"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 31 July 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XCIV


[This is a cartoon of Elvis with part of a maple leaf behind him. What does it mean?]

The only thing more American than

Elvis is imitating him, so it's

only fitting that last weekend

saw the Third Annual Canadian

National Elvis Tribute &

Convention in Collingwood,

Ontario. With a schedule that

included such pan-cultural

clichés as a trivia

contest, collectible sales, and,

yes, Elvis impersonators, the

festival's sole hip-thrust

towards Canadian content seems

to have been the "Who Came the

Greatest Distance Award." But

with so many familiar icons

around them, one wonders if the

winners realized they had gone

very far. One clue: Sponsors of

the immitative affair included

Molson Breweries, who - in the

States at least - have seized

upon the trope of Canadian

identity like a drowning

Canadian might seize a beer. (In

Canada, Molson seems happy to

rely on the same ole ass-grab

and titilation that's worked so

well for American beer

advertising.) Some might argue

that using the Mackenzie

brothers' foam-soaked

Northern-neighbor caricatures is

either sending the wrong message

(i.e., Michael Jackson shilling

for a petting zoo) or an

insulting one (the duo aren't so

far from a Canadian Amos and

Andy), but we admire the

brewer's smarts. In the

equalizing age of NAFTA - for

every Elvis, there's an El Vez

or an Eh-Vis - marketing seems

like the only real reason to

maintain any singular identity

at all.


[A picture of the Seinfeld logo. Very post-modern.]

In recent years, New York Review

of Books editor Robert Silvers

has made several increasingly

odd attempts to turn America's

toniest venue for neoliberal

belles-lettres into a sheepish fanzine

of popular culture. NYRB

advisory editor Elizabeth

Hardwick is especially to be

faulted here - her essay on the

Menendez brothers trial, f'r

instance, said little more than,

"Gosh! Isn't Court TV

interesting?" - but now Geoffrey

O'Brien, executive editor of

America's toniest book club, the

Library of America has topped

her with 3,000 words on

the pleasures of ... Seinfeld?

For the record, we should state

that we have never been big fans

of Jerry and friends, let alone

do we prize its "singular

intensity" or status as a "brief

and reliable pleasure." (Note

that masturbation fits both

those descriptions quite

nicely!) Still, any sane person

would have to admit that Mr.

O'Brien seems to have spent as

much time watching Julia

Louis-Dreyfus' "shifts of

expression" in slow motion as

most men spent trying to catch a

glimpse of Sharon Stone's snatch

in Basic Instinct. And this is

precisely the problem: You can

lead a bourgeois belletrist

to popular culture, but for

god's sake don't let him think.


[This is a simple drawing of two knots. I remember learning all sorts of knots when I spent my summers camping in Maine. There were a lot of sailors around and they had all sorts of crazy knot stories to tell.]

Does she have a nose for news, or

is she just a hack? On Tuesday, the Miami

Herald reported that Marta

Limbaugh, also known as Rush's

better half, is getting into the

publishing game with Vent. The

provocative title already has

people talking - though the

creators deny the magazine will

be a "political mouthpiece,"

there's speculation that it's

just an apt description of how

the publication might provide an

outlet for Mr. Limbaugh's

gasseous views. Perhaps seeking

to distance themselves from such

well-regarded but old-school

political magazines as the

National Review and the New

Republic, advance word from the

publication describes the

project as "cutting-edge hip"

and "a thoughtful publication

for Generation Xers," putting Vent

in the dubious company of both George and

Details. Well, maybe not

Details. A fable making the

rounds in publishing circles

tells of one freelancer's failed

attempt to get a nibble on any

of his pitches. Patiently, the

Details editor explained that

while the stories might have

worked for the "old" Details,

the new, working-guy-oriented

Details needed something

different. "How so?" the

freelancer supposedly inquired,

to which the editor responded,

"Not so hip." Ah, so not so

different after all.


[This is a logo of a combination of Intel, C-Net, and Mediadome's logos. I had no idea what to do with this picture when I got it. I hope everyone likes it very much.]

Intel's recent announcement that

it will soon be extending its

co-op advertising program to the

Web has revenue-strapped content

providers looking for ways to

get beyond the banner and into

Intel's good graces. According

to Advertising Age, Intel will

allocate 10 percent of its

US$750 million co-op budget to

the Web next year; since Intel's

co-marketers must pay 50 percent

of the cost of ads purchased

under the co-op program, that

means $150 million in revenue.

In a market that's expected to

total roughly $450 million for

1997, that's a significant lump

of cash, and we're eager to see

the paradigm-busting thinking it

inspires as sites attempt to

create advertising opportunities

that are more, uh, compelling

than the banners that Intel

writes off as a "kind of

limiting at this point." We're

looking toward cutting-edge

Intel back scratcher CNET for

ideas in this area - compared to

some other tech news sources,

they're already doing some

interesting things with data

sheets masquerading as articles.

courtesy of the Sucksters

[Fish Image]

[Netscape Inbox Direct]

[The Barrel.  Can't get enough?  You should visit the Barrel.]

[Search Suck.com]

[The Gun. Buy stuff from us. I say, Buy!]

[net.moguls Link]
[Other Work By]
The Sucksters
[Fresh Fish.  If you clicked here, I might make more money. You love The Fish, admit it.  Now click. Click, I say!]