Vanity Fair profiles The eXile: "Gutsy...visceral...serious journalism...abusive, defamatory...poignant...paranoid...and right!"
MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
John Dolan

hitchens dying waterboard

If you’re like us, you’re sick and tired of having to wait around for some loathsome celebrity to die just to read their obituary. Who says we can’t read the obituary before they die, on our own time? This is about empowering us, the non-celebrities, so that we can get our celebrity ghoul-pool porn fix when we feel like it, rather than waiting for their terminal illness to decide.

Which is why we here at The eXiled have developed a revolutionary new tool that will transform the literary death-watch. It’s a new technology we call “The Pre-legy.” At eXiled, we’re not content to wait for the doctors to give us the thumbs-down and the ol’ sad face. We want to know what folks’ll be saying after a celebrity death, without waiting for that celeb’s pig-valve heart to flatline.

Take our old friend Christopher “Hic!” Hitchens: instead of waiting for the throat cancer to take him away, we decided to get proactively involved in the ol’ warmonger’s impending death by generating, through our new technology, The Big Eulogy (or “Pre-legy) we’re all waiting for: the Martin Amis funeral speech, before it’s written. We managed to get ahold of the Amis eulogy in-advance thanks to an old Russian software programmer we know, who zombied up for us a virtual Martin Amis that can squirt out highbrow virtu-tears over the upcoming death of Amis’ best bud, Chris Hitchens. (more…)

Posted: September 17th, 2010


When Amazon started printing readers’ book reviews on the net, a window opened briefly on the mental worlds of ordinary people — or, as Harry Dean Stanton so memorably called them, “ordinary fuckin’ people.”

Everyone should have a look at these reviews once in a while, to get an idea of what actually goes on in the heads of the other people who sit in a theater with you, not laughing at all the best lines, and applauding all the stuff you hate.

Hell, it turns out, isn’t other people; Hell is other people reviewing on (more…)

Posted: September 6th, 2010


This review was first published in The eXile on March 21, 2002.

Jonathan Franzen’s novel The Corrections, billed as a masterpiece, is a worthless fraud, a hopelessly trite story gaudied up with tedious overwriting. The overwriting is meant to conceal the fact that this novel is a simple mix of three of the most hackneyed storylines in American fiction:

  1. The picaresque adventures of a feckless male academic, borrowed from DeLillo;
  2. The sentimental tale of the decay and death of one’s parents as in Dave Eggers’s “masterpiece”;
  3. The old, old plot device of the family Christmas reunion to bring the centrifugal parents and kids back together again against all odds, as in every sentimental John Hughes movie ever made and about a thousand more before him.

That, folks, is all there is to this mess: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation meets dying-parents memoir meets Manhattanite satire Lite. God help me, but that’s it! (more…)

Posted: August 27th, 2010

die hippies2

This is the 5th installment of John Dolan’s work-in-progress “Stupid (Or, How To Lose Money Running A Speed Lab).” Read the previous installment “Every Flake A 20 Dollar Bill” by clicking here.

Butler knelt by the beaker while the white flakes drifted down, chanting “every one a $20 bill.” There didn’t seem to me to be as many as there were supposed to be, a light snow at the bottom of whatever toxic liquid was in the beaker. But he was the Chem Major, not me.

And the sooner we finished the final sacrament the sooner we could pack up the Frankenstein glassware and pour the leftover poisons down the sink and get out of there.

I did feel bad about leaving my parents’ property steeped with the cat-pee smell of speed cookery. Even asked Butler to help me wipe the walls down, but he had to tend to the product. We bagged it, still wet and yellower than I’d expected, more like a paste than powder. He double- and triple-bagged it, put it inside his Clark Kent sportcoat and headed back to Berkeley. (more…)

Posted: May 9th, 2010

Speed Lab

This is the fourth installment of John Dolan’s work-in-progress, “Stupid, Or How To Lose Money Running A Speedlab.” Read part three or jump to part one.

That was the longest week of my life. Pure terror, and I’m a fear specialist. There is no terror like the terror that follows a loud knock on the door while you’re cooking up a batch of speed.

And the knocks kept coming, the whole long seven days I sat there leaning over the bathtub checking the thermometer in the potion bubbling on the bunsen burner. Because the local paper, the Benecia Herald, was having a circulation drive. So several times a day, as I decanted some toxic precursor into some other highly flammable solvent, there would be an apocalyptic banging on the old front door. The knock that says: Cops. DEA. San Quentin. Maximum security. Life as the bespectacled bitch of your cellblock. (more…)

Posted: April 3rd, 2010

Top of the World

This is the third installment of John Dolan’s work-in-progress, “Stupid, Or How To Lose Money Running A Speedlab.” Read part two here.

It was time to cook up our batch of speed. We were going to do the cooking at a rickety old  house my mother owned in Benicia, just over the bridge from Martinez. Benicia is one of those sad historical towns. It was the capital of California for a while until Sacramento up the river bribed someone to steal the title. There are a lot of plaques all over Benicia to remind you of the great defeat, and photos of Civil-War-era camels. The town was the headquarters of the California Camel Corps, one of the U.S. Army’s nineteenth-century boondoggles. They imported dromedaries to cross the great American deserts, momentarily forgetting that there was this thing called “railroads” that could do it faster. The camels were redlined from the budget and shot. (more…)

Posted: March 25th, 2010


This is the second installment of John Dolan’s work-in-progress, “Stupid, Or How To Lose Money Running A Speedlab.” Read part one here.

If it hadn’t been for Bongoburgers there would have been no speedlab for me. Bongoburgers was my first gang, my first friends. It was happiness, and that happiness gave me the strength, the ego, to try to become a bad person.

It’s funny about happiness; I have no problem going on and on about misery, but it makes me very queasy to admit I was happy in the Bongoburgers Era.

Bongoburgers was a fast food place on Dwight Way run by Iranian refugees. Paul and Terry, the two main people in our group, split the rent on the apartment above the grill, so we called their place “Bongoburgers.” It stood for the fact that there were a lot of us and we were all welcome there. (more…)

Posted: March 19th, 2010