Originally published as “Finding My Mount Analogue” in Mountain Gazette issue 194, October 2021

“Without the wasps, a large number of plants which play an important part in holding the terrain in place” No period. These are the last words René Daumal wrote of his last book, Mount Analogue: A Novel of Non-Euclidean and Symbolically Authentic Adventures in Mountain Climbing. He died before he could finish the sentence, his lungs filling with blood through a hole bored by tuberculosis.

This happened in spring of 1944, just a few months before my grandpa would ride the hull of a Sherman…

Latter-day turbofolk star Goga. Photo by Ana Kraš.

The Rise & Fall of Serbian Turbofolk

Originally published in Vice Magazine in November 2011. If you’d like to watch the documentary-cum-chaotic road trip that led to this article, I’ve put the link down at the bottom to avoid spoilers (and also to collect the pageviews in case you decide to bounce to the video version in lieu of reading).

Remember at the beginning of the 90s when normal people got into Garth Brooks and Time magazine was running articles called things like “Has Country Gone City?” It was a tense moment, but thankfully it passed and within months the…

I remember feeling slightly mystified that nobody wanted to run this rambling runaway diatribe on the gun debate right after the Mandalay Bay shooting. Less so upon rereading it.

First of all, I’m overwhelmed by the urge to put debate in finger quotes. In most debates, the opposing sides talk to each other. Actually, good god does that read willfully naive, or at least out of date. But you get what I’m saying, right? What we generally refer to as “debates” these days should more accurately be termed “simultaneous screaming fits by two groups of people who earnestly hate one…

Originally published in the Summer 2020 “Travel Issue” of Penthouse — albeit edited to a much tidier length.

The first thing any good traveler learns when he and/or she visits a new country are the basic phrases of its native tongue. Hello, good-bye, please & thank you, my name is Chet, sorry I thought that was the bathroom, etc. The second thing any good traveler learns is how to swear like a cab driver. Mexican Nobel laureate Octavio Paz describes cussing as “the only living language in a world of anemic vocables” and “poetry within the reach of everybody.” And…

They’re burying the COVID deaths on Hart Island. The last time I saw Hart Island was from a plane taking off out of Laguardia. I used to insist on flying out of there because I could get to it from my house in under 30 minutes and every time we took off I’d look out the window while the plane banked west and find Hart Island off the side of the Bronx. Usually I’d snap a picture too, provided my phone was charged. …

Photo by Ben Ritter

So a little context here: One night in 2010 I was visiting my friend Nick at his apartment about a block away from Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn. We went to go get some smokes or a pack of Haribos at the nearest bodega and about five steps away from the door I heard the quick pitpitpat of feet running up behind me and then my lights went out.

Have you ever been punched in the head? This is something I like to ask people as a general sorta icebreaker, a quick go-to for lulls in the conversation. I’m always surprised…

All photos by the author, unfortunately.

(Originally published by Vice in October, 2007)

“What is a Juggalo? A dead body / Well he ain’t really dead, but he ain’t like anybody that you’ve ever met before / He’ll eat Monopoly and shit out Connect Four.” –ICP, “What is a Juggalo?”

With the possible exception of the Jews, no other group has eaten as big an amount of shit over the course of its existence as the Juggalos.

From the earliest reviews of the Insane Clown Posse’s singular brand of circus-themed swear-rap, the general contention has been that there is no way music could possibly sink below this…

Originally written April 10, 2014 for vice.com.

There is a mantra Christian doomsday enthusiasts all seem to share: “We are living in exciting times.” Well, I doubt they’d call it a mantra on account of the Eastern connotations, but nevertheless, they say it a lot.

This sentence, stage-whispered with a wondrous sense of promise, like a campaign slogan for the coming apocalypse, inaugurates lengthy and lurid descriptions of the the cruelties and abuses of the Antichrist’s reign and concludes impenetrably complex exegeses of biblical prophecies as they pertain to Israeli foreign and domestic policy. …

This is not a picture of me at Lit. There are no pictures of me at Lit. People don’t take pictures of you when you’re boring. Photo by Nick Gazin

Originally written March 21, 2013 for vice.com.

The Lit Lounge, if you aren’t from New York, is a leering black hole from which few memories escape intact. If the standard, workaday memory is already 50 percent confabulation, the average Lit memory is about eight frames of reality cobbled together with stains, visible regret, and thick strands of ropy vomit. It is not a bar for the light of weight, or the early of work hours. Or the sober.

Having come off a bit of an excessive weekend/week/several weeks, I’ve decided to take it easy for a little while and…

Hi!
Hi!

Originally written April 4, 2014 for vice.com. Isn’t it crazy to think there was a time when ISIS could reasonably be called an “al Qaeda rip-off?”

As of today I have spent roughly an hour and 20 minutes in war, and you know what? That’s it. That’s all the war I’m doing. Don’t care if you start waging the noblest, most legitimate war imaginable — you could be battling literal Nazis in defense of my mother’s house. I’d still tell you, “I’m out.”

Right now, the Kurds in Syria have one of the best wars going. (The Kurds, in case…

Thomas Morton

Gimme money! https://www.patreon.com/curemecuremecureme + Venmo @Thomas-Morton-5 Emailable via thomasvice@gmail.com

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