The Real True Detective
Ten years ago, the town of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, was traumatized when a local church’s secret Satan worship, ritualized child molestation, and animal sacrifices came to light. Rust Cohle may be a fictional character, and time may not really be a flat circle, but that sounds an awful lot like the events of the first season of HBO’s hit True Detective. In this episode of our brand-new series The Real, we went down to Ponchatoula to meet Stuart Murphy and Tom Tedder, two law enforcement officials who helped put these terrible, true events in Ponchatoula’s rearview mirror.
Watch the documentary
For two weeks over the summer, we went to Aleppo and embedded with the Islamic Front, a coalition of rebels fighting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad on one front and Islamic State militants on another.
Watch the full doc here.
Protesters use umbrellas to protect themselves from tear gas at Hong Kong’s Occupy Central.
VICE’s coverage of the protest
It Was the Best of Teens, It Was the Worst of Teens
It was 4:20 and the teens felt great, man, but they also had impaired cognitive abilities. It was the post-9/11 era, the effects of which were being felt in increasingly tragic and bizarre ways. It was the season of light beer, the season of darkness, the season of hope. Teens were on Cloud 9, teens were going to Heaven, and the two things may have been related becauseCloud 9 was a synthetic drug sending Michigan’s youth to the hospital. History was changing, literally. In Colorado, AP US history students protested a conservative school board’s plan to emphasize “topics that promote citizenship, patriotism, and respect for authority.” It was a time a lot like the past; there was a new Bill & Ted’s movie planned and another sequel to Dumb and Dumber, featuring original stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.
Does technology shape the culture, or does the culture shape technology? The answer to most questions is, “It’s complicated.” Yik Yak didn’t help us write this column and it was unclear if teenagers, “less concerned about privacy and data security than others,” would take tonewly-launched anti-Facebook social network Ello. Internet consumption was still high, though, as was consumption of the “rave drug Molly.” That’s why a father shared a photo of his daughter on life support, following her attendance at a Denver rave. “This could be your child. Mine was responsible and did well in school. These raves are death peddlers.” Snapchat remained a popular way for teenagers to run afoul of the law. A Wyoming high school student took a selfie whilst giving a boy oral sex and now persons who shared the image could be charged for having child pornography. Two girls were kidnapped at knifepoint after sneaking out of a slumber party. Depending on how you look at things, cell phones either helped them to safety or allowed thousands of people to listen to their harrowing post-escape 911 call.
"I’m in the process of divesting. I took the pledge," Ruffalo told me, "between 3-5 years, to completely divest in any fossil fuels or anything climate change related and put it into renewable or clean tech." Ruffalo had just been a guest on Al Gore’s fourth annual 24 Hours of Climate Reality program, and he was enthused.
I really enjoyed speaking to Motherboard about 24 Hours of Climate Reality, divesting from fossil fuels and why I’m so passionate about fighting climate change. If you’re interested, you can read the whole interview HERE.
Watch: The Return of the Black Death
We went to Madagascar in the fall of 2013 because the village of Beranimbo had been an epicenter of a black plague outbreak that resulted in nearly 600 cases and more than 90 deaths across the country. Madagascar reports the most instances of the disease in the world.
We Spoke to the Alaskan Reporter Who Quit Her Job on Live TV to Run a Weed Dispensary
Last night, after hosting a segment on the effort to legalize weed in Alaska, local KTVA news anchor Charlo Greene quit her job in true “fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool” fashion. Charlo went off script and told her Alaskan audience, on live TV, that she owned Alaska’s only cannabis club and that she would be leaving the news world behind— in order to put all her energy towards supporting the marijuana legalization movement in Alaska. Effective immediately, Charlo has begun a new life advocating for the movement by continuing to run the only weed dispensary in the home state of Sarah Palin. Before signing off, she also added: “Fuck it, I quit.”
Unsurprisingly, the mix of weed, unexpected swearing on live local news, and the thrill of someone quitting their job scorched earth style, resulted in Charlo’s final news broadcast going viral. So, we caught up with her earlier today to talk about her decision to bail on the glamourous life of local news reporting, her cannabis club, and the legalization movement in Alaska.
VICE: So when did you start the cannabis club?
Charlo Greene: We purchased a business license on 4/20/2014!
How’s the business been going?
It’s been going great! Well enough for me to feel comfortable in walking away from a career that I’ve spent all my adulthood building.
Why did you decide to quit in such an extravagant fashion?
[Laughs] To draw attention to the issue. You, as a journalist, know that all of us are replaceable. The people aren’t really going to miss you, or me, or any random reporter for the most part. So why not just use the position I was put in to make sure that my next chapter is just wide open for me?
What was the aftermath like in the studio?
Thank goodness it was on a Sunday night when most of the people were in the downstairs studio. I was doing my live hit in the upstairs one, so I didn’t see anything happening in the actual newsroom itself, but there were a couple of higher ups that were on my floor that were kinda freaking out—a little panicked. The phones were ringing off the hook, and I was escorted out. That was it.
And there’s been no fallout since?
The station took down my bio and all that stuff, but no one has been in touch with me.
Atlas Mugged: How a Libertarian Paradise in Chile Fell Apart
It was a good idea, in theory anyway. The plan was to form a sustainable community made up of people who believed in capitalism, limited government, and self-reliance. The site was already picked out: 11,000 acres of fertile land nestled in the valleys of the Chilean Andes, just an hour’s drive away from the capital of Santiago, to the east, and the Pacific Ocean, to the west. Residents could make money growing and exporting organic produce while enjoying Chile’s low taxes and temperate climate. This was no crackpot scheme to establish a micronation on a platform floating in the middle of the ocean (a common libertarian dream)—this was a serious attempt to build a refuge where free marketers and anarcho-capitalists could hole up and wait for the world’s fiat currencies to collapse. They called it “Galt’s Gulch Chile” (GGC), naming it for the fictional place where the world’s competent capitalists flee to in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
The project was conceived in 2012 by four men: John Cobin, an American expat living in Chile who once ran unsuccessfully for Congress in South Carolina; Jeff Berwick, the globe-trotting founder of the Dollar Vigilante, a financial newsletter that preaches the coming end of the current monetary system; Cobin’s Chilean partner; and Ken Johnson, a roving entrepreneur whose previous investment projects included real estate, wind turbines, and “water ionizers,” pseudoscientific gizmos that are advertised as being able to slow aging.
That initial group quickly fell apart, though today the principals disagree on why. Now, two years after its founding, the would-be paradise is ensnared in a set of personal conflicts, mainly centered on Johnson. Instead of living in a picturesque valley selling Galt’s Gulch–branded juice, the libertarian founders are accusing one another of being drunks, liars, and sociopaths. GGC’s would-be inhabitants have called Johnson a “weirdo,” a “pathological liar,” “insane,” a “scammer,” and other, similar things. Some shareholders are pursuing legal action in an effort to remove him from the project, a drastic measure for antigovernment types to take. Johnson, who remains the manager of the trust that controls the land, claims all the allegations against him are false. So what happened?
Will the Climate Change March Make a Difference to the Elites Who Run the World?
On Sunday, more than 300,000 people came out for the People’s Climate March in Manhattan. Easily the largest environmental rally in history, the spectacle was a diverse and frenetic show of force, and in that sense was a spectacular success. The lingering question that was hanging over the proceedings still remains, however: Is all of that sound and fury going to make a difference to the global elites meeting across town at the United Nations for the latest Very Important Climate Change Summit on Tuesday?
Led by a procession of indigenous peoples, activists got things started just before 11:30 AM. In addition to your typical flower-adorned hippie types, there were black and Hispanic kids from around the country. The summer of police brutality punctuated by the death of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Missouri was never far from the surface, their names intermittently chanted by the legions of protesters.
The event was essentially a giant party. Elaborate floats coasted slowly down the street surrounded by activists with signs demanding action and marching bands. Inside the crowd was a smattering of radicals convinced that the environmental movement’s leaders are kidding themselves if they think carbon emissions can be reduced—and global warming’s worst effects averted—without dramatically reshaping the global economy.