October 3, 1965
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley|
|Occupation||Journalist, political writer|
Mark Ames (born October 3, 1965) is a writer known for his work as a Moscow-based expatriate American journalist and editor. He is the founding editor of the biweekly the eXile in Moscow, to which he regularly contributed before he returned to America. Ames has also written for the New York Press, The Nation, Playboy, The San Jose Mercury News, Alternet, Птюч Connection, GQ (Russian edition), and is the author of three books.
Ames was raised in Saratoga, California, a newly urbanized town in the San Francisco Bay Area's Silicon Valley, where he attended an Episcopalian private school. He graduated from Saratoga High School in 1983.
After leaving Saratoga, Ames attended the University of California, Berkeley, while living with his father (his parents had divorced when Ames was eight years old). He later described how his college years shaped his later political views in a section of the book The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia:
I was a student at Berkeley in the late Reagan years. We had a lot of ideas back then, big dreams about getting famous and destroying the "Beigeocracy" that we thought stifled and controlled American Letters. Everything seemed possible then: world war, literary fame ... Anyway, something Really Big, with us at the center of it all. We'd ridicule the boring lefties, our enemies. We'd drop all sorts of drugs and go to the underground shows: Scratch Acid, Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth. It felt like something might happen, and soon.
In August 1991 he visited Europe, spending two weeks in St. Petersburg (at that time called Leningrad). Though he returned to live in Foster City, California, he continued thinking of Russia, and delved into Russian literature. After spending mid '92 to early '93 in Prague, Ames moved to Moscow. In 1995 he published "The Rise and Fall of Moscow's Expat 'Royalty'" in the English-language Moscow newspaper The Moscow Times, and was shortly thereafter hired by its competitor Living Here. In 1997 he left to establish the eXile, where he served as writer and editor.
In The eXile, Ames wrote on such topics as politics, organized crime in Russia, prostitution, and drug use. The paper played practical jokes on Pravda staffers and public figures including Mikhail Gorbachev. Chicago Reader contributor Martha Bayne wrote that there was more to the paper: "Some pranks are sharper--and meaner--than others, but they're all conceived under a towering belief in the righteousness of the paper's mission. The Exile has kept up a holy racket, railing away against stupidity, corruption, and influence peddling . . . It has covered mind-numbingly complex topics like privatization in a straightforward style that's not only comprehensible but actually interesting to a reader with no background in Russian economic history and little enthusiasm for acquiring one."
In 2000, Ames and Matt Taibi published The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia, which chronicled their journalism exploits, as well as Ames's expatriate lifestyle and his relationships with young Russian women and the staffers at the eXile:
We have been pretty rough on our girls. We’d ask our Russian staff to flash their asses or breasts for us. We’d tell them that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they’d have to perform unprotected anal sex with us. Nearly every day, we asked our female staff if they approved of anal sex. That was a fixation of ours. [...] It was all part of the fun. 
He has been married to Russian journalist Anastasia Ames since 2008.
- The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia (ISBN 0-8021-3652-4). Co-authored with Matt Taibbi, and published in 2000 with a foreword by Edward Limonov.
- В Россию с любовью (Записки американского изгоя), Мама Пресс, 2002. (ISBN 5-902382-02-5) available in Russia. The title can be translated as To Russia with Love (Notes from an American Outcast).
- Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond, 2005 (ISBN 1-932360-82-4).
- excerpt available online
- Gurley, George (June 19, 2000). "From Russia With Lust". Observer.com.
- Bayne, Martha (July 13, 2000). "Beast in the East". Chicago Reader.
- Lost Exile The unlikely life and sudden death of The Exile, Russia’s angriest newspaper Vanity Fair (magazine) Retrieved on March 1, 2010
- THE EXILED: WE’RE BACK, AND WE’RE VERY PISSED OFF The eXile Retrieved on November 27, 2009
- Ames, Mark (2000). The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia. Grove Press. p. 134. ISBN 0802136524.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Mark Ames|
- The Exile - an English language, Moscow-based, semi-weekly alternative paper
- Exile Online - the new site of the Exile
- Democracy Now interview with Amy Goodman, Greg Palast, and Dan Briody December 8, 2003
- AlterNet, October 3, 2005, "A Brief History of Rage, Murder and Rebellion" - interview with Ames
- Wayfarer with Mark Ames - episodes of a travel documentary series for RT Documentary presented by Ames
- "A Brief History of Rage, Murder and Rebellion" - Our Man in Moscow: The true story of how a nice kid from Los Gatos moved to Moscow, pranked the media and ended up in the crosshairs of the Russian government and a U.S. congressman