"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 16 April 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXXVI


[thanks for mail! places I've been: Ireland for my first 19 years, Texas, most of CA, Spain, France, England, Scotland, NYC]

It was bad enough when aging

mediatrixes Rolling Stone and

Spin knocked headlines in their

efforts to be the first to

service South Park. But a few

news cycles later, when the show

bumped Monica Lewinsky off

Newsweek's cover for a week and TV

Guide called it "one of the most

sophisticated shows on TV," a

crisis was clearly brewing: If

such bastions of the mainstream

all loved South Park, what would

that do to the show's dogged

sense of rebelliousness? While

the Newsweek article claimed

that the show's creators, Trey

Parker and Matt Stone, have yet

to hire a publicist, it

certainly seems as if the expert

touch of a hired hand has been

at work in more recent media

placements. Last week, the National

Enquirer gave the show top

billing in its stock recipe for

prepubescent massacre;

apparently, all Mitchell Johnson

really wanted to do was kill

animals with Uncle Jimbo. And

this week, the show figured

prominently in a vintage New

York Times finger-wagger: Watch

out, the article implied, your

children may be falling for

South Park's alarming blend of

racism, sexism, and flatulence

too. A couple more stories like

that and all the damage done

from those positive reviews may

be undone - guys, can you drop

that "we don't have a publicist"

pose and please pass her name

along to us?


[music: Zappa, always Zappa, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 'Trane and Miles of course, Monk]

Following the smashing success of

Dachau soap and Donner Party

all-you-can-eat buffet

restaurants - not to mention a

certain 14-hour-long piece of

cinematic vaudeville - a

Swiss-US partnership has

announced plans to build a new

cruise ship called, um,

Titanic. The company has even

given itself a sleek new name,

"White Star Line Ltd." Pushing

for authenticity, plans call for

the new Titanic to look just

like the old one, down to the

period decor. Although they

probably won't actually split it

in two and fill it with

mouldering corpses - that would

be trying too hard. (Nor does

the ship's developer promise

that every word spoken aboard

the new Titanic will be cloying

and juvenile, which would

require a prohibitively large

above-the-line budget.) White

Star Line flaks suggest that the

ship will be built by the same

yard responsible for the first

Titanic, an Irish company that

now makes oil rigs rather than

actual, you know, ships. Hey,

they can always squint really

hard at the blueprints, right?

Company spokesman Walter

Navratil insists that on the

Titanic's maiden voyage from

Southampton to New York - yep -

the ship will stop for a few

minutes at the site of the

original sinking. Just a few

minutes? Not nearly as authentic

as we had hoped.


[beer: Lagunitas IPA - my current favourite, Hefe Weizen, Guinness. Best bar: Toronado, Haight st, San Francisco]

The US$300 million merger of San

Francisco's Zip2 and

Pasadena-based CitySearch looks

to be just one more brick in the

wall of New York City, further

cementing its tenuous role as

loss-leader to the nation. Watch

this mortaring job: CitySearch

spends lavishly to build a

splashy Gotham outpost, buying

maverick local content start-up

Metrobeat. They then labor

mightily but unsuccessfully to

sell this leaky dike to The New

York Times, which instead

chooses to build its own NY

Today site. Meanwhile Zip2,

which already helped slap

together sites for New York

Newsday and Sidewalk New York,

is providing the technology for

NY Today. The result? Insiders

suspect that the Times site will

become the new conglomerate's

flagship project, leaving the

costly CSNY site to languish now

that it's served its purpose as

a magnet for publicity. The

boffo conclusion? Naturally,

CitySearch is now contemplating

a big IPO, thus proving to

people considering high-profile

flights of fancy in New York: If

you can fake it there, you can

make it everywhere else.

courtesy of Sucksters