"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 15 April 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run CLXXIV


While our own propaganda

ministers puff out

embarrassingly crude fightin'

words, the Serbs, despite their

reputation as plum

brandy-swilling brutes, continue

to craft a fairly witty campaign

of psychological warfare. The

title above a poster of the

downed F-117 stealth fighter:

"Sorry, we didn't know it was

invisible." The caption under a

photo of captured nonfighting

men Ramirez, Stone, and Gonzalez:

"No Ryan Will Be Save." Several

good variants on the acronym

NATO include "Nazi Animal

Terrorist Oppressors" and "Naive

American Thugs Overseas." And, of

course, there are those

cheerfully nonchalant targets.

But things started to hit too

close to home this weekend, when

pro-Serb demonstrators at a

local Holy Saturday rally handed

our correspondent a leaflet

reading, "Like Shooting Fish in

a Barrel." From this seemingly

innocent overlap, it was a short

jump to the official site of the

Serbian Unity Congress, where we

discovered that that

organization's domain name

choice is pretty clearly

designed to dilute some of our

own venerable brand equity. But

with America on an increasingly

strident war footing, we're

concerned about more than just

our good name. In the buildup to

D-Day, a London Times crossword

bard got thrown into the clink

for innocently dropping the

clues "Omaha," "Utah," and

"overlord" into his puzzles.

Before we fall into a similar

trap, we'd like to state that we

have no official connection to

Belgrade, and our only known

political sympathy is an abiding

belief that all foreigners are



Then again, if there's money

involved, we may be willing to

start taking our secret orders

in Cyrillic. Unfortunately, the

following true story suggests we

may have nothing in the cards

but loopy premillennial omens:


Eleven a.m. on a sunny spring

Monday, the sidewalk terrace at

Cafe Mogador on St. Mark's

Place. The three populated

tables include an East Village

hipster couple dragging

themselves through their first

coffee of the day; three

jet-lagged Danish tourists,

recently off the plane and

trying in vain to get a beer;

and one pallid Suckster, feeling

smug about his witty new "Spare

a quarter for bridge financing?"

panhandler's rap.


From across the street, a 40ish

guy with a bush of curly hair

and a ragged nylon jacket spots

an audience. He bounds over,

sets himself center stage before

us, and, literally jumping up

and down, yelps in a Slavic

accent of indeterminate origin:


"My friends! My friends! How

many of you trade on the

Internet, stocks last week on

the Internet? Trading stocks my

friends. None of you?! O my

gott! Internet! World Wide Web!

You have to. One dollar a trade

now they have. You have to be

day trading my friends. One

dollar! The trick is to leave it

at night! You have to sleep each

night - get out of your

positions always everything at

the end of every day. You can't

hold anything! With the

Internet. You are so lucky!

Rockefiller had to put $100

million to make sivinty cents on

the dollar, 20 years! I'm

telling you right now! Corba dot

orgchh!! Corba dot orgchh! Corba

dot orgchh!!" Which he continues

to yell as he scampers off

towards First Avenue.


Well, we ran right home to look

for a buck-a-trade site - this

"stock-trading" stuff sounded

too good to pass up - but there

were none to be found. So we

went to check out corba.org,

which we thought would be some

sort of numerological-Masonic-

stock market thing cooked up by

gray-bearded mystics on the

banks of the Volga. No such

luck. It turns out it's a

soporific HTML 2.0 number

devoted to Common Object Request

Broker Architecture (ask your

webmaster). It's utterly

unrelated to stocks or finance

or anything. The street sermon

was, in other words, a sign of

yet another cultural milepost

reached: The Net's entered the

dream life of the insane, and

day trading mania's

gone literal.


Now in its 68th year of forging

cadres of conservative cadres,

the Young Republicans may be the

organization for you. We caught

up with Young Republicans

National Federation Chairwoman

Monica Samuels - last seen

penning anti-Clinton screeds -

in the vain hope that a few

questions might yield big

steaming piles of comedy.


At the Young Republicans site,

you refer a lot to Generation X.

Isn't Generation X a bit long in

the tooth to be considered Young

Republicans at this point?


That's the upper age limit of

our group. Our group is 18 to

40. It started out as 18 to 35

and was extended to 40 in the

early '70s, around the time the

College Republicans broke off

from the Young Republicans.


Do you blow up Young Republicans

at Carousel when they turn 40?


No, we don't do that. They

become Friends Of or associates.

There are auxiliary groups.

There's the Federation of

Women Republicans,

the Black Republicans, the

Hispanic Republicans,

the Teenage Republicans,

the College Republicans, and

the Young Republicans.


And the Log Cabin Republicans.

But why don't they have an Old

Republicans group?


Oh, Republicans are Republicans.


Do you think President Clinton

is too old to appeal to

Generation X?


I don't think he's too old. It's

not an age thing at all. They

did some polling in 1996 of

people under 29. And if you

polled them issue by issue, most

of them were conservative.


Do you think The Mod Squad -

with its theme of law-and-order

youth - indicates a more

conservative attitude among

young people?


I would say that young people

are more conservative in a lot

of respects than Baby Boomers.

We try to appeal to young people

on issues that are important to

them, such as Social Security.


So how do you hip up the

Republicans like Lee Atwater

did, especially since some

people framed the impeachment

issue as a sort of antisex



We haven't even really talked

about that issue, believe it or

not. I know we did a thing about

it on the Web site. I think

everybody thought - and I

haven't seen The Mod Squad -

that we were going back to a

more law-and-order deal. There're

rules you have to follow. And

clearly there was an exception

made in his case. But I haven't

really seen young people talking

about it as an issue involving

sex. We're interested in finding

ways to solve problems without

creating massive federal



But how do you make the

Republicans fun? I mean, you

always hear that Democrats drink

and carouse more than



I haven't heard that Democrats

are drinking more than we are. I

guess if they are, that would

explain a lot. I don't think

Young Republicans are any

different from Young Democrats

in terms of having fun.


Do you associate socially with



Sure! I have quite a few friends

who are Democrats.


Do you think Carville and

Matalin are just too cute?


Well, they seem to care for each

other, and I wish them the best.

I'm not a big fan of his at all.


Don't you think he's sort of

funny when you see him on TV?


No, I don't think he's funny at



What's in the future for the



We're trying to be more directly

involved in issues. Also, in

getting ready for the 2000

convention in Philadelphia,

we've already reserved the Hard

Rock Cafe for a big party. In

1995 we had a big party at

Planet Hollywood.


Does it bother you that Bruce

Willis is the only

out-of-the-closet Republican in



There are others. Arnold

Schwarzenegger has been active

at the conventions. Heather

Locklear came out and said she's

a Republican. There are some

others ...


Major Dad?


I don't know who they all are.

We have a few. We don't have

much trouble getting



We didn't expect that Jennifer

Ringley's acolytes would be

happy about our questions

regarding their mistress'

creation myths, but the angry

response we got from

"iluvjenni@excite.com" still

gave us pause. ILJ (who has

taken devotion to the limit of

apparently renaming him- or

herself ILJ) maintains one of a

half-dozen or so shrines to the

thick-necked temptress. But

frankly, compared to the other

supplicants in the JenniCam Web

ring, ILJ's burnt offerings

don't amount to a very fitting

tribute. Even if you can't work

up the sheer emotive power of

Howard Landman's cycle of

JenniCam sonnets (by turns

Shelleyesque, Byronic, and

leering in the Lenny and Squiggy

mode), at least give us the

Grapejam-era innovation of a

caption contest. By comparison,

I Luv Jenni's mash of straw

polls and stolen pics has only

one thing to recommend it - its

JenniShow reviews, in which the

one-handed critic reveals a

certain distaste for the star's

salty language. "I just like to

think of Jennifer as more then a

sexual object," ILJ says. Which,

given Jennifer's manic

insistence on always being the

subject, is a critique as astute

as it is heartbreaking.

courtesy of the Sucksters


[Purchase the Suck Book here]