The human race is a larcenous, duplicitous one, isn’t it? Our ingenuity in the fine art of deluding knows few limits. To honor that ineffable nature of our being, we present December’s edition of VICE magazine: The Skammerz Ishu. Pick up a copy at one of these fine locations (it’s a steal) or muster the courage to subscribe here (do it already), and you can download the iPad version, which includes extras not available in print or online, here.
You won’t need to look any further than the cover to illustrate how scams, swindles, rackets, and grifts can take on unimagined forms. Artist Mishka Henner pulled a fast one on the very people who make their living off Nigerian-prince-style email scams by “scam-baiting” one particularly dedicated con man to create the image that graces our cover. Over the course of four months of correspondence, Mishka’s associate, Condo Rice, convinced the would-be trickster, who claimed to have lost treasure of the Gaddafi regime, into producing the surreal image above. Excerpts from the absurd email exchange can be found in the magazine alongside loads of other tales of scams, including but not limited to:
Our Dishonest Planet: Stories of common hustles and cons from around the world.
Pulitzer Prize and Polk Award-winning journalist John L. Mitchell and Jack Chang's investigation into the death of Malcolm L. Shabazz, the grandson of Malcolm X, who was killed when a Mexico City bar scam went tragically awry earlier this year.
Former VICE editor Aaron Lake Smith's love song to the lost days of the Greyhound bus underworld, which looks back on years of riding with a forged Ameripass ticket.
“Sometimes We Taze Each Other, ” a short story by Adam Wilson, winner of the Paris Review’s Terry Southern Prize for Humor.
VICE's own Krishna Andavolu's look into the exploitative, horrific conditions endured by the (often undocumented) temp workers in the giant retail warehouses across America.
Amie Barrodale's rememberance of her years of scoring free nights at the nicest hotels in the world, which she managed by claiming to be a travel writer.
Previous issues of VICE: