"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 11 December 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.


These are tough days for the pundit business. Self-fulfilling prophesies just ain't what they used to be; time and again, 1998's sure things haven't panned out. The same guy's still living at 1600 Pennsylvania. The GOP did squat at the November polls. We haven't carpet-bombed Baghdad. Monica's voice didn't sound all that stupid.

And then there's the stock market. Remember a couple months back, when Esquire's cover asked, "What Did You Do After the Crash, Daddy?" When The New Yorker - in August and then again in September - wrote, "History suggests that a stock-market crash is likely"? When, in that same period, The New Yorker's arch-rival - America's "most exciting newspaper" - yes, that cynosure of financial acumen known as the Weekly World News, twice insisted that the "SECOND GREAT DEPRESSION IS JUST WEEKS AWAY!"?

Here at Suck, we do remember. And so we can't help but share in the humility of lessons no doubt learned at publishing powerhouses the nation over. We even have a new office rule, hindsightedly obvious though it may seem. Here's our morning chant: Next time we're seized by ass-slackening, pants-defiling financial panic, let's not blow the editorial budget on canned foods and handguns.

Instead, next time the Dow dips below 8000, we'll place our bets on something bigger: a crazy dream we like to call Free Fall. A little bit of a romance pic, a little bit of a disaster flick, Free Fall will speak to the collective fear of instant poverty while pumping box-office cash into our billowing mattresses. Because in good times or bad, we know we'll see you at the movies!

Next ... We fade up on a day much like today - in Hollywood!

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