"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 25 February 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CLXVII


[ 'kibble'-
my food's unapealing when my dad is away]

Can the same moon be

simultaneously waxing and

waning? If you're The Wall

Street Journal, the answer to

this journalistic koan is "Twice

yes." Last Thursday, the

Journal's online edition treated

Purple Moon - the

games-for-girls software

start-up funded by professional

sugar daddy Paul Allen and run

by tireless keynote speaker

Brenda Laurel - to a 1,100-word

puff piece by Cassell Bryan-Low.

Bryan-Low's story marveled at

the company's success in luring

preteen Delia-boppers to the Web

and featured the punchy lead

"Girl power is going online."

Sadly, a few hours later, Purple

Moon announced it was going

rather offline: It had laid off

its entire staff and shut down.

When that new development was

written up by WSJ Interactive's

Dean Takahashi, readers were

briefly treated to the spectacle

of seeing factual and fictional

versions of the same story

running concurrently - joined by

a helpful link. But in a

strange Hitchcockian twist, when

we summoned authorities to the

scene, all evidence of the crime

had disappeared; the Takahashi

story was running alone and the

Bryan-Low feature had vanished.

No link, no archive entry,

nothing. Then, the bizarre

epilog: The Bryan-Low story

fleetingly reappeared on Monday,

again linked to a story (this

one new, with more details) of

Purple Moon's demise.

Interactive Edition Managing

Editor Rich Jaroslovsky assures

us that Bryan-Low's misguided

missive is now buried for good,

even though it presumably passed

editorial muster mere hours

before Purple Moon went belly

ring up. But should it really

have been killed in response to

the subsequent bad news? After

all, we don't expect our

microfiche librarians to replace

all those old "Castro on Verge

of Being Toppled" headlines from

the '60s with "Saddam Barely

Clinging to Power" headlines

from the '90s. More to the

point, this is a matter of

customer service. We pay Dow

Jones good money for our online

subscription, and think we're

entitled to some comic relief.


[i mope 'round the office and don't want to play ]

For all its supposed pinchbeck

uselessness, the term Generation

X has always seemed to us a

pretty handy designation. But as

the term, like the target

market, heads toward

irrelevance, it's heartening to

see one last effort to kick

start the revolution from

within. Dismayed by the

meretricious labeling of

yesterday's young people, Marlow

Peerse Weaver, who publishes

creative writing through his own

imprint, has put out a worldwide

demographic dragnet for poets

born between 1961 and 1982. The

resulting anthology, Generation X

Poetry: In Our Own Voices, will

feature the kind of spontaneous

verse only a truly active Web

search can produce. We spoke

with Marlow from his home in

Raleigh, North Carolina.


Since you count people born in
1962 as members of Generation
X, your book must feature some
poets whose days are in the
yellow leaf. Do any of the
poems address the graying of
Generation X?

I don't know that we
have anybody addressing
graying yet. But where
I'm coming from is, I'm
a boomer. And I thought all
those terms for the
post-boomers, whether calling
them Gen X or slackers or lost
youth, were all media stuff.
And if you ask anybody in that
generation what they want to
be called, "post-boomers" sounds
better to most of them.

What's wrong with "Generation

Well, I wouldn't want to
be called anything that's two
strokes of a pen. And X is
sort of a void.

What about Malcolm X?
He thought it was OK.

Yeah, I thought Malcolm X
was real cool myself, so you
got me there.

At the other end of
the demographic, you
have people who are only 17
now. Do you get a lot of
Rimbaud-type, "In the bitter
hours I imagine bowls of
sapphire" poems?

I call that age group
Dark Poets. I was
getting a lot of dark poetry
from them: Talking about
sweating through a long night,
thinking about suicide, stuff
like that. I think all that
reflects is that every
generation at that point is
looking for self-esteem,
fishing around for a purpose.

Who's your target readership?

I think if enough people
learn about this, people in
that age group will say,
"Hurrah, it's something that's
written by us, not by media
people or some P. J. O'Rourke
snot rag. It's our own
voices." And there may be some
older people who say, "Wait a
minute, let's take a look.
I've got kids that age; maybe
this will tell me something."
See, I worked in the civil
rights and antiwar movements
in the '60s. And it pissed me
off to read these publications
where they portrayed us all as
a bunch of flower children
smoking pot and making love
all day on some commune. And I
could see the same thing
happening with this current
generation - being belittled
by a previous generation that
wanted to paint them as a
well-meaning bunch of snot
rags who can't figure out what
the real world is about.

Wait, I thought these
Generation X kids were
apolitical and more
conservative than their

There's some of that
in the poetry. There are some
poems in there that are real
get-right-with-God stuff.

Do any of the poems rhyme?

Some do. Some are very classical,
some are just ranting chaos.
And they're beautiful, because
even if they're chaotic, they
leave you feeling that you
experienced something. It
turned out to be a really
colorful patchwork, because
your generation is very
diverse. As you go through
there, you'll find each poem
is different. And I even tried
to match the fonts I used to
the mood of the poem.

How many fonts did you use?

Oh, God, I think I used every one
on my MS Word.

Even Zapf Dingbats?

Well I didn't use the
ones for footnotes and
stuff like that, of course.
Probably about 25 fonts in

How did you make sure
the poets weren't lying about
their ages?

The contract was pretty
thorough. And it had to
be because we were dealing
with overseas people in some
cases and minors who had to
get a guardian to sign. About
10 percent of the poets we
selected dropped out - I
suspect mostly because either
they weren't the right age or
they had plagiarized what
they'd sent in.

Did anybody plagiarize
Jewel's A Night
Without Armor?
Generation X.

Nobody did that I know of.

Did you try to get
Jewel to contribute to the

No. I talked with Tori
Amos. She copped out; her
manager thought it would lower
her in some people's eyes.
Billy Corgan's manager was in
for about a month, but they
just disappeared.

Was Billy himself interested?

Yeah, he had a bunch
of poetry too. He
apparently does all the lyrics
for Smashing Pumpkins.

So who's the most famous poet in
the anthology?

I'm not sure, because I
don't live in some of the
countries. Julius Keleras
from Lithuania is in
there, and in Lithuania I
think he's considered the poet.

Out of the 4,500 responses,
you're printing 214 poems.
What's the worst submission
you received?

I'm not going to tell you any names.
Probably the worst one I got
was from a 23-year-old guy who
was in a mental institution.

He wasn't crazy in a good,
Kit Smart kind of way?

No, he was paranoid
schizophrenic, and
the poetry was basically a
kill the cat and eat the dog
kind of thing - then it will
turn into my father and we'll
shake hands and hug and say we
love each other. I read it and
I said, "This is just fucking

He was able to email
you from a mental

No, he mailed that.
There was another woman
who wrote about how she was
raped three times, and she
described it in such detail
that I had to write to her and
say, "No public library in the
country will take this book if
I print this."

Did she claim that
President Clinton was one
of her attackers?

Ha, ha! I don't think so.

Are you worried
that the encroachment
of Generation Y will steal
some of the thunder from your

I don't think so, because I think a
generation lasts 20 years
anyway. And the young people I
talk to haven't even heard of
that Generation Y. So I think
somebody's just trying to drum
something up, and if you read
some of the poetry in this
book, [the poets] believe all
this Generation X stuff is
just a scheme from the
advertising mavens.

They do?

Yeah, the idea is that they're
trying to create a Generation
X so they can market stuff to

To submit your poetry to volume

2 of Generation X Poetry: In Our

Own Words, email Marlow Peerse

Weaver at mwe@interpath.com.


[mom does her best with cookies and such, 
but i can't be consoled when i miss him so much]

Ever since a team of

Pfizer-employed scientists

declared a few weeks ago that

Americans suffer from some

convenient sexual dysfunctions,

pantywaist foreigners have been

savoring the prospect of an

Uncle Sam with no lead in his

pencil. But even if we were to

take seriously these dubious

reports of a boudoir-debility

epidemic, continuation of the

species seems assured with this

week's news that men can now

carry babies to term. It's not

just that male pregnancy fits

the Yankee spirit of better

living through chemistry; it's a

development we've been eminently

prepared for via science-fiction

movies like Night of the Blood

Beast and Alien, beloved imports

like the Jacques Demy farce The

Most Important Event Since Man

Walked on the Moon, latter-day

estro-comedies like Rabbit

Test, and most of all, the

Schwarzenegger vehicle Junior.

News of this discovery

just drives home the fact that

the much-maligned American male

- trained by Schwarzenegger's

comedy output in the arts of

brotherly love (Twins), parenting (Jingle All

the Way), and babysitting

(Kindergarten Cop) - can now

take on the task of maintaining

the family singlehandedly. It's

pretty clear somebody's got to

take up the slack from all those

copulative underachievers out


courtesy of the Sucksters


[Purchase the Suck Book here]