You know that kitschy indie hipster magazine from New York-cum-Quebec? Did you know that Rupert Murdoch is balls deep with a $70m stake? Or that Hearst and Disney own a ten percent stake? Or that they’re partnering with the likes of Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Google on a horrible new media project?
Bit strange… Almost without anyone noticing, Vice went from subversive voice of the little guy to cynical corporate monster.
Williamsburg has been going down this road for a long time now – from cool artsy hangout to gentrified haven for idle Manhattanites with too much money. So it’s not really a shock that loads of independent art and vital music spaces have been closed down and pushed out to make way for huge corporate interests.
What is a bit surprising is the fact that, in this case, the huge corporate interest is the little magazine from down the road.
It’s a bit of a shame, really, for the “voice of a new generation” to be rousting through the lairs and favorite haunts of what used to be their target demographic. Now guys in suits are sweeping through hip, underground venues and live/work spaces for artists and performers, sending whole communities of sweetly naive creatives scurrying further out along the L.
The strange thing about the ongoing cycles of gentrification, a plague afflicting society just about everywhere, is that it doesn’t seem to follow a circular pattern. It isn’t as though the Village is full of cool artists, becomes gentrified, loses it’s cool credentials, and then becomes uncool again, rent subsiding, and the cycle repeating itself… No, everywhere just sort of seems to be getting more expensive.
From the bright and shiny centre of the galaxy, the wealth just seems to radiate outward and doesn’t seem to leave a vacuum in its wake. Well, maybe an integrity vacuum. Or a cultural one.
Impoverished artsy types move into an area, give it credibility, and when they leave, the well-heeled get to bask in that reflected cool for decades, clinking their champagne flutes and nibbling their tapas as they congratulate themselves on their cleverness, now the scruffy kids are out.
So well done, Vice. You’ve arrived. The champagne will be chilling in the empty space where our dreams used to be.