The Fish
for 6 January 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
Suck Staff
 

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief

 

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Art Director

 

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Havrilesky
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Senior Editor

 

[Copy Edit]
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&
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Copy Editors

 

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Phillip Bailey
Production Editor








	
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Suck Alumni Text
 

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Carl Steadman
Co-Founder

 

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Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor

 

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Welch
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Copy Editor

 


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Production Manager
& Ass Kicker

 

[yes, it's
a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
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Production Manager

 

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Goode
Monte Goode
Ghost in the Machine

 

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Matt Beer
Development Manager

 

[Brian
Forsyth, " we're just spanning time "]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor

 

[the fixin'
pixie... ]
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Production Manager
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[Ian
Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager



Toy Story

It is all very well to
characterize those who oppose
toy advertising around the
holidays season as killjoys
and whiners.

However, if you widen the
debate what you see is a
televised landscape where
every program has an
advertising tie-in or is
sandwiched by targeted
advertising (yes, even the
apparently benign Thomas the
Tank Engine
is a sales
pitch).

I don't suppose for a moment
that we will stop the gimme
culture or peer pressure (for
both adults and children) to
get our hands on the latest
toy/executive gadget.

You have to make a judgement
on how knowing kids are and
whether they can see the Big
Sell or whether they are more
naive and therefore
susceptible to these
techniques.

What this whole thing does is
to gradually reduce the
quality of children's
television to a series of
either one-dimensional or
literally cartoon characters
aimed at selling toys (vide
Power Rangers). As with the
relationship between haute
couture
and perfume, we all
know where the real money is.

Peter Garelick

<peter.garelick@dtn.ntl.com>

There are certainly
complaints to be made about
the cruddy quality of
children's programming aimed
at selling toys, but then I
don't own a TV so I don't
have many of those
complaints.

As the piece tries to argue,
there's lots of resistance
even in the giving in to
consumer impulses. And to my
mind, there's nothing wrong
with buying a toy anyway.

Best,

Eugen
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Subject: My god

Did you write that? Go home,
light a candle, play a RECORD
on a GOOD turntable, eat
something you made, and read
a book (the kind with a cover
and pages). Then immediately
rent the video of Fahrenheit
451
; fast-forward to where
Julie Christie is staring at her
"big-screen" monitor (is it a
Sony?), waiting for the TV
image to tell her what to do;
and ask yourself if Ray
Bradbury's vision of the future
is here today, created by our
blind love of gadgets and
technology. Let's not dial into
the Web for a week and do
things that don't require
batteries, bandwidth, modems,
or gizmos straight from CES or
Comdex. Let's not even watch
that crap on MTV or the latest
streaming, screaming video.
Can your audience do it? I doubt
it. Do you ever wonder why
there are no kids playing in the
parks, why no one under 15
knows what a pickup baseball
game is, why vulgarity is a way
of life, why images are
everything?We've done it!

<jzelesnikar@
cyrus.net>

It's really a lot easier to
read by electric light,
thanks. And my turntable's
pretty all right — not one
of them multithousand dollar
models, but it works.

I don't have a VCR or a TV,
but I still think I can say
that no, Ray, the world's
oldest adolescent with the
attitude of the world's
oldest man was not quite on
the mark with that future
vision.

Eugen
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


In the beginning I thought
this was going to be another
one of those toys-are-
the-root-of-capitalist-evil
type essays. The quotes from
the Furby epoch of maniacal
consumerism was the carrot
leading me on. Alas, cruel
fate, why dost thou mock me?
Toys are part of something we
as humans require in order to
sustain our meek and pitiable
lives? Are you joking? Did
you go to an Ivy League
school? Are you ... gasp,
shriek ... a Republican? I
think the Brits had it right
in their time-transcendent
comments on Furby: Kids are
impressionable, and
advertising exploits that, and
parents get so caught up in
the wave of I-want-I-want,
thinking that their kid,
if not in possession of (insert
toy-of-the-year here) by
Christ-mahs time, is going to
turn out horribly deranged
and someday open fire on the
school during recess and
blame his parents because he
didn't get the Pikachu doll
for Christ-mahs a few years
back. It's a kinda sad circle
we've gotten ourselves into,
and an essay taking the side
of the toys peddlers is a bit
scary. Though, maybe I missed
the point. But the essay is
coming from Suck, so I'm sure
not many people are reading
it. Just your typical holiday
curmudgeons and bah-humbug
cynics like me. Have a happy,
uh, holiday season?

A loyal reader,

Matt Downs
<mwdowns@unity.ncsu.edu>

I'm not a Republican, and my
school was way below Ivy
League, but I, too, have no
patience for people who
consider selling-and-getting
the root of all evil and did
indeed intend to strike a
blow for the right of kids to
want — and then destroy — any
ol' stupid thing they want,
and for their parents to wait
online for it, guilt free!

I hope you can continue to
enjoy Suck in the future.

Merry Christmas,

Eugen
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Hey, got a good book for you.
You've probably already read
it, but if not ...

It's Technics and Civilization, by
Mumford. You can find it at
Stacey's on Market Street
and some other places.
Written about 1930, it still
applies heavily, although the
author is a little taken in
by socialist ideals that have
been shown to be dead ends
with time. Your article,
though, reflected a lot of
the criticisms of a
consumerist economy that
Mumford shares with you. His
reflections on the effect of
the machine on human society
would interest you as well, I
think.

Trey Butler
<Trey.Butler@schwab.com>

PS Good article, with a nice
punch at the end. Makes me
wonder if it'd be worth
keeping the tree around for
Burning Man.

My sarcasm was perhaps too
heavy — I was actually
railing against
anticonsumerism, and from
everything I know about
Mumford (not a lot firsthand,
actually) I don't think I'd
care for him much either.

Consumer sovereignty is far
more powerful than corporate
sovereignty.

Best,

Eugen
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Filler

Polly,

No, no, no. Do not let the
Christmas holidays steer you
down the path of negativity
and bitterness. Fuck the
fucking fuckers. There is so
much more to have and share
during these times of
inflated self-worth. Fires,
in a fireplace and not some
motherfucker's house,
crackling and warming your
house and your heart. That
numbing buzz of alcohol you
feel as you walk down the
snow-covered streets singing
Christmas carols to yourself,
but just loud enough for
strangers to hear and notice
you in "the spirit" but not
of the Spirit. And last but
not least, the joy of giving.
And you can start by replying
to my Christmas query:

"How big are your breasts?"

Have the greatest holiday,
because shit keeps rolling
downhill and more and more
young, stupid, sniveling kids
are getting up the hill
faster.

Nate Stinson
Dallas, Texas

Wow. I wish I had the numbing
buzz of a vacation that you
apparently had.

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Dear Polly,

It struck me that Filler is
just like Christmas cookies
— a plateful of sugary,
nonnutritive goodness with
which we glut ourselves; we're
shocked when nothing remains
but the crumbs of the Fish
column, feeling just slightly
sick afterward, unrepentant
but a little greasy.

Ohhh, I live for Wednesdays.
At least during the week,
that is. On the weekends I
actually live for Saturdays,
and kind of for Sundays,
though have you ever noticed
how Sunday doesn't hold the
allure that Saturday does
'cause deep down you
associate it with having to
go to church? Ick.

Well, I didn't want the year
to end without letting you
know I love your work and I'm
glad to have Suck and Filler
in my life. It makes me feel
so much better that there are
bitter, cynical, but
ultimately pathetic women out
there just like me!

Regards,

Joanie
<daphne@imageworks.com>

But most of all, pathetic,
huh?

Good to know I can comfort
you with my patheticness.

Keep on glutting yourself,

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Dear Kauai no Polly-Chan,

I read with interest your
foibles in trying to control
your anger this (by now) past
holiday season. One word:
Quake III Arena. Wait, that's
three words! Well, screw it,
the point I'm trying to make
is this: Instead of spending
money on worthless self-help
books, killing people in real
life, or trying to suppress
your rage at the general
ass-liciousness of the world,
just go out and get a nice
first-person shooter like Q3A
and open up a bloody can of
virtual whup-ass on all and
sundry! Of course, it doesn't
necessarily have to be Quake.
You might go for Unreal
Tournament instead, or
perhaps Half-Life if you
prefer a plot line to go with
your massacre. But Q3A is the
best because it's the purest
— it's all about nothing
but slaughter, murder, and
mayhem! And the catharsis
makes you feel great
afterward, like a good enema.
Believe me, I know. I do
phone-tech support for a
major company that shall
remain unnamed, and the crap
I have to take from customers
and from my bosses can really
drive me up the wall
sometimes. But my co-workers
say I'm always bright and
cheery. Why is that? Because
I can come home every night
and blow the living crap out
of everything that moves!! I
feel great and so will you!
You could even make a custom
skin of that cute little
angry squirrel thingy.
Imagine her running around
with a rocket launcher or the
BFG10K, putting the maximum
smack down on anything that
even looks at her funny.
Weeeee! The only problem is
that you might be so mellow
afterward that it might
change the complexion of the
Filler column. Oh well, it's
better than the funny farm or
lethal injection!

Just trying to help,

<jugurtha@mail.integraonline.com>

Please make an appointment to
see the guidance counselor at
your high school
immediately.
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

 Terry Colon's RIP Lists
 for the 20th Century
10 Best Things of the Century None of the Other Best-of Lists Mention
1. Sliced bread
2. The Thermos bottle
3. Intermittent windshield wipers
4. Twist-off bottle cap
5. Post-it Notes
6. Nondairy creamer
7. Drive-thru fast food
8. Instant replay
9. Deodorant
10. The answering machine

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