In honor of VICE’s Profiles Issue, we decided to review people instead of music, like who has the best face and who is the worst person.
Porn Sites Are Paying to Remove Tattoos of Their Logos from Hostgator’s Face
The media keeps telling me that, thanks to the new LA condom laws and the fact that the internet exists, the porn industry is flat broke. But if that’s true, how can they still afford to get their logos tattooed on to my friend Hostgator Dotcom’s body and face?
Hostgator and I got to know each other when I interviewed him about selling his skin as advertising space to porn sites so he could afford to feed his family. After that article was published, one of the companies who had tattooed their logo on to Hostgator’s face decided they felt bad and offered to pay for Hostgator to have all of the tattoos removed. Which proves three things: 1) that online journalism CAN change lives, 2) that people who run internet porn sites are human beings with souls, and 3) there comes a time in every man’s life when he must get the tattoos of porn websites removed from his face.
Anyway, Hostgator emailed me the good news so I thought I’d call him up to congratulate him. It turns out he’s doing great and his kids aren’t starving, but he also has some worrying new plans to make money.
Hostgator with his kids.
VICE: So, great news, man. What happened?
Hotsgator Dotcom: Yeah, so the website cam4.com is going to pay for the tattoo removal on my face. They advertised on my face a long time ago, read the VICE story, and decided they wanted to help me—they’re just doing it to be nice. I had my first laser removal treatment last week.
Did they apologize for getting them done in the first place?
No, they said that they appreciate me advertising for them, but that if I don’t want them any more, then they’re happy to remove them.
Taipei Carbs – by Tao Lin
above: Tao’s dad eating an “oil stick” (literal translation from Mandarin)
Over the next month, in celebration of the forthcoming release of Tao Lin’s latest novel, Taipei, we will be featuring a weekly selection of photos taken by the author during his recent trip to Taipei, Taiwan. While there, he took thousands of pictures with his iPhone, pictures which he has divided into albums titled things like “Taipei fashion,” “Taipei food,” “Taipei babies,” and “Taipei animals,” among others. The images were taken between January and February 2013 during one of his semiannual visits to the Taiwanese capital, where his parents live. This selection is titled “Taipei Carbs.” All photos and captions by Tao Lin.
Taipei will be released on June 4 from Vintage and is available for pre-order now. To read an early excerpt from the novel that we published in 2011 titled “Relationship Story,” click here.
I seem to rush, whenever I see this photo, to think Huffington Post quickly, like I’m answering a question before someone else does
Al Gore should abruptly stumble cross-stage during a TED talk, falling to his knees, when his vision is replaced with this photo, which he’s never seen, for 2.5 seconds
My Dad Told Me There’d Never Be a Black President
The biggest fight I ever had with my dad was over whether or not America could elect a black president. It was in the mid-2000s and I was about 17, serving out my last few years at a nearly all-white high school in the stifling suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. I spent a lot of my time there dealing with way too many ignorant kids who either wholeheartedly embraced bigotry or spouted it off unknowingly. In spite of all of that, I still managed to build some valuable relationships that left me with an optimistic perspective when it came to race relations: It certainly wasn’t all good, but maybe one day it might be.
My dad, on the other hand, was understandably jaded. How can you blame a guy who can remember exactly where he was when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated if he doesn’t think America will ever properly deal with its race-based problems? Living only two generations from bondage and being born in the midst of Jim Crow would make anyone cynical about the prospects of this country electing a black man to its highest office.
Our argument, which was a long time coming, had its genesis in Barack Obama’s 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention (and a 2pac song). With that speech, Barack burst onto the political scene looking fresher than a motherfucker, and he spoke with elegance and force that still makes my dick hard with black power. The sentiment of his first speech on the national stage, coupled with my own ambitions and desires, left me feeling like we/I/him could do anything—especially be president. That is, until my dad ripped my head off.
We had been having bouts over this issue for months, but it culminated in an all-out screaming match right after George W. Bush got re-elected in 2005, which signified the country’s choice to continue the not so black-friendly policies of the Republicans. This was also around the time that we were being bombarded with images of suffering black (and poor white) faces in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Things seemed especially grim in those days, like no matter how far it seemed we had come as people, we were still second-class citizens.
So when I brought up my usual bright-eyed bit about how one day all of that shit would change with a black president, my dad stood up in the middle of the kitchen, in his boxers with a plastic bag over his jerry curl, and howled at me at the top of his lungs that a black president could never exist in this country. He told me, “We’d have to burn this whole fucking thing down and start over from scratch for a brother to ever sleep in the White House.” As he said that, my heart welled up with hate for all of his history that was holding me and my generation back. I broke into tears over my disappointment with the world at large, still refusing to accept that I couldn’t foster a better world than what he had known.
JOHANNA HELDEBRO STALKED HER DAD FOR ART
About four years ago, photographer Johanna Heldebro’s father abruptly left his family in Montreal and relocated to his native Sweden. Johanna’s parents had just finalized a sudden divorce after Mr. Heldebro disclosed that he was having an affair with a mother of two who lived in Stockholm. Of course, everyone was angry and confused. But instead of writing her dad’s name 30 times on a piece of paper in black ink and burning it over a black candle, Johanna decided to use the unfortunate situation as inspiration for her artwork. She traveled to Sweden to stalk her dad and find out about his new life firsthand.
The outcome was To Come Within Reach of You (Gunnar Heldebro, Hässelby Strandväg 55, 165 65 Hässelby), a photo series that acted as her graduate thesis for New York City’s School of Visual Arts. After viewing her work, we asked Johanna if she’d allow us to publish some of the images in Vice. She agreed and even did us one better by granting us an interview about the whole ordeal.