.
I won’t realize that was wishful thinking until a few months later.
Summer starts gliding by like a sailboat. I master the Dead Man’s Float. I’m not working and life is a lazy river; I’m a pinecone that’s been dropped off an adult-world bridge by some Christopher Robin-type child, drifting around downtown, downstream. Away from Jane Pratt and all that.
A month or two passes, and I am getting accolades and new jobs and money even though I am barely getting out of bed.
"Um, hold on," I say when the New York Times calls to fact-check an interview I gave three months ago. My hair’s in a French twist and I’m wearing a vintage full-length beaded gown and full prostitute makeup and a goofy fox fur. I’ve been smoking weed and watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians and sipping orange Nyquil with a straw and looking at myself in the mirror for eight hours. “I need to turn down the TV.”
A two-page essay about me runs that weekend.
"In the fucking magazine!" I text my sister.
"Are you OK?" she texts back, even though she hasn’t seen the story yet.
Reza Nader (The Arab Parrot)
Everything’s working out. My dust dealer Doria gets out of jail and delivers right to my doorstep like the Easter Bunny in her SUV. My favorite rock star’s blonde daughter comes over high on ecstasy and fucks my friend on my rooftop 15 feet away from where we’re in a circle of deck chairs smoking dust and politely trying not to see a thing. I hear a single firework launch and hiss just above my building. It bursts bright orange and glittery over Avenue C and Rock Star Daughter and I both scream. I’m braless in a mesh white tank top by Dior Homme and wearing Kiehl’s Musk Oil and there’s stuff written in marker all over my arms. My friends are arguing about a cat that possibly looks like an owl. A guy keeps texting me telling me he’s in love with me, which is nice to know even though I don’t and will never care.
And the media requests keep coming. I am not so dumb that I think these writers want to write nice things about me, but I am secretly very confused about what people—their editors, their audience—want.
So I try to play it safe. I decide I absolutely can’t be on stimulants or anything for my Wall Street Journalinterview, but it winds up not even mattering. I go to the wrong Café Gitane and finally get there 45 minutes late. I guzzle iced coffee and announce that I have very low self-esteem.
"I hate myself!" I say to the reporter.
"You need a publicist," says my friend the publicist when I tell her this.
"I have to get the fuck out of this mess," I say.
Cat Marnell’s Amphetamine Logic: Graffiti, Crackheads, More Cocaine, and Miami (Bitch)
I’m sleeping alone in the backseat of a parked rental car at 5 AM in a terrible neighborhood in Miami when the door opposite me clicks open and a grizzly old black drunk man slides in next to me, shutting the car door behind him. His eyes and skin are the color of urine, and he smells equal parts like sour beer and sweet death.
“AH!” I cried out, half-snapping awake. “NO!”
“It’s ooooo-kay,” the strange old man mumbles, and I am about to scream again when all the car doors open at once, and Mint, Serf, and BC the Kid, a 17-year-old “graffiti intern,” hop in. And maybe Same.
I glare at BC the Kid as he smooshes the man into the middle of the backseat between us. We drive exactly two blocks through this ridiculous ghetto and screech to a halt in front of a liquor store.
Nobody says anything for about ten seconds.
“What the fuck is going on?” I practically scream. The bum and I are pressed up on each other.
Serf turns around in the passenger seat, suddenly very grave in the face.
“Marnell,” he half-whispers. “We need you to give us $2.”
“What?” I hiss. “What did you say? You need $2?”
“Yes,” Serf whispers. “Two. Dollars.”
“Why? For what?” I hiss again. “You know… I don’t care.” I rummage through my purse, hand Serf the money. “Here. Two dollars. Take it.”
BC and the man get out; Serf gets out; BC gets back in. I watch through the window as Serf talks to the man and gives him my two bucks. Then Serf gets back in the car.
Nobody says anything. They know me; they’re waiting for it.
“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?” I screech. “WHO THE FUCK WAS THAT? DO YOU KNOW HOW SCARED I WAS? WHY DID YOU LET HIM IN THE CAR FIRST? WERE THE DOORS EVER EVEN LOCKED WHILE YOU GUYS WERE OUT THERE BOMBING?! DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT?! I WOKE UP AND THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE!”
I take a second to breathe. CLANG CLANG CLANG go the spraypaint cans in the back of the car; the sound that has been giving me a headache the entire time I’ve been at Art Basel.
Cat Marnell’s Amphetamine Logic - Coke Sex for Teen Sluts
Sometimes when a dick is inside me I can’t help but think about my family. I know that sounds totally gross, but I don’t mean it in, like, an incestuous way. My dad never fucked me or anything; he’s never touched me sexually. If I had to diagnose myself, which I am constantly doing since my parents are shrinks, I’d say that they were pangs of guilt, you know, or I’m ashamed, for whatever nutty reason.
Like that time I had sex with that man in the bathroom at Flow on Varick—that guy who told me he was the guitarist for ______, and I guess I believed him, mostly because at the time the door at Flow on Sundays was really tight, with all of those NBA players jammed into the VIP section and whatnot, so I figured he’d have to be somebody important to be there.
In the meantime, honestly, I can’t name a single ______ song, but whatever. Anyway, when I was in that bathroom stall in the men’s room fucking the guy who said he was in ____ but probably wasn’t, and the attendant totally knew what was going on and was laughing with the other guys at the sinks, and I wasn’t using a condom because I’m rarely good like that—I thought about my dad. Like, What would he think if he knew this me?
It’s not like I don’t hate my dad; I do. I went to boarding school to get away from him, you know? I don’t know. I mean, I guess it doesn’t matter; it’s just some weird thing that I think about.
This is all back ten years ago, FYI—2002. So I am 19 years old. We’re going back in time but not; it’s a real-time memory.
Cat Marnell’s Amphetamine Logic - Dawn of the Dustheads
It’s 5 AM on a Thursday and Same and I are in my apartment in the East Village, high on PCP and surrounded. All of the men are nursing 40 oz. Ballantines and the girls they brought are strangers, looking around at my strange life and into my mirrored coffee tables as they reapply their makeup.
"Can we smoke in here?" They are always extra friendly, overcompensating for being here.
”What kind of cigarettes do you have?” I ask, but really it’s an order, and every girl goes into her purse for me.
"Do you have an extra Adderall?" asks a girl I’ve never met before.
"Not really," I reply.
Same is in the corner with his eyes rolling back into his head. He is holding but not smoking a lit Newport with an inch of ash hanging off the end.
"I have Adderall," he slurs in a language only I understand, and I pounce on him.
"I want the Adderall, Same," I whimper, panicking slightly.
I take his cigarette and ash it into my hand. “I need it. I don’t have health insurance anymore. I will, like, buy it. Do you want money?”
But Same never wants money, and he reaches into his pocket and gives me pills wrapped in a napkin.
I pop one in my mouth and bite down on it like it’s a Sweet Tart. One of the girlfriends stares as I crunch crunch and swallow.
"All of the sparkle is completely gone from my life," I announced to a rehab group a few months ago. Then I quit a job.
"Justify My Love" is playing over and over from my Bose computer speakers.
I don’t think you know what pain is, purrs Madonna.
Amphetamine Logic: Disappeared - Cat Marnell
A few days ago the text came. It was from a 202 number—D.C.
"Call Paul at 202XXXXXXX or your dad if you want to know what’s going on," it read.
When I read this I’m in the dark midday silence of my apartment downtown, lying on my bed, which is where I had been for about half a week. I was wearing dirty J brand jeans, a stained yellow tank top, and no makeup.
Disgust shot through me like an electric charge—the first thing to arouse me in days.
"If U have something to tell me tell me YOURSELF," I texted. "Paul? Why would I call your boyfriend who I don’t know? And you know I’m not calling DAD." This Fashion Week I turn 30.
Two hours later the sun set outside behind my blackout curtains, and I actually turned a lamp on instead of resigning myself to the dark once again. My lampshades are always draped with pillowcases and towels, so even inside it never gets bright-bright.
No Signal was bouncing around a blue screen on my television, like usual. I found my phone in my bed and texted again.
"I am sick of this if you have something to say to me just say it yourself, this is retarded," I tapped into the phone and pressed send.
Finally a message back: “I haven’t felt like talking.” It actually made me laugh a little.
For God’s sake, I thought. This stupid bitch.
”?????!!” I typed. Send. Who gave her my new number?
" ______ is missing in Idaho. He disappeared mountain biking two days ago."
"But I thought he was living in South Korea!!!" I typed, and never sent it, though that was what I thought.
My brain reeled to remember what a mountain bike was. Where Idaho was. What my little brother really looked like. When the last time I saw even him was.
DOs & DON’Ts Book Two Release and the End of the DOs & DON’Ts
Last night we threw a party to commemorate the end of the Dos & Dont’s column in VICE.
The Fat Jew and Cat Marnell wrote pithy judgemental notes on decals and attached them to our fans who were visibly shocked and astonished when guest speaker Genesis P-Orridge announced that the release of the Dos & Don’ts Book Two, out now on VICE Books was the final chapter of one of the most glorious, celebrated fashion critique columns in the history of publishing.
As Genesis broke the news, the atmosphere at the party turned from “Yeaaahhhhhhh!” to “Nooooooo!!!!”
Dos & Don’ts Book 2 editor Thomas Morton / party organizer was the man responsible for killing the column / breaking everybody’s hearts. Suroosh was like: “Wait, we still run the Dos & Don’ts?”
Editor-in-Chief Rocco Castoro (right) was like: “Fucking psyched this column is gone, it’s like one less email I have to worry about.” Jason Mojica (middle), who’s the head of going to dangerous places video content was like: “TBH I only used to look at the mag for the American Apparel ads.”
Fat Jew. Has to move back to his parents house as his only source of income has been cut off.
Jonathan Toubin was like: “WTF, I came back from the dead for this shit?” Susanne likes weird, awk things so she was really happy about it all and Gazin is like the same vibe, ie goth.
This is when Genesis announced that the DDs were over and Annette was like: “Wait? What?” Then her face totally changed and she was like “WTF X a million???”
Here’s Cat Marnell. Email donations to firstname.lastname@example.org
And everybody else is in the gallery above. Most of those photos were shot before the announcement was made, that’s why they’re still looking happy. Seriously it turned into a fucking bloodbath. Sorry everyone.
By Andy Capper (ex Dos & Don’ts writer)
Photos by Vito Fun
See the rest of the gallery