We've ended up involuntarily getting into many fights over the years, but Michael
Tchong's undeclared war on Suck easily ranks as the most perplexing. What with his
that "We must band together and send the world a loud,
clear message that the Net will not only survive but thrive," we figured the talking
head of Iconocast.com would be looking for all the support he could find. Why,
when the chips were down we even managed to scrape up some
for "Back the Net Day," Tchong's harebrained proposal to scare people into buying
tech stocks back on April 3. That plan met with some
at the time, and we're a little concerned it may leave Tchong
with fiduciary liability for the
6.2 percent plunge
in the NASDAQ the largest one-day drop in the index since 1998 that
occurred when the Back the Net Day plan was implemented.
Still, we never would have suspected that Suck's
defense of banner ads
would earn the ire of the man The Industry Standard
"e-marketing impresario," the formidable thinker whose laser-like insights include
such pronouncements as, "All this free content isn't going to continue to be free unless users pay for it somehow, and the payment is advertising," and "What if I said,
'That's a Calvin Klein sweater, and it's also worn by your [favorite] star?' Then
you have two reasons to buy it. I've never seen anything like
So you can imagine our dismay when Tchong
article with the headline "Suck.com Gives Banners The Finger." Says Mr. Iconocast:
As the saying goes, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
Given a media free-for-all, it's becoming well nigh
impossible to defend the banner. Suck.com says we're
all a bunch of "pompous blowhards" for continuing to
support something that "doesn't work."
Ed: The strange part is that both Suck.com and its
accompanying Plastic discussion site are
ad-supported. As Russell Lynes once said, "Cynicism
is the intellectual cripple's substitute for intelligence."
Actually, the strange part, as everybody who
sent us mail
posted to Plastic
understood, is that the article was an argument
of banner ads. An official at Phase2Media in New York even called it,
ahem, "one of the most articulate (and factually argued) defenses of banners out there."
None of that could melt the flinty heart of Tchong (whose very creative use of quotes
pulled from the story can be demonstrated by comparing the above review with
what we actually wrote
Nevertheless, we were willing to believe that Tchong had committed the honest mistake
of not bothering to read the article. Could happen to anybody! A correction sent to
Tchong by one friend of Suck produced no result, and when we sent in our own request
that the e-marketing impresario rephrase his intemperate words, we got the following
The story was very confusingly written. With the best collection of
anti-banner rhetoric I've seen in a long time. It was misinterpreted
by quite a few people in my industry. I will run a comment about it
from you in the next issue.
That "quite a few people in my industry" tells the whole story. Like many a
would-be industry seer, Tchong knows that his core business is making
himself available for learned-sounding quotes in the press (and with that
"intellectual cripple" line he appears to be on the right track). But a Nexis
search reveals that the Tchong index of citations, like the NASDAQ, has plummeted
steadily since its high in 1998-99. And we shudder to think how many reporters quietly
Liquid Papered Tchong's name from their Rolodexes after the Back the Net
embarrassment. Our last glimpse of the
industry expert was on San Francisco public radio. But hell, Michael, we're all having a bad year. Low ad clickthrough rates are a big enough problem; do we have to add poor
reading comprehension skills into the mix? More to the point, if this is any indication
of who our allies are in defending banner ads, we may have to rethink our entire position.
The threatened war between Chinese and American hackers
the result, according to
of escalating tensions between the two governments (and according to
, of Wired News' desire to be the
William Randolph Hearst
of the first cyber war).
Either way, the
standing by. Apparently called "The Sixth Network War of National Defense"
by the ordinally-challenged Chinese and "The Exxon-Mobil All-American
Rock-and-Roll Cyber-Showdown, Sponsored by Doritos" by the Americans, the
battle has so far resulted in
that's, um, almost indistinguishable
from a typical day's spam. Perhaps the problem is that work-a-day
attacks and their
nearly indistinguishable from Chinese language
Web site defacement
though the attacks aren't supposed to peak until tomorrow Qingnian Jie (Youth
Day) in China we ravaged refugees, wandering the endless dirt road that
is the Internet, can only hope the aggressors will put aside their
differences, meet in IRC and find the common humanity that binds them
pictures of Lara Croft naked
Harvey Weinstein, the physically repulsive co-founder of Miramax, is the
subject of the current "Watching Movies With" feature in the New York Times
and the results are almost as grotesque as Weinstein's pockmarked multiple chins.
"This is what I was afraid of," the unkempt maxi-mogul
"That the filmmaking wouldn't be as strong as the themes of the
piece." The subject of Weinstein's complaints and "theatrical moans"? None
other than Exodus
, Otto Preminger's classic adaptation of the Leon
Uris creation myth about Israel.
It's aggravating enough that in an article with multiple references to
Preminger's "Teutonic persona" neither Weinstein nor Times
Rick Lyman has the courtesy to note that the director himself was Jewish.
But Preminger (characterized by Lyman as a man whose "critical reputation has
diminished" and by Weinstein as not "a great director by any means") was a
great filmmaker whose 1954 musical Carmen Jones
he'll have a spot in Heaven while Harvey Weinstein lies howling in the other place.
Preminger's directing is the only thing that raises Exodus
above the level
of crude propaganda, yet Harvey Weinstein can't muster up anything good to
say about him. In what passes for political awareness in the movie industry,
Harv does lavish praise on screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, the
in the era of the Hitler-Stalin pact and
gung-ho war pictures
when Uncle Joe needed help, and eventually salvaged his historic
reputation by getting blacklisted in the McCarthy era.
But it's when he makes his case against Preminger that Weinstein reveals
what really makes a poshlust philistine slob tick. "Talk about minimalism," he
groans. "I mean, look at this. These
scenes are all just master shots. There is no cutting within any of these
scenes. I am sitting here, and I am amazed." Not enough coverage, Harv?
Should we go back and recut the picture with more closeups of hands
flicking light switches? These are not idle questions: When Weinstein
really wants to take a dig at Preminger, he compares him to Jim Jarmusch.
Students of Miramax history know that Jarmusch and Weinstein had a
falling out over Jarmusch's masterpiece Dead Man
, which Weinstein
tried to recut and then buried on its release. Now this one-man Merchant
and Ivory, who fills up the multiplex with phony-baloney art fare like
puts down Exodus
and slags Jarmusch in print. There was a time when
the proper way to describe an overweening personality was to say "His eyes are
bigger than his stomach." Would that that were still the case.
Courtesy of BarTel d'Arcy