"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 10 May 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run 05.10.01


Hit & Run XXXIII
Faithful readers of Suck will no doubt recall our 6 October piece, "How To Read Wired Magazine," a useful if somewhat contrived filtering methodology to purge the bane of advertising from your Wired skimming experience. Sadly, demutilating websites is exponentially more difficult than applying the rip to pulp, and for the loyal Suck reader, never before has the exercise been in higher demand.
Five years ago today in Suck.

With Mother's Day right around the corner, we've been hoping to cash in on the large and underserved market of poisoned greetings for people who hate their own mothers. Unfortunately, our initial efforts at market research indicate the Web isn't producing the grade of troubled weirdoes it once did. Outside of a few disgruntled offspring whose issues could be worked out in a few quick rebirthing sessions, our data remains slim. Not surprisingly, diary keepers tend to keep an emotional distance from mom. The occasional lyricist and more than a few KMFDM fans kept us tantalized with their unresolved conflicts, but it wasn't until we came across an evocative short story by one Colleen Haskell ("Mom had choked to death on a chicken bone astounded by my first and only experience at standing up to her. Even in death she tortures me.") that we got a sense of the full rich pageant. Fans of the parricide Sean Sellers seemed like a promising target market, but since Sellers was executed in 1999 this appears to be a cult with limited appeal. Where are all those deeply scarred Eminem fans, ready to spend their disposable income on knife-through-the-head greetings? "My parents love me," writes a correspondent at Cult of the Dead Cow. "They don't hit me or stub out cigarettes on my back." We're still convinced there's a market out there for some more resilient entrepreneur, who may want to consider bidding on the domain Matricide.com (currently owned by Rick Latona of ThisDomainIsForSale.com).

In the zero-sum game of reputation-making, you always make your name at the expense of somebody else. Krushchev's renown as a man of reason was achieved through aggressive destalinization. Rudy Giuliani's elevation as the savior of New York could only be completed when lovable bumbler Dave Dinkins — the Crispus Attucks of Big Apple history — had been erased from the history books. We're only beginning to see how many eminences will gorge on the post-presidential legacy of Bill Clinton, but if FBI director Louis Freeh's transfiguration in the current issue of The New Yorker is any indication, there's plenty to go around. At issue: Freeh's belief that the Clinton administration was too concerned with politics to assist Freeh in what he would have you believe was a simple and passionate quest for justice in the Khobar Towers bombing case. The shape of the story — with Freeh as the honest man of the law pitted against venal political hacks — is simple enough, but in case we don't get it, the man who occupies J. Edgar Hoover's old spot reminds us several times "I am not a politician. I am a policeman." And while Freeh's sullen, sanctimonious and klutzy behavior (and his tendency to get played by shady Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan) will demonstrate the truth of the politician part, a close reading of the story casts plenty of doubt on whether he was much of a cop. In one of the story's highlights, the plain-dealing former altar boy persuades Clinton administration officials, against their better judgment, to help him offer a plea bargain to a suspected lookout in the bombing. After the deal is made, and just as the Clintonistas predicted, the suspect reneges on the deal. Somehow this is meant to convey Freeh's dogged rightness — we don't know how, but then we're not politicians. The whole story plays this way: The Clintonites are shown repeatedly, if reluctantly (given that all of this took place back when there was still hope of a thaw in US-Iran relations), bringing pressure to bear on Freeh's behalf, only to see the FBI director come up with bupkes. Now this colossal failure, the persecutor of Richard Jewell and Wen Ho Lee, pronounces himself so disillusioned with the Clintons that he waited for the new administration to close the case. We'll see how he does with that project. No matter what happens, it's stories like this that make us look back on horror at the eight years of peace and prosperity Bill Clinton inflicted on our long-suffering nation.

With the country going to hell in a handbasket faster than you can say "vegetarian wrap," Thank God we've got Dick Gregory's State of the Union Address to keep the truth out there. "Provocative and Powerful! are the words to describe his delivery," the Gregory press release promises. And from revelations about CIA weather-controlling submarines to fruitarian advice on the benefits of a non-eating diet, we've never known the former comedian, "drum major for justice and equality," and man who "should be the Legal Counsel to each President of these United States, and should conduct a Forum for all children on a quarterly basis and a monthly one for all adults" to be anything but provocative and powerful. If you're familiar with Gregory's insights on health you'll be unsurprised to learn that he emerged in good order from a recent freak accident. If you don't know Dick, the four-hour address will prove more airily nutritious than anything Suck can provide. ("You are invited to see the unedited version before it's edited," the press release ominously promises.) At this stage, Dick Gregory fandom is so bound up in self-proclaiming absurdity and winking irony that it's probably useless to argue that we truly do believe the man is a genius. At the very least, the man who chooses to treat his own lymphoma by eating nothing but air is something you'd think couldn't exist in the post-everything era: an honest-to-God challenge to conventional thinking. We wouldn't want everybody to be Dick Gregory, and we wouldn't really want to be Dick Gregory ourselves, but the prospect of a world without Dick Gregory is bleak enough that we hope he succeeds in his stated goal of never dying. For anybody who knows only parts of his unified theory, the wide-ranging address is a good place to start filling the gaps in your knowledge of Gregoriana.

Eat nothing but air in today's Plastic discussion

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