"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 30 July 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXLII


[evidence that clapping is the new 1998 indie rock percussion fad:
spoon- a series of sneaks]

Competing for merchandise of no

value; eavesdropping on the

collective unconscious;

accidentally reading AOL

member-only content without

having to pay for it;

complaining about content you

get for free. The pleasures of

the Internet are already Spartan

enough that any event that makes

content harder to find only

reminds you of how little it all

meant to you in the first place.

Who can sympathize with hackers,

those simian savants whose puny

efforts to dam the data stream

are almost always less

entertaining than their targets?

We're not surprised that the

movie version of Takedown, John

Markoff's self-serving take on

the Kevin Mitnick saga, is now

moving toward production. Nor

does it come as a revelation

that the script has been

doctored to cast Mitnick - a

second-rate hacker made into a

cause célèbre by

the press - in an even less

favorable light than did the

three books written about his

capture and trial. But as

hackers prepare to protest

outside Miramax offices (and

presumably to repurpose the

Miramax Cafe), it's important to

remember that Takedown was the

wrong choice of source material

for the script. Jeff Goodell's

The Cyberthief and the Samurai

would have been a better choice,

if only for Goodell's concise

take on the saga: "In the end

[Mitnick's] singular achievement

was to piss off and offend

virtually everyone he

encountered." Sounds like a

perfect role for brand-new WBN

acquisition, funnyman Norm



[harvey danger-where have all the merrymakers gone?]

Self-made woman and Cosmetic

Surgery Network majordomo Cindy

Jackson has suicide plans. The

fact that she's going to shuffle

off her mortal collagen shots

when the surgery wears off

strikes one as an act of true

Ayn Randian individualism: at

once a touching non serviam to

God, a swell allusion to Se7en,

and the ultimate act of helpless

rage. It also starts the wheels

turning: Do the saline bags sit

perched, quivering and

preternaturally perky, on the

chest of the skeleton? Do

necrophiliacs clamor for

'stacked' corpses - ripe, busty

perfect 10s even in death?

Finally, didn't GG Allin already

do all this for a lot less

money? Unlike Allin, though,

Jackson claims to be a member of

Mensa in her résumé. In

Jackson's "after" photos, her

almost disembodied smile evokes

the mystically hideous Dadaist

collages of Max Ernst, where one

imagines those hard and

brilliant teeth floating around

and chomping into sewing

machines, wooden legs, dishes,

and heads of state.


[action slacks- one word]

Collages of disembodied features

will presumably be wreaking

havoc with the minds of World

War II veterans this week. Dr.

Frank Schoenfeld, director of

the post-traumatic stress

disorder department at Fort

Miley, California, expects

veterans to flip for the

Oscar-caliber mayhem of a

certain box office juggernaut.

Given that flashing World War II

vets have been known to bust

caps into ill-behaved

sons-in-law, Dr. Schoenfeld's

fear is probably genuine, but it

also officially marks the point

where the Private Ryan hype

reaches its Stalingrad/El

Alamein/Midway turning point.

And it's a good example of how

important context still is. When

last year's Starship Troopers

presented combat as an ongoing

spray of body parts, the people

stayed away in droves; when

Spielberg's well-intentioned

movie does the same, it's hailed

as the first honest depiction of

battle in the history of motion

pictures. A similar sea change

is occurring among critics who

swooned over the onscreen

defecation scene in Shine, but are calling

There's Something About Mary

"the cinema of swill, the latest

monstrous creation from the

loathsome Farrelly brothers."

It's probably to be expected

that a movie with groundswell

business would engender this

kind of Rex Reedish sniping (and

just when Katz was ready to

declare unconditional victory

over the old media prigs), but

don't expect us to take a stand

on either side of this battle -

we're sticking to our belief

that Madeline is the real movie

of the summer. But

with gross cinema everywhere

ascendant, WBN superstar Norm

McDonald made another bad

career move this week by

agreeing to change the name of

his next movie project from

Ballbusted to the less compelling

Pittsburgh. At the risk of

giving Spielberg another

left-handed plug, here's some

advice: When they ask you to

surrender your bad taste, tell

'em "Nuts!"


[grandaddy at the make-out room, SF ]

The Capitol Hill shooting was

such a quickly absorbed news

cycle because it didn't have any

good deviations from the

pattern. The suspect - Russell Eugene

Weston - went by three names,

lived in Montana, and was nuts;

Captain Janks pranked CNN. None

of the shootings were

satisfying in any way; the guy

was caught and the nation

mourned. We strongly suspect

that Monica's immunized

testimony will also be less than

meets the eye. For real

Washington, DC, scandals, watch

this week's reruns of Jeopardy's

Power Players tournament.

Washington insiders are tested

on their actual knowledge of the

world - this is television's

finest political hour, and yet

it doesn't end with somebody

getting shot, laid, or arrested.

One early highlight came when

the combined power of Dee Dee

Myers, Jesse Jackson Jr., and

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. failed to

solve the following clue in the

"Alliterations All Around"


This subtle form of advertising
brings attention to a product by
having it appear in a film,
television show or sporting

For sheer cluelessness, that

easily tops George Bush's

failure to recognize a bar code

scanner. (Nobody expects a

president to do his own

shopping, but not knowing about

product placement means you

haven't even seen Wayne's

World.) We don't know whether to

be mad or relieved that the

Beltway brain trust didn't get

the all time stumper clue, under


Saturday Night Live funnyman
obsessed with anal sex, he was
unceremoniously fired by NBC's
Don Ohlmeyer, but got his
revenge by being elected
President of the United States
in 2008.

courtesy of the Sucksters