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The company’s cameramen were in the crowd, filming for a weekly news-magazine series, “Vice,” that will air this spring on HBO.Not long before the game started, the crowd, which included the state’s diplomatic and military élite, began to chant “”—the traditional invocation that means “Ten thousand years, so long live Korea!Vice staffers let the camera know when they’re bored or scared, and they deliver emotional speeches about what they’ve seen. Thompson—writing for in the seventies—turned his stories into drug-addled first-person invective, mixing fact and fiction, and abandoning the pose of neutrality.A segment by Smith, in which he interviews child suicide bombers in Afghanistan, ends with a shot of Smith on the plane and a reflective voice-over: “As we took off, I looked at my i Phone and my computer. It’s often noted that Thompson had a moral agenda: exposing the dark side of mainstream America’s culture and political system. Introductions to the HBO series announce that it’s out to examine “the absurdity of the modern condition.”Critics have accused Vice of sensationalism, arguing that its real purpose, in exploring slums and war zones, is to titillate and entertain its core audience—males between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four.called the episode “More ‘Jackass’ Than Journalism,” and pointed out that, in light of the regime’s abuses and recent reports of cannibalism among a starving population, “those remarks and current headline on the Vice Web site that ‘North Korea has a friend in Dennis Rodman and Vice’ seem a bit, well, tasteless.”Vice has never been celebrated for good taste.The company started in Montreal, in the mid-nineties, as a free magazine with a reputation for provocation.With a flourish of his fingers, Rodman said, “Sir, you have a friend for life.”This cheerful scene—billed as “basketball diplomacy”—was soon complicated by developments in U. After Rodman’s visit, North Korea, which had recently been hit with tighter U. sanctions, scrapped its 1953 armistice with South Korea and threatened a preëmptive nuclear attack on the United States. This was not helped by a report from Ryan Duffy, a Vice correspondent, on Kim Jong-un’s hospitality: “Dinner was an epic feast. I’d say the winners were the smoked turkey and sushi, though we had the Pyongyang cold noodles earlier in the trip and that’s been the runaway favorite so far.” Rodman, speaking to reporters in Pyongyang, professed his admiration for the Supreme Leader: “Guess what!
The idea for the trip, he said, had come about during the making of a previous Vice documentary in Pyongyang, in 2010. Over the years, he has worked in ad sales and, increasingly, in a managerial and editorial role, which includes starring in the HBO show.
Not long after Rodman’s trip, I went to see Smith at the company’s headquarters, a set of converted warehouses in Williamsburg.
Smith met me in the Bear Room, a conference room decorated with a Persian rug and a grizzly bear, now stuffed, that had been shot after surprising Vice producers filming in Alaska.
But Fareed Zakaria, the “loosened the format” of television reporting.
“What Vice is trying to do is to get a new audience interested in the world,” he said.
Let’s have fourteen bottles of wine at dinner, roast suckling pig, and a story about chopping a dude’s head off in the desert.”Vice’s show on HBO has the tagline “News from the edge.” Besides North Korea, “Vice” takes on subjects from political assassinations in the Philippines to India’s nuclear standoff with Pakistan.