I only worked as a journalist for about six months of this year. I’d pushed myself too hard, and I’d started waking up with the shakes, the sweats. I’d internalised a lot of bad human times out there on the fringe and you don’t just turn them off. Not if you care about things and stuff, which I wish I didn’t – brutally, honestly – but I do, and in a very bleeding way. Scant two years back, I just wanted to be the most ballin’ ass traveling bard of the world’s condition around, never mind the effect. Everything had to have its toes pointed on the edge, it had to fit with this ideal I’d built and forcibly shadowed everyone with. It was all about me. Along the the way, my motives became a lot purer than that. A lot more selfless. I forgot me, and good riddance. When it becomes about the author and not the book, you are failing. If someone’s byline is figuratively bigger than their headline they are no longer an empathic truth-seeker, but a reliable shill of opinion incapable of objectivity. It’s useless, self-serving. Preaching to the choir is my enemy. 2014 is when I realised that.
Despite not being a Buddhist, I wear the lotus symbol on a bunch of my clothes, earrings, all that. It helps remind me of the purity of my intent, something I am now very sure about. Hopefully the work I’ve highlighted here speaks to that. This post isn’t gonna stay up long. It’s just me deciding whether I was a useful idiot this year or just an idiot. We are all of us riven with doubts in the age of public personal curation, so instead of leaving it in the hands of a potentially perverse Facebook algorithm, I’ll be the judge of myself (and you can be too, if you care to):
SALON, April 19th
This guy Kyle Hunt started the White Man March (which is exactly what it says it is), so I tracked him down to talk about it. Some people were pissed off about it. This piece was my debut for Salon and gained a lot of traction, and less than a week later Kyle quit what he was doing. I can’t claim full credit, but the timing’s enough that I can safely say I think I helped. My penance is having to stare at this guy’s face whenever I reference this feature. A small price to pay.
VICE, May 12th
Out in San Fran, there is a gay porn studio called Treasure Island Media. Unlike many porn studios (of any variety), they are still making a lot of money. The reason: Productions such as Viral Loads, which puts HIV negative and positive performers together in bareback scenarios both vanilla and totally not. Studio owner Paul Morris hadn’t given a proper interview for something like a decade, but I think he liked my hair. This was later repressed in DNA magazine #175 as ‘Temptation of Treasure Island/After the Jar.’
SPOOK, September 3rd
Have had this habit for a little while now of ‘David Lynching’ it, which is to say: I don’t really know what I’m doing at the time, only that I know what I’m doing will become clear to me later. So it was when I went after Bavarian scribe Timur Vermes, who authored controversial Hitler satire Er is weider da. It was majorly successful. When it was translated into English this year as Look Who’s Back, I got into the most profound coffee-sation with Timur about how fascism takes root; how it is the will of the people and does not just combust into dictatorial existence. Many a parallel back to what’s been going on here at home in Australia drew itself almost instantly.
// The Jeffrey Yohalem Files
IGN, August 20th, August 31st, September 28th
Jeffrey Yohalem is an award-winning writer for award-winning video games like Far Cry 3. I met him a few years ago when he was out in AU ahead of the release of said game, and we kept in contact. One night I just felt like talking to him. The result was a sprawling trilogy taking in all kinds of topics – life, love, sex, death, some of Jeffrey and I’s favourites – that was published on IGN over a period of weeks.
VICE, August 14th
This was the last thing I filed before dropping off the grid for a while, and it ended up being the ‘biggest’ thing I’ve done, especially in terms of how many weird MRAs started pissing at me on Twitter. I actually spent so much time communicating with and profiling Krista that I was jiving around with a pretty tight Southern lilt to my voice for a good few months afterwards. This was later translated to the German (and the French, I just saw) as well, and was picked up by so many places I don’t even know what’s happening anymore. Reddit had a conniption and some guy sent Vice a sternly worded email threatening to sue the ass out of my assets, which made my editor laugh because she knows how much I get paid.
This year some other really cool stuff I did appeared under a nigh-on unguessable pseudonym, but I won’t be sharing any of that both to protect certain parties and because whatever. It’s necessary. Just like a skinny chef, never trust a writer who talks more than they write. Was I useful?
See you in ’15,