"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 30 May 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XXXVI


[Natnl Entertainment State]

It's difficult for us to dislike

any magazine that's got a

centerfold - there's something

about the singularity of focus,

the expert editor's intuition of

the precise image that can make

readers fold open, lay down,

tickle around and gasp. Just as

Playboy parades its Miss Julys,

CatFancy vaunts its fluffy

Himalayans, and High Times

struts its sativa, The Nation

has entered into the fray with

their presentation of Mark

Crispin Miller's conglomerate

bitchslap, The National

Entertainment State media map

(which, while still not

available on The Nation's site,

resides on Voyager's Media &

Democracy.) Aside from Suck

still not placing on it, the

most arresting quality of the

study is how complicit the

media-biting trust-fund set is

in the encouragement and support

of their least favorite media in

the form of insurance policies,

mutual funds, and 401ks - these

are Fortune 500 companies, after

all. While Walter Cronkite

chides the stockholders for

discouraging courage in favor of

profits, Leslie Savan dishes the

most likely, and absurd

scenario. She cites Disney's

Mighty Ducks 2 plotline of

hockey tykes suffering moral

deterioration via the forces of

corporate sponsorship as the

model for corporate co-opting of

their own backlash. Put another

way, if people start getting

into this media

ownership-mapping business, the

smart money's on a Dateline NBC

miniseries, a Time cover

feature, or a Disney animated

remake of Citizen Kane - though

Deputy Dawg cracking down on

antitrust is still probably out

of the question.



Seems like ever since the happy

golden years of Sassy, every

other pack of twentysomething

women wants to put out a webzine

for girls. But then, given the

weight of girl issues -

virginity, orgasm, and the joys

of zit-popping - it's not hard

to understand why modern women

are itching to make up for those

long, troubling years when it

seemed Judy Blume was their only

friend. Just as Foxy, queen of

the funky girl webzines, manages

to get pretty cutesy and Cali

without making cynical young

things ill, gurl is at times

oh-so-supportive, but somehow -

magically - does it without

inspiring nausea. Conveying

womanly wisdom to teenage girls

on such heavy topics without

getting heavyhanded is next to

impossible, but the honesty and

sense of humor here is

heartwarming, even to

coldhearted assholes like

ourselves. Or maybe that's the

coffee talking...


[Precision Mouse]

Historically, the leading

psychiatric journals have been

pretty thin on case studies

involving people who fall in

love with their mouse pads.

Thanks to the 3M Precision

Mousing Surface, however, that

should be changing soon enough.

All sorts of office workers like

the product, but it seems to

provoke an especially strong

reaction in marketing managers:

"I have been using
[it]... for a number of
weeks now and I am
totally in love... all
the pain has gone away."

"I have been searching
...for years... Having
gone through more
than a dozen... always
searching for the Holy
Grail... I've found it.
It is that good."

"Totally responsive," "ultra-thin,"

with a ribbed surface that

"eliminates slippage," and, as an

added bonus, "more forgiving

in terms of hand movements,"

3M's new product sounds like the

perfect mate - or at least like

something that might be perfect

to come between you and your mate.



It's no use blaming Tom Cruise

for the antic search queries in

Mission Impossible (search for:

"job," "Holy Bible," "max.com."

hmmmm...), although his reliance

on the Internet raises the

question of whether the mission

would have been all that

impossible had he used

Lexis/Nexis - after all, the net

is a cesspool of "enthata" -

unreliable sources and unsafe

ideas. But one need not wait

until alt.religion.scientology

is spammed into safe oblivion to

reap digital insight at the

drive-in - even if Hollywood's

riotous extrapolations of the

Netscape browser leave a bit to

be desired, astute

laptop-shoppers would be

well-advised to blow off c|net

in favor of the tinseltown

teach-in. The shadow world of

intelligence and

counterintelligence can be

dizzying, but as Mission

Impossible makes clear, you'd

have to be a firm advocate of

systematic political chaos and

wanton fiscal gain to prefer a

Windows-compatible to the

wholesome good-hacker Mac.

Meanwhile, for upscale

brute-forcers, Twister

demonstrates that both the

earnest tornado-chasers and the

sell-out corporate glory-seekers

may depend on SGI laptops, but

when in doubt, look at the logo.

The crisp, unsullied SGI seal is

all you need to spot the

avaricious newbie - a true alpha

geek keeps his axe crunching

with the help of Scotch tape,

chewing gum, and a decent


courtesy of the Sucksters