America’s Worst Housing Project Is Being Gentrified
Have you ever simultaneously regretted that the poor had been pushed out of a neighborhood, but wished you could have gotten in when rents were still cheap? Have you ever admired the pluck and ingenuity of the first few nonpoor bastards to move into a poor area? I have.
The Los Angeles City Council just unanimously voted to tear down Jordan Downs, nearly the oldest housing project in America and probably the title holder for ugliest. Jordan Downs is comprised of 103 spookily identical buildings in the low-income, violence-ridden neighborhood of Watts. While notorious for its gangs, its racially tinged police brutality, and its intractable poverty, Watts is also noteworthy for its cultural vibrancy and the palpable neighborhood pride of its residents. I wrote that last sentence by the way, not the Watts Chamber of Commerce, but they can have it for free.
They’re not just tearing down Jordan Downs, they’re turning this Orwellian nightmare-scape into an “urban village,” including four story townhomes, condos, retail restaurants, and a farmer’s market. Residents have been hearing about this pie-in-the-sky renovation for years, or even decades, but about ten months ago, a developer was chosen, and the City Council’s decision on Wednesday, April 17 marked a big step forward. But optimism on the part of lifelong residents might not be the most practical emotion.
Apparently Women Love This 13-Year-Old Skateboarder Named Baby Scumbag
Steven Fernandez, aka Baby Scumbag, is just a normal 13-year-old skater from a bad neighborhood in LA. A normal 13-year-old skater who’s sponsored by a bunch of companies, has 38,000 subscribers onFacebook and 140,000 followers onInstagram, and gets photographed with guns and sexy (adult) women. He’s been skating since he was nine (here’s a video of him at 11), but unlike other absurdly talented kids likeRene Serrano and Evan Doherty, he’s developed a whole persona that revolves around trying to get girls and eating junk food (again: typical 13-year-old). It’s hard to tell how much of that is him putting on an act and how much of that is real, but either way, young Stephen knows more about what people on the internet like than all the “social media gurus” two and three times his age put together. I called him to ask what he wants to be when he grows up.
VICE: Hey, Steven how’s it going? I didn’t force you to miss school, right?
Baby Scumbag: Hey, VICE lady. Just chillin’. Just got home from school. Got out a little early.
You like school, or what?
Yeah, school is cool, but it’s kind of tough out here in poverty. You see a lot bad stuff around here, like gang-related stuff, drugs. I live in Compton, California. The border of South Central.
So, you’re super popular at school, right?
Nah, I’m just a normal kid going to school. An average teenager.
How did you get start getting sponsored?
Well it all started when I had posted a video of skateboarding, and people actually enjoyed watching the video. As I started making more videos, I started getting more sponsors as well.
What’s a typical day in the life of Baby Scumbag?
Hang out at school, homework, skateboarding, maybe even go film. And a little masturbation.
Is Facebook Getting Away with Selling Counterfeit Crap?
The ads on Facebook’s sidebar make it easier to buy clothes, handbags, and jewelry than ever before. Unfortunately, some say they also make it easier to sell knockoffs of name-brand products, even though Facebook officially bans ads for phony merchandise. In October, an NFL-apparel retailer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, brought a lawsuit against Facebook for what it says is the website’s duplicitous inaction when it comes to advertisements for counterfeit jerseys. That lawsuit, which is still being litigated, brought a smile to Eric Feinberg’s face. Eric isn’t directly involved in the case, but he’s the founder of Fans Against Kounterfeit Enterprise (FAKE), a nonprofit organization that aims to wipe out counterfeit jerseys. I called Eric to learn why he cares so much about knock-off sportswear.
VICE: How did you become an activist against counterfeit jerseys?
Eric Feinberg: I was handling social media for my PR clients, who were paying me to create word-of-mouth advertising via photo contests and comments through Facebook. I found that when I posted pictures of specific things, like NFL games, my photos were being tagged by sponsored ads for counterfeit jerseys, which would appear on everyone’s timeline. Facebook targets ads based on your preferences. So how could I, in good faith, handle a client’s social-media marketing when I know that my marketing would appear next to counterfeit ads? And when I would talk to these companies [who were selling legitimate merchandise] about these ads, they didn’t know what I was talking about.
Whatever happened to that long-rumored Facebook killer? Well, it’s complicated.
Seven People You Should Facebook Stalk Before It’s Too Late
Facebook stalking is something that you have obviously never done, ‘cause you’re not a total loser with crippling insecurity and no friends. But, according to the internet, the site is moving towards introducing a system where you will be able to tell who has looked at your page. So, in theory, if you were such a loser, here’s who you should be getting some last minute e-stalking done on before Zuckerberg ruins it for everyone.
ALL OF YOUR EXES
Relationships can take different lengths of time to get over, and it’s never a good idea to dwell on the past, but have you SEEN how she looks right now? And then there’s the endless, banal shit she spouts: “Nice Diet Coke moment at work today!”; “This rain seriously needs to G.O. AWAY!”; “Raiders of the Lost Ark is da perfect Sat film!” It’d be tragic if every status update wasn’t “Liked” by that one loyal BFF from back home in Newcastle, who came to London to visit you once but got in a fight with all your friends and ended up shouting, “You all fucking think you’re better than me, don’t you?” at the pub. That was embarrassing.
Of course, that’s only one ex, and there will be some who were destined for greater things, like dating famous DJs and ending up on magazine covers. It won’t be so bad to look at their pictures now, though, because you tapped that, son.
THAT BOY YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS ALWAYS HANGING OUT WITH
Yeah, there’s a guy she hangs out with at school when you’re not around, so what? You’re a modern guy, he helps her with her studies, she loves you and you trust her, it’s COOL. But before it’s too late, it might be worth checking if everything really is “cool.” Vindictive partners are normally good at covering their online tracks, but their “study buddy” won’t give a shit. You’re probs not gonna be able to figure out if he’s sleeping with your girlfriend, but you will be able to see that he “Liked” The Hangover 2. So that should make you feel better about yourself.
YOUR OLD SCHOOL BULLY
It’s an ancient truth explored in all Nickelodeon shows that the bully was only a bully because they were unloved at home and suffered from some pretty deep-set insecurities. These things result in their adulthood going one of two ways: They either give into their fears entirely and end up getting fat, having kids way too young, and stuck in a dead-end job drinking too much; or they become super-assertive and arrogant adult bullies who end up spending too much time at the gym and working in finance where banter reigns and they can still be feared by people weaker than them. Expect to see photographs from these guys’ vacations where they are standing on a beach admiring each other’s flexed muscles. Because if there is one group of people who don’t understand irony, it’s the guys who spend their childhood calling other guys fags.
Facebook deleted my account and all my photos apart from the four in this article.
Am I a 12-year-old child? Suddenly I’m not so sure. I mean, I think I remember Limp Bizkit. And Boris Yeltsin. And landlines. All of which would point to me not being 12. And I have no idea what GoGo’s Crazy Bones is. Really, it’s just a name to me. I don’t even know where it popped into my head from, and wasn’t that, like, ten years ago anyway?
Then again, Facebook seems to think otherwise. And when is Facebook ever wrong? Never, that’s when—science tells us that they know more about you than you do. The financial markets are about to give them history’s most exquisite blowjob. So whatever Mark Zuckerberg tells you that you think you are not, it is true. When he decides you signed up to his site at age seven in order to masquerade as a twentysomething, you did. And when he decides you are dead to the social world, well, brother, you just are.
It’s been six weeks since I first discovered that the Great Zuckerberg In The Sky had pressed the “delete via Kafka” button on my life and times. I went to log in. I simply wasn’t there. So I went to the FAQs. It could be, it said in very small print, that my account had been flagged for deletion. If I wanted, I could apply to ask what had happened via a link.
So I did. The reply took a week. But when it arrived, it was well worth it.
Facebook requires all members to be at least 13 years. At this time, we can’t verify your age. In order to look into the reactivation of your account, we will need for you to provide us with a digital image of one of the following documents:
School or work ID
Really, Facebook? You’d like a scan of my birth certificate? Clearly, Facebook had begun to imagine itself as we have all begun to imagine it: as some sort of psuedo-state governmental department. The Ministry Of Online Networking or something. But you can’t argue with bureaucracy. And you definitely can’t argue with Lauren User Operations. She doesn’t argue back. A few wasted emails later I’d swallowed my pride. I scanned my passport.
Our new Facebook picture is pretty good.
This is a picture of VICE’s circulation manager when he was 14. He loves ICP, so we made him sign up for their new social network. Here’s his account of his experience on JuggaloBook.
I know what you’re thinking – “That totally isn’t Thora Birch, why would she use her real name on FB and have an open profile?” I know, because this was a concern of mine too. But then I saw that our mutual friend had been talking back and forth on her wall with her about birthday drinks, so it’s definitely her.
Read the rest at Vice Magazine: FACEBOOK STALKING THORA BIRCH - Viceland Today