"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 24 September 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CL



The one really unbearable thing

about our long national wet

dream has been tuning into BBC

World Service radio broadcasts

and hearing those clipped London

tones talking about the news

from Washington. When we listen

to reporters speaking in the

world's most annoying accent,

it's strictly to hear of

godawful massacres and disasters

in countries we don't know squat

about. Help may be on the way

though, because while we're

beating our heads-of-state

against the wall, the rest of

the world is once again going to

hell in a handbasket. Iran and

Afghanistan are racing toward an

apocalyptic battle for supreme

hand-cutter-offer status. Portly

German Chancellor-for-Life

Helmut Kohl is headed toward his

own beer hall putsch. Japan is

trying to glue together an

emergency East Asian

co-prosperity sphere, while

Boris Yeltsin has tapped into

his ample vodka reserves in an

attempt to pay Central Russian

teachers in the nation's only

guaranteed currency. Meanwhile,

Hurricane Georges and floods in

Bangladesh have spawned such

superfluous headlines as

"Bengalis face endless misery,"

and "Port au Prince ravaged." In

these trying times, we don't

know whether to be cheered or

dismayed by evidence of a

tougher American line. Japanese

defense minister Fukushiro

Nukaga was injured Monday en

route to the Pentagon by a

security barrier that

mysteriously "popped up" and

impaled his car. We're happy to

report that Nukaga was treated

for minor injuries and released,

but if they'd had one of these

pop-up barrier thingies to take

out underqualified Pentagon

interns, we might not be in this




We'll take Salon's word that

they're not the matchbook in a

White House-driven

scorched-earth campaign, but new

evidence suggests the

bomb-scared Starr warriors may

be extending their universal

smear campaign. No sooner had we

noticed that CNN Interactive has

begun repurposing Salon's

content than CNN reported that

Evander Holyfield has spawned a

corner team of five illegitimate

children. It's time to increase

the peace; even heavyweight

champions have private lives.



Also in need of a scolding this

week are Hootie and his

Hooties, whose need for

publicity doesn't give them the

right, we think, to endanger the

lives of innocent airline

passengers. The band's New

York-LA flight was forced down

late last week when flight

attendants were unable to

restrain Amit Singh, a drunk and

disorderly groupie. It's

understandable that at this very

late stage in their career, the

Hooties would hire a stalker for

news placement. But they should

have imitated the marching bands

of Southern University and

Prairie View A&M University, who

made national news in Texas

Sunday by mixing it up in a

bench-clearing clash of

trombones. The Prairie View band

compounded its football team's

80-game losing streak by coming

out on the bottom in this battle

of the bands - which may explain

why the Hooties, who we suspect

would get their asses stomped by

Brandi and Monica, opted to let

other goons take their lumps for




"Like Shakespeare, Whitman's

writings are so timeless. I find

solace in works from the past

that remain profound and somehow

always poignant. Whitman is so

rich that one must read him like

one tastes a fine wine or good

cigar - take it in, roll it in

your mouth, and savor it!"

Obvious japery aside, Monica

Lewinsky's critique of America's

poet raises an interesting

point. Boy Walt, we all know,

endured his own painful romantic

secrets. It may be no accident

that Barney Frank - a man with

nothing to hide - is one of the

few Democrats with the balls to

stand by the president in his

time of need. But as with so

much else in this tale, love and

literature have become

intertwined. On the basis of her

close reading of Whitman, we

honestly can't say whether we'd

rather talk books with Monica or

have sex with Harold Bloom.



If the Idiotape broadcast was

conclusively inconclusive, at

least it reestablished

television as the world's

premier purveyor of television.

The jerky, unsynced

streaming-video broadcasts

couldn't have been more painful

to watch, a highly rated bad

placement for Web-based

multimedia. No wonder Rob Glaser

seems so peevish these days. We

expect a better performance from

retailers of old-fashioned

video. Reel.com reported that

orders for the Clinton cassette

ranked number three for the day,

and whoever can ship fastest

will reap the benefits. One of

the first into the box is Seth

Warshavsky's Internet

Entertainment Group, whose

testimonytape site is offering

the clip at a

Titanic-competitive price and

length of US$9.95 for all four

hours. "This uncut version has

been digitally mastered and is

archival quality," says

Warshavsky. "We will label the

package with appropriate

warnings that it contains

material suitable for adults

only." Still, marketing the tape

as porn seems a bit off. Given

that the only image is of a man

being interrogated by an

off-screen tormentor, "William

J. Clinton Under Oath" would

seem a better fit for one of

those Soviet Union nostalgia




We're still impressed by the way

Warshavsky convinced the Web's

self-styled hard-nosed reporters

to print whatever version of

events he concocted about the My

First Time hoax. But while

digital Hef has never had any

trouble getting reporters to buy

his rumors, he's having a harder

time finding underwriters to

sell his news. His plan to take

the company public as "the

Viacom of new media" has been

stymied by first-tier

underwriters who have turned up

their noses at his business.

"The first tier is concerned

with the percentage of business

that is adult," Warshavsky told

a reporter for the Puget Sound

Business Journal. "It's

difficult for them to get past

that." Come on, now - if people

were still so worried about the

online porn business, why would

assembled UN dignitaries have

given Bill Clinton that

closing-bell standing ovation on

Monday? In fact, we see even

more promise in Vegas Girls2U,

whose offer of "hundreds of

professional outcall girls who

are available 24-hours-a-day to

come direct to your Las Vegas

hotel room to strip totally

naked and dance for you in the

privacy of your own room (both

men and women available!)" would

seem to fulfill that

bringing-people-together wish

that the Web was supposed to be

all about. No, the real problem

rests in Warshavsky's business

plan: He claims his company is

turning a tidy profit. Ebay.com,

making its Wall Street premier

today, also has a history of

creating value for its

investors. Investment bankers

can stand the porn industry, but

nobody wants to establish a

pattern of Net IPOs on companies

that are actually making money.

courtesy of the Sucksters