“If VICE is doing news, we’re fucked.”
Shane Smith, co-founder of VICE had this sobering message to give 100 hipsters who gathered on a night of apocalyptic weather for the Vivid Ideas exchange.
VICE is a publication I truly idolise and respect. It loves the eccentric and unusual characteristics about people that I do, and does so unapologetically. More so, it chases the story. And according to Smith, now more than ever there are more stories to tell.
Having once started as a lifestyle publication to talk about “sneakers and cocaine”, VICE was forced to start covering the happenings of the world that were receiving no media coverage. The murders, kidnapping, people trafficking and drug trafficking that didn’t fit well with the 6pm times lot on TV. The stories they have found have continued to shock them more and more over the years.
“And everywhere we go, it’s getting worse,” Shane Smith said.
“The system is broken,” he said, supporting his statements with grave images, such as a two-week traffic jam in China that happens annually. And yet still more cars are produced to service our greed.
Shows like The Kardashians, The Voice, Being Lara Bingle and Shire TV are the sand that we bury our heads in.
Despite his desperation to cling onto the success of Kony 2012, the screening of VICE’s most recent documentary A Guide to Karachi, Pakistan, along with Smith’s gloomy outlook mades it feel like the entire world is at a make-or-break point. It feels as though there are as many catastrophic incidents as there are librations and people uniting with knowledge and ideas. While communities uplift themselves, pointless waring continues. But people are increasingly questioning the powers of authority – whether that be religion or government – and using knowledge and connection rather than strength to take action. Surely we can see this in the spreading of education through initiatives such as TEDx, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Vivid Sydney and Get Up!.
The western world can’t really rely on mainstream media for international information. Information is expensive to produce. That is why we’re having such problems in the printing industry right now. Good journalism is costly.
But I wonder how it will turn out. I wonder if we really will be able to find a way to save print media, foreground content, continue this empowerment of people through information, and change the world that we forget is falling apart when we’re all the way over here in the first world. I guess the thing is, we don’t really have a choice in finding a solution.