"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 21 March 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XXVI



"Resolved: The Government Has The

Right To Regulate The Internet"

is the topic for Friday night's

PBS "Firing Line Debate,"

featuring a murder of old crows

gnawing at that now-tattered

straw man, The Communications

Decency Act. Hosted by Michael

"Microsoft" Kinsley, the

televised tussle includes

netizen from another planet,

Electronic Frontier Foundation

co-founder John Perry "a bit is

a bit is a bit" Barlow, who

waddles up to the mike in a

rather fetching black-shirted la

cosa nostra ensemble to declare

"I come to you from

cyberspace..." Arianna

Huffington, who once tried to

buy her husband a California

Senate seat, appears on the

pro-Decency Act side as

debating's Harlem Globetrotter:

no real point scoring abilities,

but some high comedic moves. The

debate, in short, is long, with

no one really "debating" as much

as doing P.R. It prompts William

F. Buckley Jr. to declare at the

show's end that the jaw jam

session had taken some

"absolutely ludicrous turns,"

including, we couldn't help but

notice, Esther Dyson saying she

actually favors some government

regulation of the net. A bit by

any other name...


[Grave Dirt Collection]

Talk about getting the dirt on

the stars...Jim Tipton's got a

little piece of half the

heavens, what with samples from

the graves of everyone from Oscar

Wilde to Al Capone, all packed in

spice jars. The Web is great for

unearthing unusual hobbies, and

this one comes complete with a

guide to the gravesites of the

"noteworthy" called, aptly

enough, "Find-A-Grave." Jim's

specific motivation remains a

mystery, but here's a clue from

his home page: "For the time

being I have seen enough of

living things... - Sartre." As

far as we're concerned, as long

as he intellectualizes and

references his necrolatry, he

has every right to get a piece

of those who rest in peace.



[The artist formerly known as Prince] has always understood the

commercial potential of

cross-marketing: in 1981, two

years before Michael Jackson

beat it, he was jacking us off

to the then-controversial sounds

of funk mated to heavy metal.

Next, he bred the Rock Movie

with MTV; the offspring of this

inevitable, incestuous coupling

took in millions. Since the

Hendrix-cum-gospel climax of

Purple Rain, it's pretty much

been sloppy seconds for [the artist formerly known as Prince] as far

as artistic innovation goes, but

from a merchandising standpoint,

he's still a trailblazer. CDs,

posters, and even purple

raincoats are now on sale at the

pocket-sized entrepreneur's own

vanity boutique. And with the

dawning of a new sales channel, the

[the artist formerly known as Prince] thing finally makes sense. It

isn't a name, it's a logo - the

perfect way to brand product for

the post-literate,

cross-marketed world of the Web.

If you want 2 shop like it's

1999, u know where 2 go...



Lurking at yet another website

premiere at the Icon Byte Bar:

html jockey #1: "I heard there  
are some Sucksters at this      

Suckster: ["playing" stupid]    
"Really? What's suck?"          

html jockey #2: "Oh, that's     
Suck." [points to screen] "I    
wish our site would get Sucked."

Suckster: [still "stupid"] "You 
mean it'd be a badge of honor?" 

html jockey #2: "Yeah, it's,    
like, our dream."               

courtesy of the Sucksters