"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 19 December 1995. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Chicks 'n' Shit

[Net Chick]

Assuming that you don't turn to

the net seeking knowledge of

world-class pimping skills, the

very existence of an Internet

book just for women would strike

even the surliest Suckster as

one small step for womankind. Or



[Net Chick]

With Net Chick: A Smart-Girl

Guide to the Wired World, Carla

"she's so fetching!" Sinclair,

co-founder of bOING bOING, aims

to fill a void in the

nerdboy-dominated net guide

market. But don't read too much

into the crafty combo of key

words "chick," "smart," and

"Wired". Aside from dishing your

proposal to a publisher (there's

a real market for this!),

attempting to put together a

cohesive yet comprehensive guide

to the net for smart women is

roughly equivalent to trying to

write a travel guide to

Springfield, OH for couples on

their second honeymoons. Carla

may be smart, but she's no

miracle worker.


The intro tells us a little

more about what Carla hopes to

deliver: "The only guide to

stylish post-feminist modem

grrrl culture." If the word

"stylish" doesn't make you

shudder, that clever ploy of

tacking on a "post-" to one-up

an entire ideology should

whisper "bull caca" in your

ear. And while we applaud the

ass-kicking rhetoric behind the

word "grrrl," it only smacks of

DGC Scoop copy for Hole.


[Sizzling Hot Site]

But that makes sense for a book

oozing with references to what's

"happening", "hip", and

"in-the-know". Add to that an

entire section on fashion, a

guide to sites featuring models,

and some advice on how to "get

your hands on the same stuff the

city-slicking cool girls are

reading." Much like the

hipster-slang-laden Sassy, the

pages of Net Chick are sticky

with girlish exclamations ("Get

out of here!" "As if!"

"Boogie-down!"). Let's just keep

in mind that Sassy was at least

ostensibly directed toward a

pubescent audience, making each

"like, wow" just a little easier

to digest - Sinclair's insider

asides and empty expletives tend

to make our feet itch. (Of

alt.lifestyle.barefoot: "A very

interesting topic.")


And while we can appreciate the

camp charm in visiting the

Mentos FAQ, do we really need to

know about a net shrine to Enya

or the Days Of Our Lives page?

And must we wade through so

many useless descriptions? (Of

alt.coffee: "I didn't know so much

could be said about coffee!" Of

rec.food.drink.tea: "Like

alt.coffee, except it's all

about tea.") We get the feeling

Sinclair's a little timid about

going in for the kill and

cutting out some of the

less-than-thrilling URLs ("I

don't know what all of you are

into.... Sorry if I left out

your sport of choice.") It's an

orgy, baby: fuck the masses.


[Paper Doll]

But then, such indiscretions are

forgivable if your goal is to

put out a comprehensive guide.

After all, you don't see the

Yellow Pages trying to sort

through their shit according to

quality. And while the

supportive talk can make you

jumpier than a teary

12-stepper's true confessions,

let's face facts: when you grow

up watching Charlie tell his

"girls" how to use their titties

to greatest effect, it's hard

not to get more than a little

excited about a realm where

every woman has a voice (or at

least an email address).


Unlike the Yellow Pages, it's the

filler that's most outstanding.

The interviews with prominent

women on the Web are

consistently entertaining - Lisa

Palac (of Future Sex) provides

more than a few hearty chuckles:

"The whole VR suit concept is

pretty much a guy's idea,

because...they've had their blow

jobs and they've had their oral

sex and anal sex, and hell,

let's stick it in a Jell-o bowl,

you know? What else can we do

with it?"


[Net Date]

And when Marjorie Ingall weighs

in on the subject of online

dating, "I'd be wicked wary of

any guy I met online. Any male

who's trolling for babes on IRC

or randomly instant-messaging

women on a BBS is very likely

either a Beavis or a psycho," we

know she speaks from

experience-accrued wisdom.



In light of Net Chick's girl

talk, womanly warm fuzzies, and

care not to step on any toes,

choosing to include a quote from

stylish post-feminist grrrl

Camille Paglia may seem less

than prudent, even if it's a

relatively safe one, coming from

a woman who calls Anita Hill a

"priggish, self-interested

yuppie": "Now is the time for

all pro-sex, pro-art, pro-beauty

feminists to come out of the



Call us wacko, but we have a

hunch that many plain old

feminists might actually enjoy

sex and art just as much as

pro-choicers enjoy life, despite

those crafty tags post-feminists

sport like so many Betsy Johnson

bustiers. And that crass

Camille-ism alone just might

inspire said regular ol'

feminists to chuck this

"Smart-Girl" guide at the next

Alicia Silverstone wannabe ("the

Clueless goddess": exactly) that

wanders into their cross-hairs.

Ooo! That smarts!


[Net Chick]

But then, like Camille, we

Sucksters are pro-beauty, and

the beauty of our consumer

society is that you DO have a



1) You can continue to read net

tracts about how to get even

prudish girls into bed.


2) You can can choke down the

cheerleader-cliché enthusiasms

(Yum! Bon appétit! Bon voyage!

Woo! I can't wait!) and pretend

you're interested in knowing

whether or not a site is "very

bright and pretty!" just long

enough to milk this baby for all

the occasional guffaws and

decent URLs it's worth.


3) You can hold your breath until

some other "chick" publishes a

guide boasting only high-quality

net finds. Don't be surprised if

it's about the size of a




But whichever of the latter two

options you choose, once you lop

off those stylish, post-feminist,

and grrrl tags like so much

useless window dressing, all

you've got left is a modem. Since

you're reading this, we assume

you're already well on your way.

Bon voyage!

courtesy of Polly Esther