The Fish
for 15 February 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Copy Edit]
Erica Gies
Merrill Gillaspy

Copy Editors


[Phillip Bailey]
Phillip Bailey
Production Editor

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman


Ana Marie
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


Sean (Duuuuude)
Sean Welch


Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor


T. Jay Fowler
Production Manager
& Ass Kicker


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


Monte Goode
Ghost in the Machine


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager


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


[the fixin'
pixie... ]
Emily Hobson
Production Manager
& Rhythm Guitar


Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager

Addled Brains

Nice job! I wasn't surprised
by Michael Woolf's take,
which always seems to gauge
people in terms of social
status, but the Lubow piece
was strangely credulous of
claims to her sainthood and
brilliance. And how about the
photo of her on the book
jacket which must be 20 years

Cynthia Cotts

To say nothing of the text
beneath the book jacket
photo, which speaks volumes
about Renata's leviathan
self-image and clotted,
Germanic punctuation style:
"Renata Adler has had an
unrivaled career as a
reporter; novelist, and short
story writer; intellectual
gadfly; and New Yorker
staffer. Educated at Bryn
Mawr, Harvard, the Sorbonne,
and Yale Law school, she has
been a Guggenheim Fellow, a
Fulbright Scholar, a Woodrow
Wilson Scholar, and the film
critic of The New York Times.
The author of prize-winning
short stories, a
prize-winning novel
(Speedboat), and countless
admired and controversial
articles for The New Yorker,
New York Review of Books, The
Atlantic Monthly, National
Review, New Republic and
other publications, she lives
in New York."

You know, somehow I think her
career was rivaled, and those
stories probably could be
counted, if someone were
really determined. (Just two
get the ball rolling, I count
two uses of the phrase
"prize-winning," four snooty
institutions of higher
learning, and the names of
three prestigious fellowships

Your uncredentialed,
quanitfiable, and extremely
rivaled correspondent,

Holly Martins
Fish With Letter Icon

"It serves to remind you how
unwholesome, gnat-straining,
and sanity-threatening it is
to fetishize a magazine as
your all-purpose culture

Suck ?


Jeff Richardson

No, you see, at Suck we
always, always leave the
doors closed.

Holly Martins
Fish With Letter Icon

Out of Luck

Subject: zzzz, snore,
Fags ...

I guess you do have to supply
fodder for the local pillow
biters. Guess

I'll give Suck a miss for
another month.

Roy Taylor

Don't worry, little pillow
biter. We'll have some queer
content in another month just
for you.


Fish With Letter Icon


Subject: Incompetence

Dear Polly,

The reason I write is to
bring your attention to a
recent result in psychology
which you might use. A couple
of psychologists did a study
which indicated that people
who were incompetent at some
particular task (a written
test, I think) thought they
were much more competent than
they were. Meanwhile, the
high-scorers on the test
thought they were somewhat
less competent than they
actually were.


This is not the best news for
those of us whose self-esteem
has about the
price-to-earnings ratio of
some of your more grossly
overvalued Internet stocks.

Oh my god, what a metaphor.
At any rate, that study
provides just one more bit of
proof that the overconfident
should stay the hell away
from the stock market.

Overconfident low-scorer,

Fish With Letter Icon

Are you having it, or
something? Where is the
blazing wit that I look
forward to? You must be
having sex. It slows your
brain down. You know that.

Cut it out.


Josh Schoof

My brain is slow because I
visit my dwindling Amazon
shares too frequently to wish
them well. To whisper, "Buck
up, little campers!"

But your letter is a clear
case of projection.

Keep rationalizing that
uneventful sex life of yours!
Good things come to those who

Blazing git,

Fish With Letter Icon

Addled Brains

Ms Martins,

Great article on Adler! You
are as funny and much more
incisive than the other Suck
writers I've read.

But it seems you are just as
cynical. If not The New
what is your
candidate for best literary
magazine? And do you really
think the Tina Brown years
brought The New Yorker back
to its roots of a wide
middle-class audience? It
would be nice to have Suck
sometimes show an ounce of
respect toward a person or an
institution. Or maybe that's
just too against type. If so,
what do you recommend as
balance for the destructive,
wonderful wit of Suck?

Thanks for the piece,

Jacob Klein

Thanks for your kind words. I
wouldn't exactly say Tina
Brown did the old eminence
a world of good, since
her contributions tended
distinctly toward the
faux-titillating middlebrow
(e.g., Susan Faludi's
excursis on the porn
industry, Richard Avedon's
Weimar-knockoff photo spreads
of semi-clad models cavorting
with skeletons) and the
flat-out celebrity-addled
(e.g., her own personal
interview with President
Butthead and her reminiscence
of the doe-eyed vessel of
purity that was Princess Di).
If anything, such efforts
probably only made the
magazine's dwindling general
readership embarrassed on her
behalf, sort of like when
your mom gets a little
inebriated and tries to flirt
and dance the way the kids

On the other hand, something
had to shake the thing out of
its rapidly advancing dotage,
and the early evidence
suggests the Remnick years
are not proving to be any
heroic palliative, what with
the uninterrupted reign of
Gopnik, the oddly inert
reviews, the profiles of F.
A. Hayek and Jerry Lewis. My
general advice, though, is to
resist the urge to fetishize
any culture organ as a bearer
of literary last words, on
the simple grounds that it is
the very thing that every
such magazine most wants you
to do. And as the sobering
example of La Renata attests,
all the toy-soldier intrigue
that comes hard upon such a
designation is often the
quickest path to surrendering
your own judgment in such
matters, to say nothing of
your sanity.

And speaking of which, my
recommendations regarding
balance to the destructive,
wonderful wit of Suck are
simple: Turn off the
computer, exit your
apartment, lie down in
sun-dappled meadow, and think
of all the things in this
life you should be grateful
for. Then call up Tina Brown
and score some crack.

And one last thing: That's
Mr. Martins to you.

Holly Martins
Fish With Letter Icon

Did Adler suspect that the
Liddy children had, at one
point, been clones? That all
children begin life as
replicants? Or, for that
matter, that I, perhaps,
might be one?

Adler is merely saying that
the kids are individuals, as
opposed to most
cookie-cutter, whiny, loser
towheads you see in the
world. She's not talking
about genetics but rather
personality. This kind of
drunken gunfighting isn't
what I've come to expect from
Suck. Shape up.

Elijah Meeks
<ElijahM@> I
applaud your fire-breathing
empiricism. This, however,
falls under the category of a
new accessory we've added at
Suck, the writing device
known as the "joke." One of
the situations in which you
might expect to see the joke
applied is when a maladroit
use of an image or metaphor
is literalized, and its
interpretation is heightened
to an absurd degree for comic
effect. In this instance, the
random deployment of an
inapposite genetic metaphor
to restate a point already
made in the first place —
that the kids are indeed
individuals — sends the
mind reeling for the simple
reason that the hapless
reader of Gone never knows
what Adler is going to say
next or why she might be
saying it. So to review: The
literal reading of "clones"
is no less preposterous than
many of the other fussy and
loony byways one stumbles
into over the course of
Gone. And the fact that it
concerns convicted Watergate
creep Gordon Liddy adds an
undertone of witty espionage
to the execution of the joke.

It does occur to me, however,
that perhaps some other
genetic experiment gone
terribly awry has resulted in
the terrifying specter you
describe: A vast cohort of
children loose in the world,
with toes in the place where
their heads should be. If
this means what I think it
might, we're going to need
all the drunken gunfighting
we can muster.

Holly Martins
Fish With Letter Icon

While I certainly cannot find
fault in Martins' criticism
of Renata Adler, I think the
whole piece is simply
rendered inert by that
ridiculous last line. Yes, it
is very amusing to dissect
the now vestigial culture
that The New Yorker was once
the voice for. However, it is
just bad writing to clumsily
attempt to invalidate the
whole publication because
there were too few ideas
banging around in the attic
on how to end a piece. Since
the American literary culture
(or is that semi-literate)
has long since rotted away
and The New Yorker has been
so shitty and irrelevant for
so long, I am sure that it is
hard to see how The New
could have once had a
place in anything
intellectually interesting.
But, sadly, it did. Let us
give all those decrepit,
senile, Park Avenue invalids
that at least.


If you'll look over the
offending final sentence
closely, you'll notice that
the "it" you have associated
with the magazine at large
actually refers to the social
contract inhering in Adler's
brain, the tight association
of culture and clubbiness. I
would never say that The New
of old had no reason
for being — and I am
straining mightily not to
insert the obvious punchline
here regarding a key symptom
of the culture's swoon into
semi-literacy being the
inability to assign pronouns
to their proper antecedents.

Holly Martins
Fish With Letter Icon

oops, my mistake. excuse
portion of the show:

a) i get up at 4 a.m. here in
SF because of the market and
respond to emails and webzine
articles when half asleep
there's not a good latte to
be found near the
transamerica building
c) i'm
an idiot in general
d) all of
the above

i hope i do not turn into one
of those people who writes
the president asking to stop
the CIA from controlling the

Fish With Letter Icon

 The Shit
Fully Committed, Becky Mode, the Cherry Lane Theater, New York, New York
Paris in the Twentieth Century, Jules Verne, Del Rey, 1997
Chow Yun Fat's haircut in Anna and the King
A Comment on Mini-skirts, Thornton Dial
"Leonardo's Grave," Ian Jacks, Granta #67
The Long Swift Sword of Siegfried, directed by Adrian Hoven, 1971
The annual reappearance of cheap clementines in bodegas
The New Meaning of Treason, Rebecca West, Penguin Books, 1985
Five-Card Nancy (a card game played with individual panels of Ernie Bushmiller's comic strip)
The Birthday Party Live 1981-82, Four A.D., 1999
Black Sessions 10/22/98, Belle & Sebastian , (unreleased)
San Lorenzo's Blues, Nuzzle, Troubleman Unlimited, 1999
The Story of Time, exhibition in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England
Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery, John Michael Vlach, University of North Carolina Press, 1993

Little link
to Suck
Arrow Image
Contacting Us
Contributors Index
Little Barrel Link
Little Gun Link
machine producing Suck
Link To Tech Notes