"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 19 September 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run LII



The Oscars? Mel Gibson won seven!

Fuck the Oscars. Today's

Hollywood auteurs looking for

the life-affirming,


self-congratulatory feeling of

joy that only an industry award

can deliver have turned to the

Clios. Witness the conversion of

Spike Lee to taco hawker, Gus

van Sant to skate-shoe stylist,

and, most recently, Joel and

Ethan Coen to car salesmen. This

week, as the first of the Coens'

Accord and Civic spots hit the

air, we were left wondering if

the wood-chipper bit from the

end of Fargo was on their clip

reel. Probably not, but does it

matter? Remember the scene in

Barton Fink where the half-rabid

studio exec slobbers to John

Turturro about wanting "that

Barton Fink feeling" even though

he hasn't seen any of Fink's

work? We bet the Coen Brothers




That thud you heard was the last

technical obstacle to the

complete commercialization of

the Internet coming down. On

Tuesday, Cisco Systems

introduced new router software

that allows for "Tag Switching,"

the selective transmission of

the Internet's smallest chunks

of information. By installing

the update, ISPs will be able to

offer different levels of

service, giving preference to

the packets produced by those

who pay more. While this is

exactly the sort of thing

well-heeled Chicken Littles have

been calling for, those of us on

the wrong side of corporate

largesse are doomed to suffer

even slower connections as the

rich guys push their way to the

front of the line.



The latest brand of info-juice

filter to pop up in the quest

for a more pure search-engine

divination looks to be the first

to push the concept of

diminishing returns as a selling

point. At least, we think that's

the point. While many search

engine interfaces - and press

releases - could be described

(generously, even) as

"confusing," it takes a company

long since passed by the clue

train to take as much gleeful

pride in the matter as does

DisInformation. From their

promise (or is it a warning?)

that visitors "may form

subconscious subject links in

their minds" to their curious

epigram, "Bees can't wear

sunglasses," the entire site

seems engineered to promote

cognitive dissonance. But maybe

that's the point: Notes Creative

Director Richard Metzger,

"DisInformation means 'LIES.'

And we're using the word in an

ironic sense."



Information, investigation,

intelligence... no, we're not

brainstorming on new HotBot

slogans, we're dreaming of dark

suits, dark shades, and the

wonderful possibility of darker

days ahead should the Church of

Scientology be replaced by the

U.S. Government's assorted spook

organizations as the net's

democratically elected Public

Enemies #1. It was easy enough

to dismiss a recent report on

purported Old Media Malfeasance

as just another steel-toed Dr.

Martens to the head of an

already ailing mutt. But when we

heard that local libraries could

barely keep photocopies

available of the recent San Jose

Mercury News special report on

the crack-peddling schemes of

the CIA, the tendril of drool

connecting our lips to our laps

(it happens every time we hear

"crack") lent us motivation to

brave the paper's website. It

didn't hurt that the feature,

entitled "Dark Alliance: The

Story Behind the Crack

Explosion," had a

Shockwave-infected design

inspired more by Salvo than The

Nation, but we were far less

interested in the specifics of

our government's pipe-smoking

contra-funding entrepreneurial

shenanigans than the prospect of

the online information community

competing and clashing with the

intelligence community in our

own backyard. And the dark

nimbus cloud of crack smoke

hanging over the scandal only

got denser when the

drug-trafficking furor was

displaced by the spectacle of

official FBI denials of online

rumors that Flight 800 was

downed in a Navy training

exercise. The jury's out on

whether an official response to

Walter Miller's home page is in

the wings; stay tuned...

courtesy of the Sucksters