VICE: What made you decide to hack the Onion this week after spending so much time targeting serious news organizations? The Shadow: We are well aware of the satirical nature of the Onion, but this does not detract from the fact that the basis of their “humor” was rooted in the narrative promoted by most major corporate media. What convinced us to make our move was an article titled “The Onion Website Joins the U.S. Anti-Syria Club” by Shamus Cooke that details how the Onion can be a more effective wartime propaganda tool than even “serious” and seemingly credible media. The irresponsible promotion of chemical weapons claims and attribution of all the mayhem in Syria on the one side attempting to keep order is very much an assumption of their focus on Syria. This is why the majority of informed people do not find such articles funny.
Why did you accuse the Onion of taking “Zionist money” in exchange for defaming Syria? We have various tactics when we penetrate a media outlet. For the Onion, we decided to loosely follow their style. We do not seriously suggest any kind of money transfer from unnamed “Zionist” sources, we realize it is more likely that the Onion follows the corporate line as a matter of ideology. During the Second World War, both the Germans and the Americans used satire to attack one another. The Onion serves the same sort of wartime role that the Disney anti-German short films did back then.
What do you think about the Onion’s response? Many readers found it in poor taste. One Twitter user responded with a simple “yikes.” This reaction was exactly what we were hoping for, as the writer placed all their anger in it, dropping the mask of the real situation in Syria. The rebels were depicted in the exact same manner as reality, so it cannot really be classified as satire except with one difference—the Syrian army will win and we don’t have a “base” that can be attacked.
—We spoke to an alleged member of the Syrian Electronic Army about hacking The Onion’s Twitter. Full interview
Twitter has also held a greal deal of fascination for me. As someone with a lowly amount of followers, it has always geeked me out knowing that you can @ or talk to someone that you would never have the opportunity to speak to in real life.
For some reason or another I have always held a great amount of respect for Michigan. I started following Karl Welzein née @DadBoner just to get my lowest-common denominator kicks. With tweets like “Starbucks acts like they’re so fancy. You sell hot black water and muffins. Calm down.” and “Never understood why people count how many drinks they have. A real man drinks by body feel. More natural. Boozin’ ain’t math, you guys” I knew I had to met this man some day. By the time our series My Life Online rolled around I knew the man behind this satirical masterpiece would be perfect for the show. I looked online and saw that Ology and Deadspin had discovered that a comedian named Mike Burns was DadBoner, but Mike had neither confirmed nor denied if that was the case. I was intrigued. I saw that Mike was repped by Creative Artists Agency and did a cold call to the offices general LA number. In what only can be defined as sheer luck, I was put on a conference call with Mike Burns and his agent who then told me he would give me the DadBoner exclusive (whatever that means.)
When I met Mike outside his apartment in Echo Park he seemed tired and a bit rough around the edges. He eyed me warily as only a veteran of the comedy and entertainment world can. He smoked a cigarette and asked me what we should do. It seemed fitting that Mike was the man behind this gluttonous, out there twitter feed. Karl could say all the things that Mike wanted to but couldn’t say in his own voice (for fear of retribution). It later occurred to me that every one of us might have a Karl inside; Mike is just more wanton to let him out.
I traveled out to LA for Click. Print. Gun and Jerome LOL and, as it turned out, to have some drinks and get to know Mike and his crew. We watched WWE, drank some domestos (that means beer), and talked about the internet as it relates to comedy. I like to think of it as a tragicomedy.
MARNI AND NATE ARE IN YOUR HOOD, PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR TWEETS
Marni Shindelman and Nate Larson are two artists who collaborate on projects centered on time and space in modern life and their relationship to social networks. Their most recent series of projects,Geolocation, involves the two chosing tweets which are tagged with location information, photographing the actual spot where the tweets were made, and then pairing the original tweets with their new images. They say the photographs “anchor and memorializes the ephemeral online data in the real world and also probe the expectations of privacy surrounding social networks.” We think the photographs are beautiful, powerful, and slightly creepy. We were so intrigued, we had to have a chat with Nate and Marni about the work.
VICE: How did this project come about? Marni Shindelman: Nate and I were working on a project called Semaphore, in which we were translating text messages into semaphore flag language. We found one tweet on an old mashup app that had a gps coordinate on it near where we were shooting. We shot out first Geolocation photograph, “Sneaking Suspicion,” at that spot. At that moment, we knew right away we had started a much larger project. The technology caught up to us with the popularity of FourSquare and other locative games.
Nate Larson: It’s been an interesting time to think about these issues of privacy and over-sharing, especially with the way that the technology has become so common and widely affordable. We see the project as a social document, preserving fragments from this moment in history and linking the disconnected internet data back to its point of origin.
What Sort of Person Still Thinks That 9/11 Was an Inside Job?
As you’ve probably noticed from the wealth of “I remember where I was when…” Facebook statuses, today is the 11th anniversary of the most important day in modern history. The day when the world went from being one, big back-slapping party with Bill Clinton serenading Tony Blair with sax solos, to the era of fear, loathing, and Eminem that wouldn’t subside until a Hawaiian guy who claimed to like Lil’ Wayne pulled us out in a fireman’s lift of optimism.
It feels strange looking back on a not-that-recent-any-more tragedy; we’ve moved on from the grief to the “never forget” stage. The common response has been dignified respect for the victims, and reflection on the wider ramifications of that fateful day. Of course there are people who feel the need to tell us what they were watching on the other channel (I was at the dentist’s and when I was told, I imagined it to be a comical incident involving a bi-plane, if you’re interested), there’s little hand wringing or vicarious cloying to get worked up about.
Sadly, what there are is plenty of conspiracy loons. The people who just won’t believe the “official version of events” and instead subscribe to respected authorities like Alex Jones, Charlie Sheen, and some anonymous whistle-blower with MS Paint’s version of events. These people aren’t even of the “We’ll never really know what happened,” school of thought; these are people who are 100 percent convinced that Dick Cheney was flying planes into buildings like a problem child with an Airfix model.
But who the hell are they? And what else do they enjoy doing besides casting aspersions on logic? Let’s find out.
Nicola Jane likes: - The television show Hollyoaks - The television personality Khloe Kardashian - Tweeting the lyrics of forgotten US R&B star Tweet (what a coindence) - Tweeting the lyrics of not-forgotten US R&B star Marvin Gaye - Vanilla lattes - National Cheesecake Day
Liyah Nichelle likes: - The rapper Wiz Khalifa - The pop star Ciara - Cookies with chocolate on the bottom - The Twitter account @Hilarious_Dude - The Twitter account @FemalePains - The Buddhist concept karma
Guys, it is Girls and Fashion: Part Deux: The Fashioning! Guess why. No guess. No guess. Because it is Fashion Week, which is when a particular subset of the beautiful and the damned do not so much descend on New York as wiggle-wobble into and around it like very attractive gelatin steak-strips in Prada silkies and rough denim and mean jewelry. And, yeah, we did a “Girls and Fashion” part I like a month ago, but then I hit bottom, wrote a column called “Everything Is The Worst” and asked for two weeks off. So. Now it’s fall.
It is basically the funniest, always-guaranteed-100%, when “fashion” is applied to something unfashion, like, “Week.” Or, the “Fashion Café,” which was a project of the Supermodel Era (don’t even worry about it) and a precursor to models’ mid-to-late-career-diversification, which usually includes self-branded bedsheets, lotion, Kmart-y bras, “eco,” collaborations with whoever, photography careers, blogging, I dunno. My point is that while fashion is a legitimately important and huge-scale industry and responsible for a lot of beauty, art, commerce, and innovation it is still basically embarrassing.
Paper magazine just did this oral history of X-Girl, which was a clothing line so 90s-covetable (Ask me if I still have X-Girl stuff, even though my personal fashion philosophy is mostly a low hiss of “This is garbage, get it away from meeeeee” because yes I obviously do but you have to be rookie-card-careful with something like a shittily produced nylon X-Girl bag) that it lives on in the girl-institutional memory even more, maybe, than its co-founder Kim Gordon. Peeersonally I was always more about Milk Fed, a Coppola joint, and Tocca, which nobody ever talks about even though their dresses were the perfect shades of melting popsicles, all creamy blues and raspberries.
Anyway, this week Kim Gordon sold her clothes through some rando vintage store in Oakland (???), and not to be a traitor or whatever but I was more ew-ed out by on-stage sweat-grungies than I was really interested in buying one of her old Marni dresses, you know?
Last night was Fashion’s Night Out, which means that a zill fashion girls and boys and designers and models and then that number of people times infinity of PR interns do little thingers around New York like DJ while little bunny-rabbit girls buy limited edition t-shirts, or draw designs in their sidewalk dinner-barf with a stick, or whatever. So the good part of all of this is nothing, or nothing specific. The bad part of this is that we are subjected to the real-time reporting of Fashion’s Night Out via tweets that say “Victoria Beckham in a clementine dress. #FNO” as though it’s fine, as though it’s creative, as though it’s OK, to just verbatim-report something like that without a little basketball-spin. There are a lot of big eyes and big ideas in fashion, but are there big brains???
I spend a lot of time googling “+ heroin” but it seems like all that has been classified? WAIT, SHIT, IS THERE A FASHION ILLUMINATI TOO???
While in LA working on our Showbiz issue, we met up with comedian and VICE columnist Rob Delaney for a chat about hairiness, Twitter, and funny meat words. He’s a wise man who knows a lot about these things, and a few other things, like vaginas and not drinking, so give this video a spin and learn some stuff.