THE UNDERGROUND NEWS station VBS.tv produces some of the most incredible ground-level content I’ve ever seen. They’ve bribed their way into North Korea, met with black market dirty bomb dealers in Bulgaria, and interviewed a Scandinavian who claims he’s the ruler of the Andromeda galaxy, and captured everything on film.
But I hate their slow, clunky, and poorly organized website. Despite an abundance of great and groundbreaking investigative journalism, it’s extremely frustrating to wade through dozens of ads and bandwidth-gorging media plastered all over the site. Not to mention big chunks of skater/indie music coverage that’s cool but not as relevant to my interests. Mostly, when I tell people to check the site out, they later say “I went there, but didn’t really know what to do.”
So, I decided to lay out in clean, plain text the VBS documentaries* that I’d recommend to anyone with 10 minutes or more of free time, giving you a resource to come return to once you’re cursing the site’s cumbersomeness. Each is amazing, but I’ve rated them with the latest scientific approval metrics, the Matadorian Index, based on degree of mind-blowing-ness.scopolamine, a derivative drug from a plant found all over Colombia, which VBS goes to investigate. In short, the drug is more of a weapon, capable of turning victims into the enslaved zombies of the person that gave it to them. The fact that it exists is mind-blowing enough–and VBS takes it head-on at every level, interviewing both victims and perpetrators, and even buying some off the street from a cracked out Colombiano named Demencia Black. Jeremiah Johnson come to life. He wanted to get “away from it all,” so he picked a place no one was going: Arctic Alaska. He’s been living in the Alaska bush for more than 30 years, creating a fully sustainable lifestyle while living over 100 miles from the nearest human. Bears attack, fish are eaten, and Heimo drops the kind of knowledge only available from one of the world’s last frontiersmen.
Nzambi –– The son of renown documentarian Errol Morris (Fog of War), Hamilton Morris has become Vice / VBS’s resident psychopharmacological expert, channeling the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson dressed up in the body of a pale, bony hipster. In “Nzambi,” Hamilton travels to Haiti to investigate the cultural origins and any possible truthiness to the Nzambi (Zombie) of Voodoo culture, whereby criminals are given a concoction of zombifying potential. Hamilton attends a few strange witch-doctor ceremonies and gets incredibly stoned, but whether or not the Nzambi can be called legitimate will be left for you to decide. Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s a massive, floating island of trash and waste sitting in the middle of nowhere, possibly about the size of Texas. This is a long video, but well worth your time and all of our attention. Many riots broke out over the years, but the prison saw a breaking point when more than 100 inates were slaughtered by the military’s automatic rifles. In this video, VBS visits where the prison used to stand, and talks with a former employee who holds a collection of thousands of items left over from the hellish penitentiary.
*Note: These are the best of the ones I’ve been able to find–as I’m just now publishing, I’m still discovering new videos (that are years old) through the site. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
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