Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vigilante Television: VICE tv on HBO’s “Basketball Diplomacy”

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I just watched the best television of my life. In general, Vigilante Living  does not find much of inspiration on the tele. But that was because we did not know about VICE tv on HBO. I stumbled upon VICE’s brilliant episode Basketball Diplomacy last night. This was hands down the most intelligent, creative and ballsy television reporting I have ever seen. Featuring none other than: The Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, Dennis Rodman, the Harlem Globetrotters, and VICE’s irreverent non-basketball playing reporter. I don’t want to spoil the experience for you by describing it too much. But watch it. This is how VICE describes the Basketball Diplomacy episode:

“U.S. relations with North Korea have been strained to the breaking point by the country’s disturbing nuclear-weapons threats, backed by “supreme leader” Kim Jong-un’s anti-American rhetoric. Fortunately, Kim shares one of his late father’s passions: American basketball. With that in mind, and through official and backdoor channels, VICE organized an unlikely, highly publicized trip to North Korea, hoping to thaw out relations through some hoops diplomacy. With NBA great Dennis Rodman and a trio of exuberant Harlem Globetrotters in tow, VICE traveled to the capital of Pyongyang for a surreal tour of the city, a basketball clinic with under-18 players, an exhibition game witnessed by Kim and 10,000 adoring fans, and – most surprising – a first-ever meeting between the baby-faced leader and an American delegation.”

Where else can you get schooled in international relations, observe a monumental toast by Rodman face-pierced and all, and view a window into the world of the last communist stronghold? They even get drunk together after the basketball tournament. This is what Vigilante Living is about too: seeking substantial meaning, having cojones, thinking rebelliously, and finding yourself attracted to things that seemingly don’t go together until you actually mix them yourself.

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All photographs courtesy of hbo.vice.com

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