Posts from the edge with Los Angeles' most subversive ‘blog with a talkshow’
In their own words, “Dangerous Minds is a compendium of the new and strange – new ideas, new art forms, new approaches to social issues and new finds from the outer reaches of pop culture.” Based in Los Angeles and started in May 2009 by Richard Metzger, one-time host of notorious 2000 Channel 4 TV show Disinformation (never aired in the US), DM’s crew of contributors have a knack for digging out the best of contemporary cultural craziness alongside lost nuggets of psychedelic ephemera, as well as a unique TV chatshow.
Dazed Digital: Dangerous Minds covers an eclectic selection of topics. Where do you look for inspiration?
Richard Metzger: We all consume enormous amounts of information each day… Tara, who speaks no German, even reads German blogs with Google Translate. Every single one of us is also a huge record collector and I think it's pretty obvious that we're all major-league music nerds. And it must be "dangerous" in some way. No one is going to write about sports on Dangerous Minds, ever – that's for sure.
DD: Was Dangerous Minds always conceived of as a web project?
Richard Metzger: It started out as a "talkshow with a blog" and ended up becoming a "blog with a talkshow." Jason Calacanis [dotcom serial entrepreneur], an old friend of mine, absolutely *insisted* that I do a talkshow in his studio. I was so focused on doing something on television and all that bullshit, that I was too distracted to realise I just could do it myself on the internet and didn't need to ask anyone's permission. Admittedly, it's also rather handy to have a friend who is a multimillionaire who owns a five-camera TV studio.
DD: And how do you feel about print at the moment?
Richard Metzger: Last year I was working as an editor at the Los Angeles Times and whenever someone would ask me "Where do you see the Times in five years?", my stock answer was always: "With Nick Denton [Gawker Media's head honcho] buying the trademark in bankruptcy court for pennies on the dollar." Fashion magazines and some speciality publications aside, most people simply don't care to wait for their news to be printed and delivered to their house any more. Neither are they going to pay for it on the internet. If the entire New York Times went behind a pay wall, I mean, *who the fuck would care*?
DD: Do each of you have different roles editorially, and how does that express itself?
Richard Metzger: I tend to focus on politics, rightwing and religious lunatics, and music. Group blogs are put together in fairly anarchic ways and this one is no exception. Marc put up a post the other day titled "Daggering: The dance that can break your dick."
DD: Do you think ideas can still be dangerous? Wikileaks could be said to be a dangerous idea, but do you think the things you cover can still be disruptive in a world of status updates and LOLcats?
Richard Metzger: Yes, of course! That's the fun in it. I've seen – several times – where something one of us has discovered quite early in the memetic cycle, goes from DM to Boing Boing to Rachel Maddow's show on MSNBC… I'm thinking of one thing in particular, which was Obama's speeches played backwards to reveal Satanic messages. And then the Maddow clip will end up on Huffington Post. And we're still in our pajamas, you know what I mean?
DD: Quite a few of your articles mock the intellectual paucity of the American right – do you have a political agenda?
Richard Metzger: There are some dirty, rotten scoundrels on the right in America. Bigots, liars, gay-baiting politicians who themselves are homosexual, anti-Muslim fanatics like the totally insane Pamela Geller... these people need to be mocked and they should be mocked. We're happy to oblige.
DD: Is Fox News something that needs to be actively resisted by 'normal' people? How?
Richard Metzger: Ridicule and constant fact-checking. And then more ridicule. Don’t forget it was my former company that put out "OutFOXed" on DVD. I've invested my own money into this fight. FOX News is a corrosive influence in American life.
DD: How have you funded yourselves?
Richard Metzger: Blogging takes a daily time commitment that is not inconsiderable. The advertising has been ramping up pretty quickly of late and that's coincided with the traffic growing to around 160,000 page views per day. Five million page views a month can certainly be monetised, and who knows what happens a year from now. The actual monetary investment was, and is, pretty minimal.
DD: Come the apocalypse, where will you be hanging out and what will you be doing?
Richard Metzger: Tara and I will be with our dogs. We don't have anything special planned.
The Dangerous Minds team’s all-time favourite stories:
Richard Metzger: Bongwater – The Power of Pussy
Tara McGinley: Klaus Kinski Skateboard
Brad Laner: Final Placement
Ron Nachmann: The William S Burroughs Beatles Connection