Hey Queen B, suck my left one.


Sophie Turner signs for fans at the Game of Thrones premiere in Milan

The Golden State
City and Colour


Then tell us more about Canada, Dallas.


What separates Martin’s books from the pack is that his made-up world of Westeros feels more “real” than other made-up worlds like Tolkien’s Middle Earth or Brooks’s Shannara. There’s very little magic in the series, and when something supernatural happens, everyone is freaked out and confused. The characters have sex (mostly sex that would be illegal today), get tortured, betray one another, and die incredibly easily and often for very little reason—just like real people involved in a medieval war would have. One of the first plot points is a child getting thrown off a ledge and crippled after he witnesses some nasty-ass incest; one major character gets killed on the toilet and shits all over the place as he dies. So the books are earthy, you might say. More importantly, anyone in Martin’s world who strives for nobility, honor, or any other trait lauded in traditional fantasy novels inevitably ends up impaled on a spike or crippled and humiliated by the amoral crooks who always come out on top. Like I said, this is more realistic than most epic fantasy.

Naturally, a show based on a series of books that’s full of plot twists, reversals of fortune, bloody battles, and scheming villains is gonna be a slam dunk. Throw in HBO’s typically high production values and strong performances (and lots of nudity) and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty fucking sweet franchise, son. You mentioned that you don’t appreciate the “scope, escapism, narrative skill, and subtle humor that fantasy fans eulogize,” but there’s nothing subtle about Game of Thrones’s appeal. It’s all, “OH SHIT HE’S GETTING KILLED WTF” and “AWWWW DAMN THEY’RE CUTTING HIS DICK OFF!!” If you refuse to watch that because—what? It’s set in a vaguely medieval world? There are dragons in some of it?—I don’t know what to say to you.

Yesterday we ran a piece by a writer in the UK called “Please Shut the Fuck Up About Game of Thrones.” Today VICE US editor Harry Cheadle responds: "No, Why Don’t YOU Shut the Fuck Up About Game of Thrones.”

The road home isn’t very long, and I know I’ll be getting off soon. But at this moment, I’m feeling such lovely warmth.


Design has a history of violence. It can be an act of creative destruction and a double-edged sword, surprising us with consequences intended or unintended. Yet professional discourse has been dominated by voices that only trumpet design’s commercial and aesthetic successes.

Historically, designers’ ambitions have ranged from the quotidian to the autocratic, from the spoon to the city. Under the guise of urban renewal or the cliché of disruptive innovation, designers of all kinds—from architects and typographers to interface, product, and fashion designers—have played a role in the reconfiguration of ways of life, ecosystems, and moral philosophies. Although designers aim to work toward the betterment of society, it is and has been easy for them to overstep, indulge in temptation, succumb to the dark side of a moral dilemma, or simply err.

Violence, on the other hand, is one of the most mutable constants in history. It accommodates myriad definitions, spanning a wide spectrum between the symbolic and the real, and between the individual and the public. In recent years, technology has introduced new threats and added dramatically to its many manifestations. Our exploration of the relationship between design and violence will shed light on the complex impact of design on the built environment and on everyday life, as well as on the role of violence in contemporary society.

As we define it, violence is a manifestation of the power to alter circumstances, against the will of others and to their detriment. We have assembled a wide range of design objects, projects, and concepts that have an ambiguous relationship with violence, either masking it while at the same time enabling it; animating it in order to condemn it; or instigating it in order to prevent it. Almost all were designed after 2001. We see that year as a watershed because it marks four historical shifts in the modern evolution of violence: the beginning of a permanent War on Terror; a global shift from symmetrical to asymmetric warfare; the emergence of nation-building as an alternative to military supremacy; and the rise of cyberwarfare. The few exceptions—the AK-47, for instance—are archetypal examples of the entanglement between design and violence in the 20th century.

We will group the projects into the following thematic categories:

Hack/Infect: disrupting the rules of the system
Constrain: binding, blocking, and distorting
Stun: causing blunt trauma
Penetrate: infiltrating the boundaries, breaching
Manipulate/Control: drawing into the realm of violence with suasion
Intimidate: promising damage and death
Explode: annihilating visibly and completely

We are inviting experts from fields as diverse as science, philosophy, literature, music, film, journalism, and politics to respond to selected design objects and spark a conversation with all readers. Pairing the critical thinkers we most admire with examples of challenging design work, we intend to present case studies that will spark discussion and bring the relationship between design and violence to center stage for designers and the people they serve—all of us.