"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 12 September 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run LI



Here's a newsflash that fills us

with more remorse than an empty

bag of Sweet Sixteen powdered

doughnuts - according to an

American Civil Liberties Union

study, "[m]ore than 20 million

workers now have their computer

files, voice mail, or email

searched by their bosses." While

most of us have cache-crashing

amounts of personal email that

could get us fired, imprisoned,

attacked by an angry mob, or,

worst of all, chided mercilessly

by our coworkers, we're fairly

certain that our civil rights

won't be violated here in our

happy digerati grunting grounds.

These byte-sniffing Babbitts are

afraid of what they'll find -

middle management sneaking

through employee email would be

like OJ launching an aggressive

search for Nicole's killers. But

the ACLU also reports that at

Degussa Corporation, a

precious-metals processor in New

Jersey, employees must pass

through metal detectors when

leaving work. Fair enough,

except that three women who wear

underwire bras have sued the

company for invasion of privacy.

The company's lawyer says the

company gave all women a $100

new-bra allowance; nice try, but

just not supportive enough, if

you ask us.



Last week, as an entire battalion

of political hacks found

themselves grinding enamel into

their laptops after being denied

admittance to the gala George

postconvention extravaganza at

the Art Institute of Chicago,

the din over JFK Jr.'s

politico-fashion magazine

reached a deafening level. With

the announcement that next

month's cover will again be a

celeb-in-drag phantasmagoria

(featuring uber-FOB Barbra

Streisand as Betsy Ross),

political and media pundits

cranked up their whine machine

to once again decry the mag as

"glossy," "light," and now (ooh!)

"partisan." And while all this

may be true, the overtly jealous

critics, jockeying for position

to dis George the hardest, have

forgotten that this is exactly

the magazine that Kennedy was

aiming for. Would they waste

precious keystokes calling Elle "dizzy,"

The Nation "boring," or Suck

"repellent"? We don't think so.

So while those in the press

grumble, we know that if they

could have the Kennedy platinum

card, the Kennedy chest hair and

the Kennedy family jewels, each

and every one of them would do

it just like John-John does.


[Same Sex]

Before you, too, get your

stockings in a bundle about the

"Defense of Marriage Act," which

passed the house on Tuesday, why

not look at the bright side of

having federally mandated

definitions of interpersonal

relationships? All that mushy

stuff is so confusing - wouldn't

it be great to have the wisdom

of Uncle Sam addressing the

issues of Aunt Agony? We look

forward to government

regulations specifying such

emotional imponderables as:

"that way" (as in "I like you,

but not in..."); "space" (as in

"I need more..."); and "friends"

(as in "why can't we just

be..."). And if the feds do as

good a job regulating

relationships as they did

children's television, well,

perhaps we'll get some catchy

jingles and sugared cereal to

help us feel better after the

(inevitable) divorce.


[Key Chain]

Reminding us that we don't really

want to join any club that would

have us as a member, Suck was

recently honored with the No. 20

spot (ahead of GolfWeb, behind

Stim) on a list of the top 100

websites put together by P.O.V.,

a newish lifestyle magazine

aimed at upscale Details readers

who think Mike Milken is way

cooler than Jarvis Cocker... or

at least they think know who

Milken is. We've always

suspected that such lists were a

case of publicity leading

editorial by its ink-stained

hand (the feature also

introduces P.O.V. Online), and

the magazine recently issued a

press release to say that it

will throw a mid-September

promotional party to toast the

winners with Tanqueray

"Cybertinis" as "Mr. Jenkins

celebrates the shift in power

from Wall Street to Silicon

Alley." They wish. To judge by

the valu-pak spam method P.O.V.

used to disburse the invites

(what, you didn't get yours?),

they must realize that

web celebs are a

dime-a-dozen-daiquiris. On the

other hand, it would take more

than a few virtual drinks to

grease the skids on all those

stalled IPOs.



Computer culture in general - if

not the web - has been around

just long enough to have

generated some real celebrities.

Which is to say: there are

definite winners and losers. Of

course, in tech cult, the losers

are the winners. You could

almost hear wheezing as tech

exec swivelnecks hunkered down

this past summer, magic j-bones

in hand, for the hagioscopic

public-televised spectacle of

Robert Cringeley's Triumph of

the Nerds. Jobs and Wozniak,

those rascals! Imagine: these

nascent millionaires were once

cloddish hackers, cobbling

together red boxes and

prank-calling the Pope! But

while the Silicon Valley boys

wept tears of nostalgic joy into

their hot tubs and groped for

their cell phones in the name of

philanthropy, most of them could

hardly afford to concern

themselves with the fates of

today's outlaw weenies.


[It's Bernie]

Take Ed Cummings, for example, a

young geek who shares all of

Jobs and Wozniak's enthusiasm

and curiosity in illicit

telecommunications technology,

with none of the venture

capital. It's hard to say

whether Cummings will one day be

remembered as a multimillionaire

CEO of some future computer

manufacturing outfit, but for

the time being, he'll have to

resign himself to being known as

the most beat-down hacker yet

persecuted. Guilty of little

more than wasting his money on

Loompanics rube-fodder, Cummings

got himself into a world of

trouble when he gave pictures of

Secret Service agents to Fox TV

in Philadelphia. Good for a

laugh at the time, but these

days he sits with a broken face

and arm in a cell next to a

noted sadomurderer. We'd suggest

pecking a letter of support to

him or the Philly Parole Office,

but in this day and age, we're

afraid his best long-term

prospect might come in the form

of a call from the suits at

Creative Artists Agency. That

failing, there's always PBS...

courtesy of the Sucksters