LEO MARX

Senior Editor, Culture

Co-founder, car lover, and gecko rancher.
 
A chaot­ic, machin­ing ruffian.
 
It is sus­pect­ed that the rest­less spir­it of Hunter S. Thomp­son him­self haunts his dai­ly thoughts, and that he’s endured at least 13 pre­vi­ous lives as a sloth.
I am now three weeks deep into a Berlin tech­no binge and an endeav­or to up my fash­ion game.
 
(The two are not relat­ed in any way.)
I’d like to say that I’ve always dressed myself nice as an adult. (David boasts about me very often on our outings.)
 
With that stat­ed, I still found this unwa­ver­ing need to increase my fash­ion sense and dress bet­ter, and not by just suit­ing up con­stant­ly like that fuck in that shit tele­vi­sion show… How I Met Your Mother.
 
I’m sure­ly going to catch flack for that state­ment, but I don’t often find myself car­ing about the feel­ings of those who enjoy laugh tracks.
 
So if I wasn’t going to dress up in a three piece every day and look like a super pre­ten­tious dick when I left my home, what could I do? I had hon­est­ly been pon­der­ing this ques­tion about my ears for some­time, until one day, I final­ly saw a top post from /r/streetwear.*
 
*Yes, I do browse Red­dit, which is not reflec­tive of the rest of our edi­to­r­i­al staff.
 
I was instant­ly entranced with a new sub­cul­ture of well-dressed men and women that imme­di­ate­ly looked great. A tribe.
Now, for a drunk­en com­par­i­son of Dandy­ism and streetwear.
Streetwear is near­ing 21st cen­tu­ry equiv­a­len­cy with Dandy­ism - a sub­cul­ture of men in the 1800s that dressed very flam­boy­ant­ly - almost like Yan­kee doo­dle. Fuck­er wore a feath­er in his hat.
 
Dandys would have pub­lic com­pe­ti­tions to see who could redress in the great­est out­ra­geous, yet fash­ion­able garb the most in a sin­gle day. For the truest and wealth­i­est among them, it became a lifestyle - the hand­made cloth­ing, dyes, and mate­ri­als all of the finest cal­iber (and expen­sive as hell, I’d imag­ine.) In that sense, the two have a lot in common.
 
(If that didn’t make sense, don’t wor­ry about it - I was drunk.)
 
A bet­ter expla­na­tion: in its rawest form, streetwear is sim­ply small-time indie skate­board cloth­ing from the 1990s turned high-fash­ion. Since, it’s absorbed oth­er sub­styles like tech­wear, but we’ll come back to that.
 
Streetwear sup­pli­ers have meta­mor­phosed into lux­u­ry brands because their prod­ucts have become vir­tu­al­ly unat­tain­able to the com­mon­er, and peo­ple will pay A Shit Load for t-shirts from resellers with a small red box logo. Seri­ous­ly, fuck the stock mar­ket - reselling streetwear is a bet­ter hustle.
 
Kanye West’s Yeezy” brand sold com­plete­ly out at launch for a rea­son­able $220 - and that’s still two big ones, but it’s doable for a lot of us if we save up for a bit.
 
Now… say you couldn’t cuff a pair from a retail­er on day one. Well boi/gal… you are fucked. $1200 is con­sid­ered a bar­gain on some pairs, buy­ing on the net or resale stores.
 
If you’ve got the start­up cap­i­tal and the time to scalp peo­ple on streetwear cloth­ing, it is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed. My bud­dy has a friend who once dealt drugs with some noto­ri­ety, but switched to streetwear resale, a few years ago, and now nets high­er gains than ever.
 
Some read­ers may find this upset­ting, as will man­u­fac­tur­ers, con­sid­er­ing their ori­gins in DIY skate­board­ing. They’d pre­fer nor­mal, law-abid­ing, skate­board­ing cus­tomers, who often find retail prices unaf­ford­ably steep. In the past, com­pa­nies have open­ly dis­cour­aged resale, yet the appar­ent sim­ple fix would be to increase their num­ber of prod­ucts sold. The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, their exclu­siv­i­ty would suf­fer neg­a­tive con­se­quences, though.
 
Kanye West has spo­ken out on the top­ic, and intend­ed to up the release quan­ti­ty of Yeezy V2s, but some­thing ran amok in the fac­to­ries, like­ly sus­tain­ing their scarci­ty until lat­er this year. At least Yeezus tried.
 
Should you find your­self des­per­ate for a pair or two, there are alter­na­tives to a $1200 wait. You could always par­take in the evil under­bel­ly of fash­ion: boot­leg­ging.
 
The issue is very much like a two-par­­ty Amer­i­can polit­i­cal debate. Both sides - for, or a against it - duke it out on forums and social media. The most detri­men­tal effect of the prac­tice is in the dis­tri­b­u­tion of rev­enue, which flows in unknown por­tions into the sex trade by way of child labor. While it could be a legit­i­mate accu­sa­tion, we all know that tak­ing the veil off of com­pa­nies like [REDACTED,] [REDACTED,] or [REDACTED,] would reveal less-than-pious fac­to­ry con­di­tions, so look­ing down at indi­vid­u­als wear­ing boot­legged appar­el from a moral high ground makes you look like an ass.
 
On the oth­er hand, denial in the inter­est of look­ing cool on the part of the wear­er in such sit­u­a­tions rel­e­gates him/her to piece of shit sta­tus, too. I own a pair of UA(unau­tho­rized) Yeezys, and I’ll tell the truth if I’m asked in per­son, though the Mid­west cul­ture seems to be rel­a­tive­ly apa­thet­ic about fash­ion authenticity.
 
Mis­souri Grand­moth­ers don’t care about anyone’s shoes, unless they make you look like a stripper.
 
I don’t feel bad about my mon­ey going to some shadey fac­to­ry - sor­ry Kanye, you’re not get­ting $200 from me, today. I’m okay with divert­ing my invest­ment away from you or Addi­das - I think you’ll all be just fine with­out my finan­cial support.
 
Tech­ni­cal­ly, there is a third and final option. Find cheap, unbrand­ed cloth­ing on the inter­net that looks like some­thing expen­sive, and rock it. Per­haps even get your­self a screen print­ing press and make your own shit. (I’ve been think­ing about this for Extra­tone.) The only draw­back: you won’t be flex­ing a $3000 out­fit, and some peo­ple on the inter­net will say mean things. Then again, they’ll always say mean things, and there’s no rea­son to lis­ten to them if you think you look good.
 
Unless you’re wear­ing socks with san­dals and car­go shorts… Then, you’re in need of some deep self-reflection.
 
 
Let’s get the first (and prob­a­bly most impor­tant) rule out of the way:
coffee.
Cof­fee is the only sub­stance of choice for indulging in caffeine. 
 
All oth­er options are bull­shit meth­ods of inges­tion, and should not be relied upon under any cir­cum­stance save for a real need of a fix. This is a sim­ple rule, and it needn’t fur­ther explanation.

Rule two: coffee is to be had black.

Cream and sug­ar are for the weak. If you must spice up your cof­fee, I would high­ly sug­gest whisk(e)y.

Once you’ve mas­tered these two, you’re on your way to an elite addic­tion. As with most of these, caf­feine is like a coun­try club - it will take much more from you than it will even­tu­al­ly give back.
 
Caf­feine will - no mat­ter your race or creed - cause you need to shit furi­ous­ly until you’ve adapt­ed to it, and sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase the inten­si­ty of your urges to uri­nate. I can’t tell you how long this’ll last, or if the side effects will ever go away. I think that peo­ple just become used to them, though you can coun­ter­act their sever­i­ty but increas­ing your dai­ly water intake.
Now that you are a caf­feine addict, you’ll need to tack­le what any good addict of any drug does: snob­bery prevention.
 
Nobody likes a weed snob, and the same goes for a cof­fee snob. Find your­self a sim­ple brew you like, and stick to it. Noth­ing crazy.
 
Get a cup — and only a basic cof­fee cup.
 
Don’t be flashy. Six foot bongs are stu­pid, and so are high-end mugs. A good alco­holic sticks to some­thing sim­ple, and so should you.
 
Caf­feine addic­tion is a dou­ble-edged sword, but that doesn’t mean you have to get cut by it. Fol­low these rules, and you will be fine.
Or don’t… this is only a rant of The Mad Mind of Marx.

Talk­ing about vape cul­ture with­out sound­ing like a heretic or hyp­ocrite is going to be a great labor for me, but it needs to be done. 

My work won’t be struc­tured — it’s just how I write. My title is Senior Cul­ture Edi­tor, but I leave the edit­ing to David.

As I begin on this top­ic, I can tell it’s going to be long and drawn-out. It will — by no doubt of the imag­i­na­tion — con­tain end­less run-on sen­tences and gram­mat­i­cal errors. Read­ers may get lost.

This is how I think, and my writ­ings are my thoughts, but layed out physically.

Sor­ry to be off-top­ic, but I felt it should be stat­ed for future reference.

(The Ed. would like to thank the Sun for the writer’s thoughts, and remind him that he needn’t apologize.)

V A P I N G

When many peo­ple think of vap­ing or vapers, some images come to mind. Espe­cial­ly if they them­selves do not use an elec­tron­ic nico­tine deliv­ery system. 

I’m going to go off on a limb, here — and I’m fair­ly cer­tain it’s a stur­dy one — and refute these images.

The com­mon assump­tions about vap­ing and vapers are wrong.

But what is an assumption?

Assump­tions are ideas that one con­structs in their mind about some­thing, some­one, or some sit­u­a­tion that is not nec­es­sar­i­ly born of fact. They’re more like opin­ions; some­thing one thinks they may know, regard­less of real­i­ty. They — the assumer — pre-decide and stereo­type, usu­al­ly with­out any inter­est in more knowl­edge about a giv­en sit­u­a­tion or person. 

When some­one assumes some­thing, they are decid­ing that what­ev­er knowl­edge they have is the real­i­ty of the situation. 

This is when an assump­tion becomes dan­ger­ous.

Fur­ther­more, I dis­like use of the word, itself, for some reason.

Assump­tions are bad.

Peo­ple often make what they would call a safe assump­tion: an assump­tion that is believed to not cause harm the sub­ject being assumed.
 
To me, this is still an assump­tion nonethe­less, and — as I have seen and expe­ri­enced, being on both ends of a safe assump­tion — many times a safe assump­tion can be proven to be wrong. Or at least, from what I have seen it can be. (This state­ment in and of itself could be an assump­tion, and there are excep­tions, but nev­er mind that.)
 
The point here is the fact that peo­ple make many assump­tions about vap­ing, vapers and the vape com­mu­ni­ty. From what I know, many of these assump­tions are not true. They may be true to small groups of peo­ple, but for the major­i­ty, they are not the real­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion. I won’t get into the deci­sion of what real­i­ty is for this writ­ing, I, myself don’t have time for that dis­cus­sion or the will to explain my opin­ion on it.
 
Why are there assump­tions and mis­con­cep­tions about vaping?
 
I’m not com­plete­ly sure why peo­ple make assump­tions about vap­ing and peo­ple who vape. I think it might come from a mis­un­der­stand­ing, some neg­a­tive stereo­types, and how new the activ­i­ty of vap­ing is.

As far as I can tell, vap­ing is still some­what in its ado­les­cence, only real­ly com­ing to the world in the late oughts. Almost a decade has passed, but that isn’t long in the world of drugs and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts, I’ve found. 

Most peo­ple who vape would con­sid­er the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of devices fair­ly new, and there is a con­stant force of devel­op­ment behind this tech­nol­o­gy. From some­one who start­ed vap­ing just three years ago, much has changed in the realm. It’s a new thing, and I’m pos­i­tive this is why there is a stig­ma sur­round­ing it. 

This is true of plen­ty of idols, includ­ing auto­mo­tives, music, and com­put­er technology. 

When hybrid cars came on the mar­ket, there was (and still very much is) a stereo­type for the peo­ple that pur­chase and dri­ve them. This is hap­pen­ing to vapes, and it will con­tin­ue. This is not a new con­cept; it’s been cov­ered and talked about plen­ty of times before. 

I am only bring­ing it up because I feel there should be a change of mind and atti­tude to vap­ing and all things that are new.

That said, I’m not advo­cat­ing for any­one to go pick up a black box from which to suck nico­tine into their lungs.

So what the hell is vap­ing and who is doing it?

I, myself, am no authority.
I have devel­oped my opin­ion from my own expe­ri­ences in par­tak­ing and the vape com­mu­ni­ty. Sim­ply put, vap­ing is just an alter­na­tive form of ingest­ing nico­tine, as far as I’m con­cerned, but — like all things — there real­ly is much more to it.

There are a num­ber of peo­ple (I’m real­ly not sure the exact num­ber, and don’t care to look for it) who use vapes that have no nico­tine in the liq­uid they inhale. Be this because they have weaned them­selves off of nico­tine and haven’t dropped the habit of smoking/vaping, or they vape to be part of a com­mu­ni­ty and enjoy “blow­ing fat clouds.” These two exam­ples of vapers are vague in the descrip­tion of who these peo­ple are in life. This is where the assump­tions and stereo­types start com­ing into play.

From what I have seen and heard, most peo­ple assume the stereo­types of “bro” or “douchebag” of the guy that likes to blow fat clouds. This stereo­type is some­times true, of course, but I have often seen it to be extreme­ly false. I have met and know a good deal of men and women who are very much not the bro stereo­type and enjoy the activ­i­ty of cloud chas­ing or as a bro may say, uniron­i­cal­ly, “blow­ing them fat clouds.”

Why do they enjoy it?

Myself, I am not com­plete­ly sure.

I can only say that I did this because I thought it was extreme­ly fun­ny turn­ing myself into a human smoke machine while mak­ing steam loco­mo­tive nois­es. There are many types of peo­ple who vape, and they all have their own rea­sons why. The main rea­son I have seen peo­ple start­ed vap­ing is that they want­ed to stop or cut back on smok­ing.

Why this is a good rea­son is cur­rent­ly up for debate in the health sci­ence com­mu­ni­ty, and this will con­tin­ue to be until long-term stud­ies are completed. 

As far as I can tell from a hand­ful of short stud­ies done on vap­ing, vap­ing is gen­er­al­ly a safer alter­na­tive to smok­ing tobac­co cigarettes. 

How much safer? I’m not sure. 

From one arti­cle I saw about a year ago from Pub­lic Health Eng­land, it was said to be 95% safer. To me, this sounds a tad fairy-tal­ish, but I am a skep­tic of many things. That said, I still con­tin­ue to use a vape as my nico­tine source. I could now cov­er the many types of peo­ple who vape and the rea­sons, but being a per­son with the need to talk about myself, I’ll talk about myself. 

I start­ed vap­ing pure­ly because I thought vap­ing looked cyber­punk; even Blade Run­ner-esc.

I didn’t do it to cut back from smoking.

That wasn’t until late last year.

After I start­ed vap­ing, I found myself enjoy­ing the tech­ni­cal side of it — the sci­ence of mak­ing fat clouds in a safe way. 

I found a hob­by in build­ing coils and try­ing to bet­ter my crafts­man­ship in it, though this only last­ed about a year. 

I stopped vap­ing more or less for the next year. Then, in late 2016, I decid­ed to start up once more to stop smok­ing cigarettes.

I made this choice only because I want to live a health­i­er and longer life, sole­ly on prin­ci­ple of play­ing more video games and con­sum­ing more inter­net content.

The rea­son I write you my expe­ri­ences and opin­ion of vap­ing is that I hope to change the idea peo­ple have about vap­ing and vapers, themselves.
If the read­er has made it this far, I sin­cere­ly want thank them for the sure effort that they must have put into read­ing my thoughts. 

 

Remem­ber:
don’t a s s u m e  t h e  v a p o r.