"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 18 March 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CLXX



Marilyn Manson's trick ankle did

more than just leave a few

thousand flagelescents without

their overseer. The unplanned

pratfall (variously described as

a "cut" and a "bad sprain") came

while Manson was singing a song

called "Rock is Dead" - a rad

rant about how television is now

God or some other piece of

wishful thinking. In the midst

of this ode to

Götterdämmerung, the

idea of Wotan himself going to

put some ice on his foot puts

this whole death-of-doomsday

thing into perspective. Peter de

Jager, the guy who started all

the Y2K fuss, recently

announced that we may just

muddle through Armageddon after

all. Meanwhile, subway

pranksters from the sect Aum

Shinrikyo have toned down their

eschatological hi-jinks in favor

of an Up With People rock

concert approach, featuring a

medley of hits guaranteed to be

more crowd pleasin' than the

group's earlier "Song of Sarin"

("It came from Nazi Germany/

Sarin, sarin, sarin, the

chemical weapon!/ Song of Sarin

the Brave!"). It's heartening to

see Manson leading the pack of

doomsayers and fanatics who have

stopped lobbying God to start

the apocalypse early. But as the

urge for instant gratification

gives way to a focus on the long

term, we're already starting to

miss the end of the world. What

are we going to do with all

those cans of Dinty Moore we've




After barely a month of trial in

the media, it looks like the

Talking Sandwich lawsuit

involving Tabloid.net and the

Florida Department of Citrus may

be ready to fall, over ripe and

rotten, to the ground. The

Citrus Department's current ad

campaign - which features a

refrigerator-bound sandwich with

olives for eyes extolling the

virtues of vitamin C - bears a

strong resemblance to the ham

sandwich story line the bad boys

at Tabloid already featured in

their Vodka City serial in 1997.

"It's more than just bread

talking," says Tabloid

co-founder Ken Layne. In fact,

the site's server logs show that

The Richards Group - the

Dallas-based ad agency that

created the Citrus campaign -

visited the site several times

before going ahead with its own

sandwich. Agency head Stan

Richards says, "In the almost

five months since the campaign

began airing, The Richards Group

has never been approached by

anyone with concerns regarding

this campaign." It's an odd and

pointless denial, which is

becoming less true every day.

The Citrus Department recently

put a three-month deadline on

the ads, not because of the

lawsuit but because they're so

lame. Until the news of the suit

broke, we had thought the

commercials were for some kind

of fridge-disinfectant product.

What the next ad may be, no one

can say, but we're hoping they

might revive those great Miller

Lite "Dick" ads sometime soon.



We barely survived the first

Year of the Netizen. As if to

top Al Gore's father of the

Internet fantasy (admittedly an

improvement on his earlier model

for Ryan O'Neal in Love Story

fantasy), fussbudget man of the

people Steve Forbes has thrown

his own virtual hat into the

ring. And by making history as

the first candidate to announce

online, the waddling plutocrat

has claimed the least-wanted

brass ring of 1999. Not that it

feels like 1999: The

same-only-different field of

Republican hopefuls already

boasts such semiprofessional

candidates as Charlie

McCarthy-esque firebrand Pat

Buchanan, strident

überhostess Elizabeth Dole,

mezzo-soprano crank Alan Keyes,

and Dan Quayle. It was just a

matter of time before somebody

pulled a stunt that really

revived the Spirit of '96. (We

half-expect some damning new

Whitewater evidence and the

return of VRML as bonus gild on

the lily.) But in a campaign

where post-ideological

moderation and a working

knowledge of Spanish are said to

be key advantages, the question

is how well Forbes can leverage

the first e-declaration booby

prize into an appeal that

reaches beyond his natural

constituency. The Forbes 2000

server logs indicate he's

already got the tubby patrician

pantywaist vote all locked up.



As some of you may know, Suck is

nominated for some award or

other tonight. But frankly,

against competitors who now

routinely spawn their own

talking sandwich clones, we have

no illusions of winning anything

other than rotten tomatoes. And

if the view at this year's South

by Southwest conference was any

indication, there's no

point in winning anymore.

Under-medicated man about town

Douglas Rushkoff reported that

all the "fun" has been drained

out of the Web by the pursuit of

big money. The coy author of

Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of

Hyperspace even managed to

predict (predictably) that the

Internet would be cleansed by a

purifying economic crash in

2000, which proves that death

cultists may not be as retired

as we reported above. Meanwhile,

Internet megafailure Michael

Wolff, still striving to fill

the big shoes of Robin Leach,

castigated the Web for not

engaging the emotions - though

his speech was, in fact, met

with some emotional heckling and

displays of revulsion from

audience members. But the high

point came when Harry Knowles of

Ain't It Cool News shot down a

question from the Suck editorial

department by bragging that he

has written for The New Yorker

three times - which was three

times more than anybody at the

magazine remembered when we

called for confirmation.

Knowles' exaggeration of his

freelancing credits may cast

some doubts on his claim of

having 1.2 million daily readers

at his site. Or maybe it

doesn't. If you really want to

be ignored on the Web - for that

matter, if you really want to

write for The New Yorker - you

have to be working on a

profitable site.

courtesy of the Sucksters


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