Vice: the Crassest of them all?

Penny Rimbaud in Vice Do's and Don'ts
from Vice magazine online

If you’re not familiar with Vice magazine… well, get yourself on over to Wikipedia. Like Marmite, Vice is an instant room divider.  A crowd will gravitate to one corner, decrying their approach as shallow, fashion-fixated, culturally regressive and just plain offensive.  A louder, possibly drunk contingent will hold ground in the middle of the room bellowing at everyone to shutthefuckup because itsjustafuckinglaugh.  Still more will sulk about on the settee, mumbling about cutting-edge journalism. And a few will linger by the door, logging on to Twitter to find out what they’re meant to think about it.

Probably the most widely derided, and of course therefore, most popular feature in Vice is their Do’s And Don’ts column.  The concept is of course as old as criticism itself – take random photographs and use them to illustrate the various triumphant victories and fumbling faux pas of … well, anything … but most entertainingly, fashion.  Vice took this concept and made it as acerbic and acrimonious as possible, while striving hard to maintain the judgemental values of a white suburban teenage boy.  The fact that being a classed as Do is seemingly no more redemptive than being branded a Don’t is a clue to the column’s real intentions.  It’s cruel, vulgar, and hysterical.  Unless of course you take yourself too seriously.

This week Vice published the above entry in their Do’s and Don’ts.  When reposted on the Facebook page for Crass fans, it immediately garnered that predictable room-dividing effect.  Unfortunately, not many of the posters got the joke.  The Winnie The Pooh-faced punter is indeed Penny Rimbaud, founder (along with Steve Ignorant) of Crass.  Christ only knows where he got the jacket, it’s certainly not his, but he clearly participated in the prank.  In fact Penny has collaborated several times in the past with Vice, in particular its UK editor Andy Capper, for whom he is known to have great admiration.  The interviews he did with Ian Svenonius for Vice’s VBS online television series are particularly worth watching.

As was said on Facebook… it’s Monday.  Have a giggle.

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