S U C K

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

 

[]

Back before we ceded the

territory to fine folks with

greater reserves of patience

than ours, Suck could always be

counted on for reliably biased

commentary on the publishing

industry. While we're still fond

of buzzword watches, negative

reviews of special issues, and

scathing gossip about people who

have rejected our query letters,

recently we've been engaged in

an experiment to discover what

various circulation departments

do when we let our subscriptions

run out. So far, results have

been mixed: IDG's Computerworld

has continued our subscription

for more than a year now, adding

countless pounds to our paper

recycling bin. The UK-based

Index on Censorship has

graciously extended our

one-issue trial offer to include

seven issues and counting.

Playboy is now 14 months into a

one-year subscription, and

that's lucky for us, as this

month's "incredibly nude"

pictorial of Naomi Campbell

features the feisty supermodel

straddling an enormous chocolate

bunny (this may be a sly visual

pun on Ms. Campbell's skin

tone). When we tried to haggle

with a Time phone rep by noting

that Newsweek offers identical

content at half the price, we

received the non sequitur

response, "Oh, we're not

affiliated with Newsweek."

Brill's Content replied to

our coy behavior by halving its

subscription price and sending

a special letter from Steve

himself; we accepted the offer,

and immediately regretted it.

Also going the letter-

from-the-publisher route

is Francis Ford Coppola, who's

giving away his widely unread

Zoetrope and making us feel

especially important and

discerning. While we continue

this exercise in passive-

aggressive research, here's

a list of words guaranteed

to make us stop reading

whatever publication we

currently have in hand:


spirituality
redesign
newcomer
savvy
Tina
boom
odd couple
party circuit
eBay
hottest
goings-on
McSweeney's
contrarian
quick
dirty
controversial
Brits
down-to-earth
forward-thinking
Yale
-something
'60s
Wilentz
Samuels(on)
Bezos
Cramer
Judd
-brow
Michael Colton
hard to articulate
complete surprise
100 Best
Next Century
Web site
attitude
Ozick
McCain
editor-at-large
foodies
brand-conscious
irreverent
hype-free
prostate
town-hall
15 minutes
special teams
parenting
absinthe
character
Fed
fashion
risk-taker
Loca
Gore
Rushkoff
notable
potable
guide
Prada
dot-com
b2b
unsupervised
media analysis
Baudrillardian
open-source movement
Micro$oft
IPO
Silicon Alley
sex worker
eve.com
echt
i-
e-
consensus
authentic
learning curve
edgy
meta
red meat
x-factor
radar
Kevin Williamson
Paglia
Did We Make You Think?
over the top
media studies
Fincher
Paltrow

 

[]

Who says student activism is

dead? On the campus of the

University of California at

Berkeley, sacred ground of '60s

protest culture, debate rages

on. Of course, these days it's

not the Black Panthers but the

fashion police speaking out. A

recent bill before the student

senate called for changes to be

made to Oski, the mascot of the

Golden Bears, charging that he

was overweight and out of style.

The bill was vetoed by student

President Patrick Campbell, who

apparently did not want to see

Oski the victim of a Sally Jesse

Raphael makeover. Whatever

Oski's fate, it's comforting to

know that collegiate concerns

can be solved with a protein

shake and an Abercrombie & Fitch

catalog.

 

[]

The recent resurgence of the

so-called "reality" game shows

ends the days when gold-digging

yahoos earned their fortunes by

interacting with celebrities,

agreeing or disagreeing with

them (Hollywood Squares), or

feeding them meaningless lists

($100,000 Pyramid). Producers

presumably realized the pairings

didn't always work. In one

monolog, Pyramid panelist

Robert Klein remembers losing a

fortune for a stenographer and

then being told, "I guess you

didn't realize a carrot was a

vegetable. You stupid Jew

bastard." But while Who Wants to

Be a Millionaire has attracted

huge (and deserved) attention

simply for offering Vanguard

500-adjusted cash prizes, the

no-frills giveaway process has

already been put on autopilot on

the Web, offering surfers the

opportunity to vie for their

windfalls through unattended Web

pages, where the only obstacle

is being taunted by monkeys.

Sensing nascent competition from

porn sites, contests have

started adding a romance

element. Now you earn US$10,000

just by finding some guy a wife

or simply by locating the

biggest bra. Hell, if your luck

holds out, you could demand

$50,000 from CNN just for being

a Turkish loser who plays the

accordion. And finally, there's

Salon's version — Who Wants

to Be a Divorcée. It's a

variation on Queen for a Day,

where the hausfrau with the most

pathetic story was showered with

gifts, while the other

contestants returned to their

miserable lives. But in this

case, the only prize is having

your marriage picked apart by

Salon readers. And we haven't

even mentioned all those email

Ed McMahons, who don't want to

waste our time ... or theirs,

but can get us a cool million in

the next 24 to 36 months. See ya

on Easy Street!

 

[]

The venerable Computer Dealers

Exhibition turns 20 this year,

and like most 20-year-olds,

it's grown a bit ungainly and

isn't quite sure what to

do with itself. Sure, its

netbatsu-addled owners want to

rebrand the show as ".comdex,"

but they'll have to do something

about Comdex's masses of fat,

balding computer resellers.

Heck, why not disintermediate

the channel in the real world

too? This crowd is begging for a

form-factor upgrade. Speaking of

which, Comdex's booth babes seem

to have evaporated, save for

National Semiconductor's

lackluster, faux-Brit "Device

Girls." Instead, for passion,

drama, and sharp outfits,

attendees turned to the

keynotes. Telecom spitfire Carly

Fiorina showed off the new,

leopard-print-wearing

Hewlett-Packard, while Bill

Gates sported a nonthreatening

Mr. Rogers look in rumpled

sweater. But HP and Microsoft

are hardly bright lights of the

new economy, proving that Vegas

remains a good place to put

dimming stars out to pasture. We

expect to see all the keynoters

back in five years, playing to

small crowds of PC antiquarians

in seedy lounges.

 
courtesy of theSucksters