"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 28 February 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Salvaging Salvo



It's no George.


Given the combination

strip-mall/Family Hour pedigree

of its financial backers, one is

tempted to dismiss SALVO -

a site "by people who

hate politics for people who

hate politics" - out of hand.

The Big Gun Project, who

designed the site, claims to be

seeking "a total assault against

the suffocating mechanisms of

social order," but such a goal

rings false in light of the

sponsors' (justifiable) interest

in keeping the suffocation

machine running.



Conspiracy-minded culture

vultures would surely find

something amiss, but what,

exactly? Is SALVO an inept but

sincere attempt at attractively

packaging "dangerous" politics,

a kind of anarchist George? Or

is it a calculated but flawed

gambit to turn generational

apathy and disinterest into a

salable product, a kind of Urban

Outfitters George?


[Salvo Bux]

One thing is certain - the

Adelson brothers and Mark Siegel

feel no more threatened by

SALVO's content than they did by

the second-tier actors and

Orange Julius shops that

populated their previous

efforts. And why should they?

Because while no sane investors

would sponsor an anarchist riot,

what about an anarchist

lifestyle boutique? Or a really

well-produced television show

about anarchy? Now we're



[Your Future]

Frankly, we don't think the

investors even read the damn

thing. SALVO looks good (in

fact, it looks great), and that,

plus its political-arena-as-

Bizarro-Disneyland hook, is what

puts asses in the seats. The

actual political message of the

site is as muddled and overblown

as most of its prose, and as




Articles which treat tidbits like

"Regardless of party

affiliation, Congress tends to

protect its members' perks and

privileges." as news prove that

either the writers are teenagers

or that their readers are, and

not very bright ones at that. On

the other hand, pieces which

advise that the homeless be

"train[ed]...to hunt pigeons,

rats, politicians, and other

city vermin for food and skins"

suggest that the writers are

either complete fools or are

completely fooling us.


[Freedom Got an AK]

If they're serious, and the

site's creators mean it when

they say "The Big Gun Project

represents the gene pool for the

upcoming Age of Doom," we're

looking at a generation that's a

punchline to a Jeff Foxworthy

joke as told by Jim Goad. Or

maybe we're simply looking at

Eight is Enough - project

co-sponsor Adelson

Entertainment's last vision of

the apocalypse.


[Rock In Politix]

Perhaps half-assed pseudo

politick is all one can expect

from a group whose highest aim,

according to the press release,

is "to do for politics what MTV

did for music." As a sound bite,

it makes for a chortle (and

there're at least a few people

around here who wish they'd said

it first), but as a promise,

it's a little like offering to

do for politics what Carrot Top

did for comedy.


[Rock The Vote]

Besides, who said politics wasn't

like MTV already? CSPAN gives us

the Real World, the primary

season's schedule of trained

appearances with all the

spontaneity of Road Rules.

And if you think that a

spot on the ticket isn't as

easily bought as a Buzz Bin

clip, then we've got some

souvenir Joan Osbourne nose

rings to sell you. By the end of

it all, we're left on the podium

of Singled Out, palms sweating

as we turn to see if the

winner-by-default can truly be

that much of a catch if the

hardest question he had to

answer was "Internet or



[Power Corrupts Absolutely]

Given the dubious but pervasive

trope of irony-as-humor, SALVO's

level of sincerity on any of

these matters is difficult to

gauge. It doesn't help that the

site's rants have the engineered

and over-written earnestness of

a precocious teen's home page or

of a Smashing Pumpkins set. The

latter is no coincidence, as the

site's design team included Jim

Evans, whose work with the Billy

Corgan Experience undoubtably

leaves him overqualified in the

art of massaging style into,

well, even more style.



Style is where SALVO excels, and

style may well be the true

source of its political

substance. That is, if one

measures substance by the

ability to stir either thought

or action.


[The Candidates]

Compared to the stylishly vulgar

and provocative illustrations

throughout the site, none of the

writing on SALVO inspires much

of anything; indeed, it seems

geared not to. Their weak

exhortations to participate

("take a look at the candidates

instead of just voting for the

one with the funniest name")

come out more like strangled

backwash, the political

satirist's equivalent of "had my

fingers crossed."


[Domestic Terrorism]

Of all the ideologies trotted

out, SALVO's exuberant promotion

of gun ownership seems the most

honest, but the goofy

proselytizing which accompanies

these threats of potential

violence cheapens them somewhat.

After "being convinced that guns

are good, you might want to

checkout our 'My First Handgun

Buying Guide'" sounds a lot like

Butt-head playing at John Perry



[Good Ideas, Bad Philosophies]

SALVO's heartfelt but

inconsistent refusal to take any

kind of political stance

seriously, including its own,

may be the most articulate

ideological statement it could

ever make. To be sure, nothing

charts the pH of their acidic

apolitics higher than the fact

that the SALVO creators handed

over the editorial reins to

someone clueless enough to

equate "cappuccino machines

doin' overtime" with

"brains...whirring." Such an

overt act of disregard for even

a nominal degree of intelligent

discussion cements our opinion

that not only is SALVO the best

political site on the net, it's

by far the most honest.

courtesy of Ann O'Tate