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Letter from America April 29, 2004
A Binge Too Far
By Mark Ames Browse author Email

MALIBU -- You read that right. Dateline: Malibu. It's no joke. I'm living in the paradigmatic inverse of Moscow right now, and you people can eat my butt-sand. I don't mean that figuratively -- I mean literally there is sand in my butt all the time because I live right on the Pacific Ocean. And I haven't seen a single cloud since the day I arrived -- except when I pass by a mirror.

"You mean you're living where the Lifeguards from that TV show are?" my Russian friends have asked me.

"Yep, right where Jackie Treehorn lived," I explain.

It was a completely unexpected gift -- and I almost wasn't extended the invitation. There were worries expressed by certain parties that given my past, I might be the cause of some terrible destruction to the owner's property of the sort that even disaster insurance wouldn't cover. She'd return in five weeks to find a smoldering lot, with only a charred stucco stump remaining where a beautiful Spanish-style house once stood, yellow police tape and signs with skulls and cross-bones, and Homeland Security goons in space suits patrolling the perimeter, large white unmarked container trucks blocking the street, packed with body bags and sperm samples.

But I would never fuck up something this good. For someone accustomed to scraping by every month, I have to say, living in a nice big house, all alone, just my books, my computer, and Comedy Central, a huge lush yard outside my window, Mexican gardeners tending to every blade of grass and every blooming's a damn good life. "Someday, this war's gonna end," Robert Duvall said wistfully in Apocalypse Now. Yeah, and my war has about three wonderful weeks remaining.

To understand how bizarre and wonderful this life is, and how out of place I am, you'd have to imagine Jackie Treehorn handing El Duderino Lebowski the keys to his Malibu estate.

"Nice pad you've got here, Jackie."

"Thanks, Dude. Want to stay here for five weeks while I go on location for my next adult entertainment shoot?"

"All right, man, I like the way you do business. So, uh, if I house-sit your pad, what's in it for The Dude?"

For one thing, I can now strut around this little strip of California aristocracy bragging about all the water I draw around here. Every chance I get, I hop over to the small shopping center near Point Dume, up the street from Zuma Beach, just to be among the water-drawers. There's always a cop car parked there, and cops patrolling. They're keeping us safe from what I like to call the "have-nots" who want to take everything we own here.

Local friends of mine have been horrified and saddened by what they see as my treasonous volte-face. They think I've sold out -- how can I live among the worst of California's upper-bourgeoisie and enjoy it?

You see, the nicest thing about living in Malibu is that no one ever sees each other. The Malibu city planners must have had Comrade Koba's dictum in mind when they designed the living space: "No person, no problem." Suburban Americans always try to avoid physical contact with each other, but inevitably, you're going to get caught by a neighbor when you're retrieving the mail or mowing the lawn or preparing your SUV for a miserable weekend in Lake Tahoe. But here in Malibu, the fences are so high, the houses set so far back on the massive lots, that when I say you don't see the neighbors, I literally mean, you don't see them.

Take my house. There's a 200 yard long driveway from the main street that leads to an electric gate with a code. From the street, you can't even see the end of my driveway, let alone the house. No one can see in, and I can't see out.

It's the perfect setting for a misanthropic extremist.

I came here to work on my rage murder book, but there are only so many hours in the day that one can write, no matter how many glass shards one gorks.

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
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Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

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Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

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Your Letters
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13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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