Tag Archives: Village Voice

Eric Sundermann ~ Matt Taibbi: On Hunter Thompson And Why Barack Obama Isn’t A Great Shark

Village Voice | RS_News | June 27 2012

OPINION ~ Matt Taibbi, like many journalists, grew up idolizing Hunter S. Thompson. But Taibbi, unlike many journalists, got Hunter S. Thompson’s job.

The similarities between the two Rolling Stone scribes do not stop there, even though Taibbi himself argues he’s nothing like Thompson. Both made their name pointing out hypocrisies and flaws in the U.S. government. Both thrived (one still is) at a time of turmoil in our country’s history. Both even managed to love the same sport, the game of football. And now both have their name on the cover of the same book. Taibbi was given the responsibility of writing a new introduction to the 40th-anniversary edition of one of Thompson’s seminal works, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, which releases today.

In his introduction, Taibbi highlights the importance of Thompson’s writing, calling him the “most instantly trustworthy” American narrator since Mark Twain, and argues that the book still continues to define the way we think about the dramas of politics. Taibbi stopped by The Village Voice office (where he was a summer intern in 1987) to chat about Thompson’s influence, how Thompson lives up to his own cliche, and why Obama would disappoint Thompson, were Thompson still alive.

When did you first read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72?

I remember my father [Emmy-winning journalist Mike Taibbi] telling me about when Thompson was writing the pieces in Rolling Stone at the time–not the book, but the monthly dispatches. It was such a unique thing because everybody was waiting for it at the end of every month. I didn’t read the book till I was pretty old. I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegaswhen I was in high school, and I probably read this when I was a senior in college.

Did you ever meet him?

No, but I talked to him on the phone once. That was close as I came. I was going to be hired by a publishing company to edit a compilation of gonzo journalism, and I was really broke at the time. So I sat down to really think about this project, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that gonzo journalism just means Hunter Thompson. There aren’t other examples of gonzo journalism. I tried to put something together, but then I called Thompson up and basically explained the dilemma: “I got stuck with this assignment, and what do you think of it, because if you’re not into it, I’m probably not into it.” And he goes [adopting a deep, gravelly voice], “That’s a shitty assignment. How badly do you need the money?” And I said, “Pretty badly.” And he said, “Well, I don’t envy you.” And that’s how he left it, so I decided not to do it.

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Brandon Turbeville ~ Goldman Sachs Tied To The Sordid World Of The Monied Elite

The Activist Post | April 19 2012

If anyone ever doubted that Goldman Sachs could get any sleazier than the reputation the institution has garnered over the last few years, recent discoveries regarding the major bank’s ties to underage prostitution have served to aid in sullying the name even further.

Earlier this month, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times revealed in his article, “Financiers and Sex Trafficking,” that Goldman Sachs was a 16% stakeholder in one of the biggest public sex trafficking forums in the United States – Backpage.com.
I say “public sex trafficking forums” because Backpage is obviously publicly accessible, while more hardcore and illegal activities are clearly hidden from the view of the general citizen. This is because many of the patrons of such operations tend to be the very wealthy in addition to the average run-of-the-mill sexual deviant living in his basement who might be more likely to consult Backpage for its services.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Backpage is a website that provides ads for “escort services” all across the United States and in most metropolitan cities. Of course, many of these ads are placed and answered by consenting adults. However, it is also true that there is a great deal of evidence to show that Backpage plays a role in trafficking minors and women coerced into prostitution.
Interestingly enough, Backpage is owned by Village Voice Media (VVM), which also owns the Village Voice, SF Weekly, and LA Weekly. VVM is also the company where Goldman Sachs held about 16% of stock. Not only that, but Scott L. Lebovitz, who was a Goldman Sachs managing director who Goldman claims stepped down in 2010, sat on the Village Voice Media board for years.

These reports triggered a cascade of protests from members of the anti-trafficking and religious communities, as well as calls from U.S. Senators for Village Voice Media to shut down the Backpage website.

After the New York Times’ expose, Goldman Sachs sold their holdings in Village Voice Media and, by and large, the bank has once again escaped large-scale criticism. Yet the revelation that the bank would maintain such holdings in VVM with the knowledge that Backpage has been engaging in under-age prostitution and coerced-sex workers does lift the veil slightly to the underworld of sex trafficking.