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

Hit & Run LXV



What with the headaches of

rezoning the North Pole for

strip malls, an embarrassing

gray market in out-of-stock

toys, and nearly being immolated

after ditching the reindeer for

something more modern, you'd

think St. Nick just wouldn't

have time to fulfill his real

mission in life: the quest for

social justice in the garment

industry. While it's heartening

to know that Mr. Kringle runs a

union shop, the sight of a

Santa-suited Kurt Edelman,

mobilization director for UNITE,

being led away in cuffs,

surrounded by protesters waving

"Santa Says: Give the Gift of

Justice" placards made us

realized that here was a case of

icon abuse every bit as crass as

using Richard Jewell to flog

Lynyrd Skynyrd. But a story in

Women's Wear Daily last

Wednesday put us back at ease:

At a four-person PETA protest

outside Condé Nast

headquarters in New York, Santa

the Jolly Old Animal Rights

Activist stuck to dispensing

lumps of coal (to the editors of

Vogue, for their coverage of the

fur industry), and let his three

elves get arrested instead.



At last proving that "Jesus

Christ Online" isn't the latest

expression of surprise among the

digerati, last week's Time cover

story backed down from their

previous assertion that the

Internet is simply a repository

for child pornography. Rather,

it's a medium that's changing

the way we look at religion. The

magazine again supported its

airtight argument with

statistics, showing that there

are about six times as many

references to Christ on the web

as to Bill Gates. (No word on

where John Lennon stands). The

spread contained much

navel-gazing, an oh-so-helpful

sidebar about religion

and technology, and

bottom-of-the-page pullquotes

that read suspiciously like the

apocalyptic pronouncements from

the front of Wired, albeit more

legible: "We stand at the start

of a delicate dance of

technology and faith - the

marriage of God and the computer

networks." In the end, the

newsweekly comes to a typically

daring conclusion: "The most

basic truth about technological

revolutions is that they change

everything they touch." Talk

about Revelations.



What George Jetson is to

technological boosterism, Cliff

Stoll is to rational discourse

on the failings of digital

media. Predictably, certain

members of the online community

- at least, those with the nerve

to stomach his daily rants on

MSNBC's The Site - are finding

themselves pig-biting mad over

Stoll's Ed-Angeresque

soliloques, and they're taking

matters into their own hands.

The Stollisms-list may yet be

the salve tumescent soreheads,

beleaguered by vacuous

antibandwagoneering, have long

cried out for. Does this include

you? If you've ever wanted to

bop someone in the nose for

abusing the phrase

"depersonalizing technology,"




Most States-side Anglophiles like

to think of our neighbors across

the pond as scone-nibbling

pasty-faced spivs, leaving it to

comp-sci undergrads and

pledge-drive-period PBS

programmers to focus on the

Brits' propensity for

crumpet-mashing of a less

epicurean sort. And it's just as

well, for if you're not a fan of

fart jokes or French-maid

costumes, most contemporary

British "humour" seems hardly

worth the second "u", much less

a second glance, and you might

as well just watch Beavis and

Butthead. So why waste one's

time on something like Loaded?

The British monthly men's

magazine doesn't exactly

rise above the garter-


standards of Benny Hill or The

Young Ones, but it's easier to

turn a page than to flip a

channel, and there are some gems

buried between the cleavage. You

won't find any of the good stuff

on their sub-Swoon website, but

should you find a newsstand that

doesn't keep it with Leg Show and

Giantess (probably where it

belongs), bookmark that corner.

In the November issue, mixed in

among news of an Indian train

announcer being fired for

"breaking wind over the platform

PA to the tune of Beethoven's

Fifth Symphony" and cheesecake

of various flavors, Loaded took

on the subject that most people

just won't do anything about,

naming "Rain" to its gallery of

"Weather Rogues." "Rain is

nothing more than ambitious

water trying to escape from the

sea," they protested, before

going on to take a stand against

continental drift: "If it

weren't for these shifting scum

we would all live in the same

country, there would be no

borders and you could walk from

Cardiff to Manahattan in less

than a minute... They play God

with our lives and move like

drunken giants rolling about in

a cheap hotel bed. Sub strata?

Sub normal!" Hear, hear... Not

that we would want anyone -

least of all these Loaded blokes -

to make that journey. Some

things, like British humor, are

best appreciated from a


courtesy of the Sucksters