Eric Goldwyn looks at how startups like Uber are destabilizing the taxicab industry: http://nyr.kr/1jLceEb
“As bad as the shift to being independent contractors was for drivers, labor leaders argue that the ascendance of ride-sharing outfits will be even more painful. If the market is flooded with part-timers, few cities will be able to maintain a fleet of trained drivers who can make a living driving cabs.”
Photograph: Christopher Anderson/Magnum.
Uber and whatever the other mustache ride company is called (they have a mustache as their logo) interests me because it’s congruent with the larger notion that the internet is making society more anarchist. The major issue that could have prevented Uber and the like from taking off was fear, fear of being abducted or tricked into some kind of reality porn scenario, as soon as you get picked up, but that’s why Uber has a ratings section- accountability.
In Baltimore if you need a ride you can hold out your hand, like you would to hail a cab in NYC and do this finger wiggle thing which means you want a ride. Anybody who wants to then pulls over and haggles over a price. Sounds crazy I know, and I never did it admittedly because there’s no accountability, or at least I wasn’t connected to the streets quite enough to know about it. Don’t get me wrong, I did lived a thug life when i was Baltimore- I was heavy in the musical theater community.
Every good anarchist understands the importance of accountability and one area where the internet has yet to realize its potential is in the realm of societal accountability. Stick with me now…
We have Yelp for when there’s a pube in your meatball sandwich but, we have no yelp for a employer who tends toward ass-slapping. Hell, there’s even a Yelp for street drugs, but there’s not a Yelp for rapey-PUA nightclub dwellers, there’s not a Yelp for the lady on the crowded L Train with her LV bag taking up the only two vacant seats on the train (obviously these comparisons differ in terms of severity.)
There should be. There’s should be a yelp for shitty landlords, bullies and dirty cops. That, in my opinion is the un-realized potential of the internet.
That being said, I’ve never tried Uber, worth it?
I have written about drugs. Hard drugs, soft drugs, solid, liquid and gas drugs. Drugs that people use to get off drugs and drugs that are changing the way we think about drugs.
Technology and drugs have engaged in a pretty interesting dance over the past few years. Vice wrote an interesting piece on the bath salts craze (“Bath Salts in the Wound”) when it hit two years or so ago but one aspect of that story hit on a theme that dominates the narrative of drugs in the modern age. The article talks about how the companies that produced bath salts were been able to stay one step ahead of the DEA by slightly altering their formulas so quickly and often that bath salts became nearly impossible to regulate. As soon as the DEA cracked down on one type of bath salt, the companies simply shifted their formula to a non-illegal incarnation.
Fortunately the media coverage of the bath salts has scared much of the general public away using it in fear of ostensible zombification. Where pot makes a user hungry for Funyons, bath salts, apparently makes a user hungry for faces, human faces and though Anthony Bourdain swears in every episode of No Reservations and Parts Unknown that the eyes, neck and general head area are the tastiest part of the fish, I’m not convinced they are the tastiest parts of my neighbor.
Another pervading theme of modern drug use is the rapid spread of opiate addiction in the United States and beyond. Starting with Oxycontin, until Perdue altered its formula to make their Oxycontin pills “abuse proof” causing the legions of Oxycontin addicts throughout the country to seek out alternatives. Opana, Roxicodone and most notably heroin quickly filled that void. This shift accounts for much of the rapid growth of heroin use in the country outside of major metropolitan areas over the past decade.
The scary part is where these two stories intersect. Across the internet amateur chemists can now share recipes for homemade narcotics, which theoretically could be as subject to alteration as bath salts. The potential for synthetic opiates that are double and triple strength of pure heroin looms in the digital ether.
Throw on top of the the likelihood that 3D printers will soon be capable of producing pharmaceuticals and you’ve got the Godzilla of drug epidemics slowly making its way to our door.
As I said, I’ve written a bit about drugs but not nearly as much as I’d like. The area is well covered by folks like Hamilton Morris, Daniel Pinchbeck and Jerry Stahl, all of whom have become integral voices in the drug conversation but there’s yet to be a writer who continually delves into the topic of harm reduction as an option for the future of drug regulation and legislation in the country. If the issues mentioned here are as real as they appear to be, Harm Reduction may soon be the only strategy that makes sense for dealing with drug use and addiction in this country. Put simply, Harm Reduction is a philosophy of dealing with drug use that prioritizes the health and well-being of the user by always working towards the lesser evil, instead of the eradication of all evil indefinitely.
Without a doubt, the way we ingest, talk about, and think about drugs is changing now, faster than ever before.
Here are some of my drug stories of choice.
This story (written under a pseudonym for my initial safety) deals with the issue of harm reduction in relation to a website called Jynxie’s Natural Habitat which could simply be described as “Yelp for Heroin.” The story also delves into the unique way in which heroin is branded in metropolitan Area and explains why a “Yelp for heroin” has the potential to save lives.
After the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman I interviewed local heroin addicts in attempt to evaluate a few hypothetical scenarios that may have played a part in this sadly misunderstood tragedy.
Here’s an article i wrote for NY Press quite some time ago. A local photographer decided to produce a book and gallery show that consisted of photographs of people’s faces the moment after they inhaled amyl nitrate. It begins with an aside about the time I was nearly jumped by an amyl-eyed Canadian tourist in a hostel on Sunset Boulevard.
Keep coming back friends, it works if you work it.
I watch porn. Not excessively, not sparingly either. I enjoy it for the same reasons most people do, but for other reasons as well. Without trying to be too high minded about it all- I think you can gain a lot of insight into cultural changes through porn.
Generally I watch the same few porn stars either because I think they’re exceedingly attractive or often because I think they’re experimenting with or pushing the form. Arabelle Raphael, Proxy Paige, Kimberly Kane and Joanna Angel are good examples of porn stars who fall under both categories. Jiz Lee is another. Either they challenge gender expectations, or sexual taboo, or even cultural/political issues in the same way journalists or writers do. The above mentioned porn performers each do this in different ways respectively. I’ve always had the most respect for a journalist like Louis Theroux who look for the most shadowy or rarely talked about of issues and truly emerges himself inside of them for a report.
Porn is a subject I’ve always wanted to write about, and Complex is a magazine I’ve always wanted to write for. As kismet would have it I got to write about porn for Complex. The idea came after I came upon a porn site and I truly couldn’t believe my own eyes. I had to find out what the deal was- whether or not it was real and if so, how. Doing so alerted me to a growing trend in the porn world. Enjoy!
Director Sara Crow is raising funds to finish her Documentary “Never Get Tired” The Bomb the Music Industry story. You can watch the trailer and donate here.
I feel pretty confident saying that this band will be considered one of the most influential bands of the digital age and that one day they transcend way beyond the bubble of punk rock. James Brown (star of The Burnt House and other scary films) played them for me for the first time and said “This is going to be your new favorite band.” Thus, I was determined for that not to be the case, because I consider myself far too complex for anyone to be able to determine what band will or will not be my favorite anything- James was correct.
I’ve been fortunate enough to write thrice about Bomb The Music Industry throughout their career. Early on a review for Punknews about one of shows with Cheap Girls- a band that has since become among my favorites also. Once, for Jewcy. Most recently for Interview Magazine on the eve of their final shows (or were they?)
If this is all new to you, see for yourself at bombthemusicindustry.com