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The White Noise

The White Noise


A hit of addiction and mental illness, chased by chemistry and culture.
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Inside a Crack House (Video)

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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This post is part of a collaborative narrative series composed of my writing and Chris Arnade’s photos exploring issues of addiction, poverty and prostitution in Hunts Point, Bronx. For more on the series, look here.

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Last week, Chris and I visited a crack house, Diana and John’s apartment. Here’s a 10-minute look inside, at the languid humanity we found within — radio, Phil Collins, the worry of where they’ll stay next. The two discuss Diana’s job as a prostitute, her income and John’s role. I chose a longish sequence to convey the civility and measure behind something societally known as dark, mysterious and filled with “bad people” — a crack house. Danger exists (Chris and I were warned mid-way through this video), but it’s not omnipresent.

This is a companion piece to my writing on Diana and John’s vagrant way of life. For background, please read that first.

The pair left quickly after they smoked, feeling paranoid. Diana returned to the streets to prostitute.

The flashing sounds are Chris’s camera clicks. Many thanks to Diana and John for graciously allowing us to film.

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More Hunts Point Addiction Writing
Writing Beyond Addiction in Hunts Point
Chris Arnade’s Photos and his Facebook feed

Cassie Rodenberg About the Author: I write on culture, poverty, addiction, and mental illness: I explore things we like to ignore. I also teach public school in New York City's South Bronx. Follow on Twitter @cassierodenberg.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. aidel 8:44 am 11/14/2012

    It is astonishing that you have gained the trust of this community. In my experience, this doesn’t come easy.

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  2. 2. jack.123 5:02 am 11/15/2012

    Crack and meth are not the same thing?Odd that they the authors are accomplices after the fact in a criminal enterprise.I have no doubt that John and Diana were paranoid noting that their activities are illegal.

    Link to this

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