"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 13 March 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run LXXV



Back in the days when men were

men and beer was beer and Walt's

head was neither frozen nor

severed from his body, you knew

what pirates were all about.

They wore funny hats, they sang

goofy songs, and, of course,

they raped, robbed, and

pillaged. But earlier this week,

The New York Times announced

that pirates' much-ballyhooed

plundering has been largely

overstated. Even more

dispiriting, Disneyland has

revamped its Pirates of the

Caribbean ride in an attempt to

address parental claims of

sexism. After a two-month

makeover, the animatronic

pirates were retrofitted with

computerized action and "new

acts of theft and gluttony."

Instead of the pirates chasing

women around the island

(ostensibly in search of a

gratis fuck), they will now

chase women carrying trays of

food around the island

(ostensibly in search of a

gratis meal). Hmm ... is a

well-fed pirate/rapist any less

sexist than a malnourished

pirate/rapist? We're not sure

either, but as Marc Davis, the

ride's original animator and

plainly a pupil of history,

adroitly points out, "Pirates

were more inclined to chase

women than a lot of other




Dog bites man is still news in

some circles - even if the

animal in question is more bark

than bite. The minutely-updated

news sites last week were all

over the report that NASA's web

site was "invaded" by hackers

who fiddled with a picture of

the space shuttle and threatened

electronic warfare. The fact

that this altered image menaced

America for only 30 minutes

apparently made it no less a

threat to democracy, and no less

a countercultural giant than the

Village Voice recently bundled

several such events together to

conclude that hackers had become

more sinister since the good old

days of Global Thermonuclear

War. In other news, some guy

broke into someone's house,

rearranged the furniture, and

left without really damaging




As the "Greed" '80s only hinted

at the truly wretched excess of

the '90s, so LA Law and The People's

Court were just a roll in the

hay compared to today's orgy of

legal entertainment. With Court

TV, The Practice, the

objectionable John Grisham, and

the eternal O. J., times

couldn't be better for those

junkies who mainline voir dire

and courtroom histrionics. More

grease for the wheels of

justice, you might think. Back

on planet earth, most Americans

still couldn't tell an

arraignment from an indictment,

and the actual proceedings of

law remain as dull and

impenetrable as Yorkshire

pudding. So how do we explain

the glut of Supreme Court

Justice web pages? Every one of

the nine - even John Paul

Stevens - is the object of at

least one stalker site. Sure,

it's good citizenship and all.

Still, building a shrine to

Antonin Scalia is even creepier

than building one to Claire




The secret of tort-porn's appeal

lies, of course, in our

collective domination-submission

fantasy regarding The Rule of

Law. At heart, Americans are

fetishists for form and nothing

gets us hotter than seeing bad

guys brought into line. Going up

against Cops and Court TV,

though, makes "ripping stories

from the headlines" something of

a race rather than a

description: The problem lies in

finding realistic bad guys with

sufficient major network,

prime-time appeal ... and who

aren't appearing on (very many)

other shows. The producers of

both Feds and The Practice have

found their McGuffin in the one

entity that's neither going to

sue for defamation nor pull ads:

cigarette companies. But that,

apparently, hasn't kept these

legal shows completely exempt

from the long arm of the law.

David E. Kelley, producer of

Feds, told AP that ABC lawyers

went over their wrongful-death

storyline as jittery as Geoffrey

Rush in a nic fit: Veterans of

one skirmish with the smoke

ring, they told Kelley that

defendant brand's mascot

couldn't be a mammal, play a

musical instrument, wear

sunglasses or "flash a

thumbs-up." (This care is taken

in regard to a fictional brand,

mind you, albeit one whose

connections to TV-land induce

media-vertigo in the attentive:

Laramie.) Which is too bad.

Seeing as how some tobacco

companies practice an odd sort

of brand-drag to put themselves

center stage, you'd think a real

product would be grateful for

the placement.

courtesy of the Sucksters


Fish Image
The Fish

[Netscape Inbox Direct]

Barrel Image

The Barrel
[Predictions by Suck]

Gun Image
The Gun

Fish Teaser

net.moguls Link
Other Work By
The Sucksters
Fresh Fish