The Exploited Laborers of the Liberal Media: Interns
Editor’s note: For years, VICE has used part-time unpaid interns—a practice that we recently halted. Our current policy is to pay interns $10 an hour and limit them to 20 hours a week during the school year and 25 hours a week during the summer.
I was 21 years old when I took out my earring, combed my hair, and tried concealing my distaste for power and Washington, DC, in order to ask questions at press conferences. It was the summer of 2006, and I had just left college to go work for a small, do-gooding nonprofit that covered Capitol Hill for public radio.
I went through the whole experience of being a journalist in the nation’s capital: attending deadly boring policy luncheons, interviewing near-dead lawmakers and dead-inside lobbyists, and dying a little inside myself every time I saw my work “edited”—turned into shameful garbage—before going on air.
Like any other reporter, I pitched stories at morning meetings and then did the legwork to put them together, in the process learning the job. While my gut impulse at first was to righteously confront the powerful with strident questions highlighting their logical inconsistencies and factual errors, I soon found it was often smarter to affect an earnest demeanor just a hair shy of sarcastic. You need to let the person being interviewed explain why he is terrible, which is more easily done when he thinks you are stupid or on his side.
Is Pauly Shore Trying to Troll VICE?
A couple of weeks ago, we ran a piece by Jonathan Daniel Brown about the time he interned for Pauly Shore. As you would expect, the article was about how Pauly is a douche and interning for him was miserable.
A couple of days after the post was published, a video called “More Disgruntled Pauly Shore Interns” was uploaded to YouTube.
The video was uploaded with this description: “Thank God finally someone let the cat out of the bag. Pauly Shore is the worst boss and I truly think he’s crazy. I am currently one of Pauly’s interns. After I post this hidden camera video of Pauly (being who he truly is) that another intern and I did I’m sure we will both be let go, which will be a relief. We are sick of his abuse! Thank you so much Jonathan for letting everybody know: Pauly Shore truly is an asshole.”
Watch the new video “Private Play” by Wash ‘N’ Set
Directed by Richard Kern and Featuring a Former VICE Intern
Can Digital Drugs Get You High?
About a month ago, a scientist in the United Arab Emirates started making noise about banning something called “binaural beats,” which he referred to as “digital drugs.” These are audio tracks—calling them “music” would be a bit of a stretch—that you can buy online for $16.95 or less. Banning tones that purport to alter your state of mind sounded to me like an over-the-top, reactionary response to something that probably didn’t even work. But what if it did work? What if these tracks really got you high?
I decided I should give this stuff a try, so I downloaded five different MP3 “dose packs” from I-Doser, a supplier of the futuristic, mind-melding drugs who take themselves quite seriously. According to their website, they have “several teams of underground music and tonal experts, programmers, testers, researchers, and admins,” and “each audio track contains advanced binaural beats that will synchronize your brainwaves.” Whoa. There were a lot of different doses available—sexual doses, designer doses, sport doses, game enhancers, pure doses, and so on—so I had to be somewhat selective. I didn’t want anything that produced a calming sensation, since I could get that from a meditative flute piece on YouTube accompanied by a still shot of a waterfall. I wanted to trip out and feel closer to the big man upstairs. So I got the most advanced versions of the “recreational,” “prescription,” “fictional,” “sacred,” and “celestial” dose packs. Each contained four 15-minute-long audio tracks, and I tried out the most interesting sounding ones.
Prescription Simulations: Ambie
My options in the pack of prescription doses were Xanax, Ambie, Valim, and Klono. I went with Ambie, which is supposed to simulate the effect of Ambien. Now, I came into this thinking that these beats were all just a big pile of stupid, but I was determined to give it a shot. I sat on a chair in my bedroom and put my ear buds in, started the track, and closed my eyes. I was trying to force myself into a Zen state and let the beats take over my mind. The track began with a steady, mechanical hum that occasionally got interrupted by some kind of static. It later flowed into a soft and calming mystical tune, the soundtrack of a fairytale. I didn’t really feel anything for the first couple minutes, and I opened my eyes around four minutes into the session. They felt a little heavy, but I told myself it was psychological, a placebo. Then I realized, hey this stuff is sort of the real deal. My head started feeling heavy and gradually got heavier and heavier. By the end of the session my entire body was numbed and tingling. I started waving my arms around to prove to myself that these sensations were happening because I’d been sitting in the same position for 15 minutes with my eyes closed. It didn’t help, though. My brain was empty and five minutes later, I still felt completely sedated.
So I guess this stuff works.
We Got Our Interns to Review Some Strip Clubs
The house rules at The Nag’s Head – no photography ;), no soiled clothing ;(
First things first, if you’re a girl and you’ve never been to a strip club, go. I had never been to a strip club before last week. Now I have been to nine.
This all started when we found out that my borough, Tower Hamlets in London, was proposing a ban on the opening of all new “sex establishments” and the closure of pre-existing ones. The neighborhood’s religious communities now find themselves pitched in a battle against the roughly 6000 people employed by the local stripping industry.
Things are getting pretty heated, in a bureaucratic way, but I’m a lover, not a fighter or a sex lawyer, so my friend Henrietta Hitchcock and I decided to ignore the morality war and instead tour the strip joints of Tower Hamlets to see which of them—if any—deserve to stay open purely on merit.
Unfortunately, all but one club forbade us from taking any pictures inside. However, we did chat extensively about the ins and outs of the industry and at one point had a go on a pole ourselves, so that’s something for you to look forward to.
THE WHITE HORSE @ BLUSH
The White Horse was our first stop. As we arrived, that Jessie J “It’s not about the money, money, money” song was playing while a woman pulled her thong off for a pint glass full of pound coins. I wasn’t turned on at all, but it did give me the biggest irony boner.
Atmosphere: It’s pretty much just a typical old-man pub with naked, gyrating women in it. Amicable, cheery community center vibe.
Customers: The obligatory solo weirdos, but mainly groups of men after work, a mix of suits and working class guys. We were the only women.
Wedding Ring Count: Nine.
Dancers: A fine balance of “OK fine, here are my tits, shakey shakey” and actually impressive pole-dancing ability. The cleaning policy was a problem, though—the stripper up next has to Windex and wipe down the pole used by the dancer before her, in front of everyone. Bathos is watching a woman in a Lycra one-piece wipe another lady’s butt-streaks off a metallic pole.
Overall vibe: Pretty chill. The girls seemed to be having an OK time, and it didn’t feel seedy or skuzzy in the way I had expected all strip clubs to be prior to this experiment. This is not the place to come seeking stripper-y looking fake breasts, although there were some surrrious butts.
THE NAG’S HEAD
The Nag’s Head cemented our impression that the real issue facing strip establishments today should not be widespread closure but a long, thoughtful examination of their playlists. I do not want to watch a woman strip to “Zombie” by The Cranberries ever again. Or maybe I do, every day, as soon as I wake up. It’s hard to say.
Atmosphere: It’s a very small space. Like, very small. With the table of strippers and us and the two old guys at the front (that’s where the old men live), most of the tables were filled, even though the women were only taking in about £5 per dance, which is eughhhh.
Customers: More touchy-feely than is generally allowed. Some lecherous banker-type appeared and asked how us two little ladies were “enjoying the view,” before suggesting we join him at his table up front. We did not.
Dancers: They all seemed kind of bored, but had traditional hot stripper bods—fake tits and tans and teetering Lucite heels—so maybe that’s the trade off?
“What you taking notes for then?” count: One.
Overall vibe: Kind of dingy, but hilarious opening hours. Have a lapdance with your lunch! BYOSandwich.