"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 8 February 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run 2.8.1

Hit & Run XX

It's still far from OK to pass gas loudly in a crowded elevator.
Five years ago today in Suck.

If Shakespeare were alive today he'd be writing for the movies. If we've heard it once we've heard it too many times, and if we hear it again we're going to crush somebody's toes with a hammer and a wedge. Why is it that every apologist for the MPAA feels compelled to legitimize the industry that puts the mahimahi on the table by dragging the greatest writer in the English language into it? What makes scribes on the entertainment beat think that if the man who wrote "Poor wretches that depend on greatness' favour, dream as I have done, wake, and find nothing," were around right now he'd be heading to parties at the Mansion with other immortal bards like Joe Eszterhas and Cameron Crowe? If Shakespeare were truly all that would he really want his name attached by some 15-percenter to a package deal with Helen Hunt? Have the collective baby noises film critics cooed over Shakespeare in Love rendered them permanently bard-batty? Or was it the one-two truncheon blow of Annette Bening in Richard III and Jessica Lange in Titus that softened their skulls?

In the interest of making the boilerplate copy of cheap cultural analysis sing anew, we've got a follow-up question: Even if Shakespeare were alive and waiting for a call pool-side in development hell, what would other Elizabethan writers be doing today? That is the question. We've knocked out the answers in the classic form of the reflex Shakespeare assertion so that hacks on deadline can cut-and-paste and yet still give the impression of having fresh insight into the current cultural milieu. Where Entertainment Weekly sucks so suck we:

If Sir Philip Sidney were alive today he'd be wishing he worked for the CIA and hadn't dropped acid in high school.

If Thomas Kyd were alive today he'd be staging a revival of Jesus Christ Superstar at a bar in Cambridge, Mass.

If Edmund Spenser were alive today he'd be pointing out to viewers of Turner Classic Movies that maybe Ruby Keeler wasn't the greatest dancer but she sure had a winning smile and lots of personality.

If Thomas Campion we're alive today he'd be recording music under the name the TZA.

If Sir Walter Raleigh were alive today he'd be at Barnes & Noble signing his book about why his firsthand experience with the Republican Party has left him disenchanted.

If Thomas Lodge were alive today he'd be spending the afternoon with a hooker in a motel room on the Airline Highway in New Orleans and wondering if his accountant would allow it as a write-off.

If Robert Southwell were alive today he'd be accepting praise from his mother for his recent think piece on the TV commercials that were shown during the Super Bowl.

If Michael Drayton were alive today he'd be interviewing relatives of the deceased for a true crime paperback about doctors who kill.

If Sir Thomas Hoby were alive today he'd be trying to figure out how a translator from the Portuguese is going to be able to pay for health insurance now that Amazon.com has laid off his wife.

If Sir Francis Bacon were alive today he'd be listening to someone else ask for the umpteenth friggin' time how he gets his ideas for his paintings.

If Christopher Marlowe were alive today he'd be collecting money on the subway by announcing to passengers that he fought in Vietnam.

If Ben Jonson were alive today he'd be on PBS explaining to Charlie Rose that although in his day writing was sexy now the collective energy resides in pop music.

If Thomas Nashe and Samuel Daniel were alive today they'd be sitting in opposite cubes writing for the new Details.

We're the last to know, it seems, but wrestling is fake. Oh, not the matches, we figured that out months ago. But even when wrestlers tell the truth you can expect a steel chair to the back of the head. Case in point, Wladek "Killer" Kowalski's shocking denunciation of his former student, Joanie "Chyna" Laurer's autobiography, If They Only Knew. "She's making all that bulls**t up," the Killer tells SLAM! Wrestling in an exclusive interview. "She lies and lies and lies." Kowalski, whose other students include current stars Prince Albert, Perry Saturn, and Triple H, runs a professional wrestling school in the Boston area and was a major star himself throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Chyna's new book skips over her years with Kowalski, and now that she's risen to the heights of WWF respectability, she's become a high heel, of sorts, forgetting the people who put her there. Like any star politician or actor, reinventing yourself for the A-list sometimes means dropping the B and C listers who helped you (please see any list of Clinton indictees or Bush II's former friend, Gov. Frank Keating). Not that wrestlers rise all that high in society's eyes anyway, but apparently, even when getting thrown into a ring post or getting busted wide open on a steel stairway, the politics of "in" crowd and "out" crowd are universal. "I introduced her to Shane McMahon, the son of Vince McMahon ... I said 'WCW is interested in this girl. Why don't you guys take her?' I talked to him twice again and he said, 'We will hire her.'" Chyna refuses to speak to Kowalski now and makes fun of his accent in her book, referring to the Polish Pin King as a "scheming" and "nasty old man." "What a big liar she is. She had nothing interesting to put in there (the book) so she made up a whole bunch of garbage," Kowalski says. Former students Saturn and Albert come back to the school and credit Kowalski, but he says as soon as Chyna signed the deal with WWF she cut all ties with him, refusing even to speak to him when they run into each other backstage, although Chyna isn't the first to dis the old master. "The other schmuck, Triple H," says Kowalski, "he forgot, you know, where he came from.

MSNBC's Brian Williams called it "extraordinary." The Washington Post ran it on the front page. It's the story that has all the beltway agog. The lid popping, stop the presses, banner headline? Well, Clinton and Gore sat down after the election for a face-to-face meeting to blame each other for Gore's loss. Gore said Clinton's scandalous tenure in the people's house set him back and Clinton thought Gore should have run on the Clinton Administration's Looks Great On Paper record of achievement. The entire story is second-hand, from anonymous sources close to both men, sources who did not even sit in on the meeting. It has no primary quotes and no comment from either Clinton or Gore and does nothing but reiterate an argument without advancing it. It doesn't even further the argument nor illuminate anything about it. Why all the buzz for what is nothing more than an official anecdote? Simply this — the two men finally confirmed what pundits had been arguing about for the last 18 months. Which is, of course, why the story is considered extraordinary in Washington circles. After all — how many times are the pundits right? A correct call is well worth celebrating. Some might point out that most of these same people made many silly calls all year long (just ask Wen Ho Lee), not the least of which was "Gore Wins!", or their current Try To Forget We Said That line that "there won't be any honeymoon for George Bush, Jr."

It's week three of the Clinton ex-Presidency and in all the furor over pardons handed out to influential crooks, one question remains: Who pardoned Mike Barnicle? The disgraced former Boston Globe columnist now hosts the second half of Chris Matthews's Hardball, a show we now only half like. Barnicle, who stole jokes from George Carlin and published them as his own, was bounced off the Globe and his regular spots on MSNBC after his second infraction. Perhaps it's not so bad, since Barnicle is now a TV pundit, meaning neither truth nor competence are job qualifications. Barnicle's downfall turned around during John F. Kennedy, Jr's death, when, as a Kennedy family friend, he became the de facto spokesmen for the throng of journalists outside the Kennedy compound. James Wolcott, in his pundit pest control piece in this month's Vanity Fair, also points out that Barnicle's numerous appearances with pal Don Imus and Imus' mystifying credibility with East Coast journos helped turn Barnicle's pilfering image around, so much so that he's now considered presentable to MSNBC's political junkie fan base. Or maybe not — as a quick look at MSNBC's Hardball page gives no mention of him. Well, would you brag?

In all the hullabaloo over Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's split, one remnant of bigotry, left over from our torch-wielding, pogrom-committing forebears, has reared its ugly head: When in doubt, blame Hubbard. MSNBC's Jeannette Walls set the ugliness in motion with an article speculating that Tom and Nicole broke up over Nicole's dissatisfaction with the Church of Scientology. "I was raised Catholic and a big part of me is still a Catholic girl," the Titian-haired beauty declared, adding that it is "Catholicism which will keep me going," and strongly implying that she wanted to raise her children within the Church of Rome. From there, the legions of Scientology haters, who never seem to tire of their particular crusade, jumped into the fray. "Maybe the greedy cult do not like Nicoles' assets going to Catholic charities (if true) when the church may plan to go for the faith based money," averred Feisty <not@inthislife>, in a characteristic Usenet comment. Another ornery cuss laid into Hubbardites as hypocrites, while others expressed a schadenfreudian hope that the divorce might cause a major schism in the Los Angeles-based religion. A waggish, heavily scare-quoted followup story in the New York Post dripped sarcasm in every sentence. We were sorry to see even our own Masked Moron join in the pile-on over at our sister site. Maybe it's just that we've always wanted to become "clears," but before everybody rides the Dianeticians too hard, we'd like to note that, according to Nicole's words, Scientology isn't the only freakazoid cult involved here. Because even if the children aren't raised in the faith that believes in Word Clearing, Dreamballs, Engrams, and Enthetas, they will be raised in the one that believes Saint Isidore invented the Internet, the Virgin Mary ascended bodily into Heaven, and you eat pieces of Jesus every Sunday morning. That Roman Catholicism is a cult every bit as wacky as the Church of Scientology may not be a particularly new revelation, but it will be examined in some detail in tomorrow's Suck. Believers and non-believers alike are cordially invited to find out the truth.

Join the freakazoid cult
in today's Plastic discussion.

courtesy of the Sucksters