"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 1 May 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.


[what is it about getting mugged/robbed/broken into 
that's so infuriating yet violating?

It's a net.joke so obvious that

it's a wonder no tree-hugging

organic farmer has put up the

Web page yet: "Monsanto Ate My



In case you missed it, that was

the castrati cry of irate

farmers in four Southeastern

states late last year, where the

fruit of Monsanto's genetically

engineered Roundup Ready cotton

was shriveling up - call it

agricultural shrinkage, if you

will - and dropping to the

ground before harvest time. That

the biotech giant guarantees

business for itself by

genetically engineering plants

requiring continued use of its

Roundup brand of pesticides is

not exactly news, of course, but

the quickening pace at which

Monsanto is firing blanks

deserves at least a passing

mention: Last spring, a recall

of 60,000 bags of bad canola

seeds; last summer, a European

boycott of magically modified

soybeans; and last fall, tens of

thousands of acres of impuissant

King Cotton. (Oh yes, we almost

forgot: Got milk?)


[i end up feeling angry at someone (the unknown 'they') for not fucking 
their own shit up.  
why do you have to fuck MY things up? can't afford your own material objects
to screw with?]

Monsanto's inability to get it

up, agronomically speaking,

isn't really the point, of

course. It's more the continued

reports regarding "disappearing

boys," which suggest that

pesticides and PCBs are up to no

good in the gonad department.

Along with researchers in

Scandinavia, Great Britain, and

Europe, the Journal of the

American Medical Association is

now saying a small, but

measurable, decline in the

proportion of male births may

constitute a "sentinal health

event," a sign that "avoidable

factors" like pesticide exposure

are causing changes in human

reproductive trends - namely,

fewer males. And while we

weren't so worried when it was

just the Canadians, knowing that

there were 38,000 American girls

born in the past 20 years who

should have been boys makes us

wonder if it wasn't something we



What gets the average American

male down, however, is not the

eats - it's the flaccidity. As

Pfizer's stockholders grow

fiscal stiffies sure to last

well into the next century, the

new impotence drug Viagra

continues rocketing off the

shelves. And why not? If males

are diminishing,

percentage-wise, doesn't that

just mean more women will be

needing their services? Anyway,

Father Nature abhors a vacuum

pump - along with needles,

urethral suppositories, penile

implants, and the rest - and

pills are fast becoming the late

20th century's

quintessential mediagenic

celebrities: They don't talk,

they don't wiggle during photo

shoots, and as long as the

reporter paraphrases the

company's press releases

accurately, they don't sue for

libel. Viagra is generating so

much media attention, in fact,

that it sounds suspiciously like

Thomas Pynchon's fictional

plastic, Imipolex G, come to

life - for like the Peculiar

Polymer of Gravity's Rainbow,

Viagra goes from "limp rubbery

amorphous to amazing perfect ...

hardness" when given television



[put down the 40oz. and get a job.
you've heard about that REALLY low unemployment rate, right? 

Boys not yet old enough to take

Viagra, on the other hand, are

having a hard time of it for

completely different reasons.

Their precocious sophistication

notwithstanding, boys have long

been the favorite villains of

reporters bent on "exposing"

whatever they think they most

dislike about contemporary

society. This year, in honor of

Take Your Daughter to Work Day,

The New York Times even found an

expert to testify that there are

four times more emotionally

disturbed boys than girls, six

times more hyperactive boys, and

twice the number of learning

disabled boys. The reason,

suggests Harvard psychology

professor Dan Kindlon, is that

boys are raised in a "culture of

cruelty," in which "to show

vulnerability is akin to death."

Not that Harvard isn't a good

school and all, but this wildly

overwrought statement makes us

wonder if Dr. Kindlon -

co-author of the dreary-sounding

Raising Cain: Protecting the

Emotional Life of Boys - is

basing his research on anything

other than Lord of the Flies.


Kindlon, unfortunately, is

actually only one of an

irritatingly large number of

scholars clogging a burgeoning

field called "Boys' Studies," a

new humanities specialty sure to

doom the job prospects of

gullible grad students for years

to come. Boys' studies,

according to the Times, is about

figuring out why boys who are

given dolls "rip off their heads

and use their bodies as guns,"

and determining whether

rowdiness is "inherent" in boys'

play. The oddest part of all

this is that the most prominent

researcher in this field is girl

expert Carol Gilligan. Even

menopause expert Gail Sheehy is

getting into the act with a new

book called Understanding Men's

Passages, which implies, among

other things, that the Web is

about "gathering" and, ergo, a

tool of the matriarchy.


[god, i sound like a republican...just don't break my windows anymore, got it?]

It's all so confusing. Boys are

supposedly mean, violent, and

distracted because they don't

get enough mothering. But isn't

that because mother's now busy

enjoying father's pill-pricked

priapism? Maybe the trouble is

that father's so delighted with

his woodie-popping that he

doesn't care what he's putting

on the crops, and the uniforms

that might settle the boys down

disappear for lack of cotton.

Maybe not. Every prescription

medication may be famous for

15 minutes, but the

problems associated with rearing

healthy, young whippersnappers

will be with us always.

courtesy of LeTeXan