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


[toilmhianta - aspirations; borradh - growth;]

Turns out there's something

beyond stardom, something bigger

than merely making a million

bucks an episode and dating a

girl who still goes to high

school: There's the opportunity

to transcend simple human

existence, the

opportunity to become a

distinct, living product. Jerry

Seinfeld knows this special

state of being awfully well. As

the New York Times recently

noted, describing the collective

understanding of the advertising

industry, the television star

"himself has become a brand."

Maybe he can have the trademark

notice tattooed right on his

forehead. ("So I'm out with two

very close friends of mine,

Budweiser and the new Acura

Legend - I mean, I knew these

guys when, is what I'm saying,

we go back - and these

supermodels start coming on to

us....") Coming to the end of his

hugely successful sitcom - a

show that featured Snapple,

Junior Mints, and several other

products that Jerry just loved -

for a price - the comedian has

been pondering his next career

move. He is, if we can believe

what we read in the NY Times,

considering getting into the

advertising business. If it

seems a little late to be making

that decision - like a naked man

deciding to take off his clothes

- you still have to respect a

guy who's not afraid to shoot

for the stars. "What I really

want to do is direct - er,

direct-market." Makes you miss

David Caruso, doesn't it?


[innealra - machinery]

Seinfeld isn't alone in following

his unusual career path,

however, and some of the

creative-copywriting competition

is peddling a far more amusing

line. Having presided over

hundreds of millions of dollars

in losses, thousands of

layoffs, and a 27 percent drop

in sales during a single

quarter, Gil Amelio walked away

from his 18-month job as

chairman and CEO of Apple

Computer, Inc. with a severance

package totalling a mere $6.7

million. How do you top that

kind of performance? You write a

book complaining about how awful

it all was. On the Firing Line:

My 500 Days at Apple, aside from

having that truly remarkable

subtitle - and do be sure to

check out our new book, To Hell

and Back: My Six Days as a

Retail Cashier - thoughtfully

details the sicknesses in

Apple's corporate culture that

drove the company down, despite

Amelio's brave work to save it.

For instance, as the fired CEO

has also lately been explaining

to reporters, many people at

Apple didn't wear suits to work.

(Well, no wonder; that's why we

decided to go with that new PC.)

But Amelio doesn't point all the

blame for Apple's fall at

others. As the Associated Press

wrote last week, "he also

acknowledged his mistakes,

namely predicting when Apple

would start making money again,

delaying an aggressive

advertising campaign, and

misjudging how far Apple would

shrink before hitting bottom."

Hey, but at least he wore a tie,



[ag gearan - complaining]

Cancers are, by nature, supposed

to be shy and skittish. Some

Cancers, however, are highly

competitive, and many like to

engage in outdoor activities to

relieve stress. So when George

Michael (birthday: June 25th)

recently made his solo debut

sans pantalons in a Beverly

Hills public restroom, we know

full well he was gunning, so to

speak, for Paul Rubens' crown

as king of the eccentric,

tonsorially-challenged, open-air

wankers. Afterwards, Michael,

sporting the oddest walrus

mustache/chin ferret combo since

the cover of Sgt. Pepper's

Lonely Hearts Club Band,

announced on CNN he was terribly

sorry he had let his fans down

by getting himself up, but also

provided Yahoo! with one of its

cattiest headlines ever: "Singer

George Michael Says He Is Gay,

'Stupid.'" Will this help poor

George's album Older? Or will

these older, bolder antics earn

him, instead, a box seat in

Pee-Wee's poorhouse? We think

the former: sometimes the best

approach is to run your mistakes

up the flagpole and see who

salutes. Sometimes the pole

simply salutes itself.


[taibhsiil - ghostly]

When the last segment of Sunday's

60 Minutes flashed onto our

screens with the title "Data

Smog," we went into a transport

of rotten-tomato glee. Our

comrades in the Technorealism

faction, it seemed, had finally

reached their TV apotheosis. The

reality was somewhat different,

and infinitely more disturbing.

With such techno-sideshow acts

as a lewd wearables fashion

show, a borg-like manbot who

wears a monitor over one eye

(for 24/7 immersion in the data

stream), and a director of

boob-in-the-icecube rapid-cut

commercials, this report was

clearly posited on the very data

carnival the Technorealists are

supposed to be against. And as

Technorealist Founding Father

David Shenk emerged as the main

source and theme of the story,

it all became clear - one of the

charter Technorealists had sold

out the team for 30 pieces of TV

silver. Sure, Shenk was paid

handsomely for his treason - the

talking head role all gasbags

covet, a product placement of

colossal proportions (if Bryant

or Barbara is interested in

doing a segment called "Suck,"

we've got a book of our own

we're trying to peddle,

guaranteed to be at least twice

as insulting to your

intelligence as anything Shenk

could ever hope to devise). And

Morley Safer played the Major

Andre role like a champ - even

typing out a defiant rat-a-tat

on his manual typewriter for

effect. Shenk's pas de Morley

may not have done the movement

much good, but it sure boosted

his own marquee value. If that's

what they meant by realism,

we're beginning to see the


courtesy of Sucksters