Issue #08/63, April 22 - May 6, 1999
"eXile". When we first thought up the name, we were at least half-joking. In a country where millions of people over the centuries have suffered genuinely gnarly exile--sent to ice-covered hell-holes far to the east to be worked to death--the idea of a bunch of TV-overdosed dweeb dropouts from the American suburbs calling their two-bit biweekly club guide an "eXile" publication was preposterous at the very least, and genuinely offensive at most. At the time, we didn't really care,
Then came war in Kosovo. Our country bombing the shit of our Russia's favorite li'l nation in the world that it doesn't share a border with.
America could have chosen dozens of countries to bomb, none of which would have pissed off the Russians. If being a humanitarian Tom Clancy was what this was all about, we could have taken sides in the Ethiopia-Eritrean conflict. It's all flatland desert, and they're pretty poor. If what we were after was lousy weather, bad terrain and tribal warfare, we could have taken our pick from Sudan to Sri Lanka and no one in Russia would have batted an eye, while the eXile would have been able to mosey along sneering at all and sundry, and proudly flashing our Death Porn T-shirts to the world.
Most people here, us included, probably wouldn't have given a spotted owl's ass about Kosovo if we hadn't been stranded, suddenly, overnight, like citizens of a hostile country during wartime. That's because, by bombing the Serbs, the Clinton people forgot that we were, in effect, bombing the Russian people. It doesn't matter whether WE think it's a rational reaction; they do, and they're pissed off. We'd have been just as apathetic and indifferent as the 265 million Americans living on the mainland. Like them, we'd return from our unsatisfying jobs every evening, turn on CNN and pop woodies during the Pentagon briefings while gorging on a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey, before flipping to the Discovery Channel's documentary on the F-117. In other words, we'd care as long as our attention spans would allow. That's our right.
But this time, we have no choice. Much as we'd like to, we can't be apathetic, if only because our pimply, hairy asses are suddenly on the line. Our hosts are now convinced that we're citizens of a terrifying, unpredictable, aggressive country. If one day the Russians snap and make us do a rope dance from a Tverskaya Ulitsa lamppost, then we at least want to know why.
In fact, it's not too difficult to understand the Russian position. Americans may think that this war is about Nazis versus Jews, but most people here know that the Serb-Albanian flareup is just the latest episode in a centuries-old Balkan blood feud. One meth-fueled night on the Internet reading the American media reports on Kosovo was enough to crank our paranoia pistons into high gear. American newspapers, television programs and wire services are so lazy, provincial, jingoistic and smug that they barely even bother to repackage the fluff they're fed by the Pentagon and NATO--who, you might think, would have a certain interest in spinning the story in a certain way. Even a macho hippie like Oliver Stone couldn't have woven together a more perfect, evil war-propaganda conspiracy. Only Stone would have had at least one sympathetic character: the poor, innocent, betrayed American public.
Tchya, right. The American public isn't innocent; it just can't be bothered. As every publisher and producer knows, the surest way to lose your public is make them question what they hear on the news. Phone calls and emails to family in the US are proof. Try presenting them with solid, irrefutable evidence of your government's idiotic, savage behavior in Serbia and they'll say, "Yeah, well, look, whatever. I don't really give a shit."
The lucky bastards have no idea how good they have it, being apathetic and all. Goddamn apathy-hogs. In fact, it's downright maddening that because of the American public's resolute will-to-apathy, we ourselves can no longer say things like, "Who cares, man?" without risking having our stripped and bloodied corpses dragged from the back of a Volga around and around the Garden Ring Road.
So now we're taking revenge. If the entire American press is going to spout the NATO position on Kosovo with one single, collective Soviet mind, and if the public is going to continue accepting--in fact, demanding--the kind of apathy-friendly good NATO/bad Serb narrative that they're now receiving, then we have no choice but to take a steaming hot dump on their front doorstep. It's the only language these people understand.
So here's what we propose. From now until the end of the Kosovo War, the eXile is hereby transforming itself into a dissident American newspaper. That's right, you heard us: we are now dedicated to being a dissident, EmigrE newspaper, along the lines of Novaya Russkaya Slovo. If the entire American press corps is committed to showing only one side of the war, and if America's idiotic Balkan aggression is going to make us pariahs in the Russia we love, then we're going to do our best to take as many Americans as we can grab down with us.
Don't take us seriously? Well, you better.
We got the team. That's right. We've got the extra time on our hands. That's double-right. And we've got you, the eXhole reader, stuck reading us whether you like it or not. The days of mentally grazing in the fields of abundant idiocy are over, folks. We're gonna put America's propaganda machine through a turbocharged woodchipper--remember that woodchipper scene in Fargo? Yeah--like that. And we aim to make it as messy as possible.