The Fish
for 17 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
Copy Editor


[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

Hit & Run

Do you guys hate Michael
Lewis as much as I do? It's
not his writing, which I will
be the first to admit is
clever and all. And sure, I
love that bit he wrote in
Harper's about how Europhiles
derailed 20th century
American art and

No, what pisses me off is the
fact that he's married to
fucking Tabitha Soren! What
the hell?! How does some
journalism club, yearbook
committee, paste-eating dork
get off bagging an
über-prom queen like
Soren? A cornerstone of the
relatively successful adult
transition made by myself and
all the rest of the AP
English crowd is the
conviction that we never
really wanted cheerleaders
anyway! Where does he get off
pulling this Revenge of the

And you just know that when
he imagines the looks on the
faces of his old Chess Club
buddies when they read his
Slate diary about life in —
sputtering with rage
Paris with his A-list,
"I'm a model, but I also want
to act!" wife, he laughs so
hard that his milk comes out
his nose.

You should write something
about that!


Getting angry at famous men
with beautiful wives is the
fastest way to drive yourself
insane. I don't recommend it.
Besides, I've met Lewis, and
he's kind of dreamy in a
paste-eating dork way.

The real problem here is the
postcards-from-Paris genre of
literary journalism. Current
practitioners now include
Lewis, Adam Gopnik, and
various others whose names
escape me, all working the
same well-tapped vein: The
French are somehow like us
and somehow unlike us; the
subtle differences and
quotidian quirks help make up
the gorgeously ineffable
mosaic of French culture. As
I am currently finagling to
head up Suck's Paris bureau,
I share your bitterness.

Last of all, it was not
Michael Lewis who wrote that
Europhile piece. It was that
indefatigable smartypants
Michael Lind, whose efforts
there and elsewhere earned
him a Suck EGG tiara a few
years back.

Yr pal,

Fish With Letter Icon

Letter from the Editorial

Dear Whomever:

When you wrote, "Now, many
people, naturally, will
suppose that this is some
sort of prank. Well, it
isn't, " you better have been
kidding. If Suck is having
income problems, you should
just consider canning some of
the dead wood. You could
start with the editorial
director, and I, for one,
would probably never notice.

I take the job of pissing
away my so-called workday
very seriously, so don't fuck
with me this way.

Thanks as ever,

Aaron Headly

Dear Aaron,

We're not kidding. Income
problems aside, it's cynical
slackers like yourself who
make life difficult for
senior management. Continue
to read the new Suck, and you
may find yourself
experiencing an "attitude
adjustment" that could make
you more productive and less


Yogi Okaycola
Editorial Director
Suck Inc.
Fish With Letter Icon

selling out has nothing to do
with who owns you.

you just sold out. so fuck

Brad Wilkening

Dear Brad,

Our owners are very kind and
benevolent men who would
never beat us or treat us
cruelly. I hope you
understand our actions.

Thank you,

Yogi Okaycola
Editorial Director
Suck Inc
Fish With Letter Icon

I think your new direction is
a bad move. I am not going to
sit here and type insults or
rant and rave or anything,
but one of the reasons I have
liked and have kept
reading it is for all the
things that you are now doing
away with. Now it will be
indistinguishable from any
other site. I liked the
"meandering column of bold
type." I liked the sarcasm. I
liked the "long-winded,
link-addled monologs on
abstract topics of no
interest to the general
reader." What audience are
you now looking for? What do
you classify as the "general
reader"? People who spend
their day reading mindless
editorials? I liked the
sarcastic wit of the old It was intelligent.
It made a point. Now that
you're changing your
direction, you should also
change your name. The old
name was appropriate because
it was in itself sarcastic,
because the one thing that
the site didn't do was suck.
It seems to me that
particular sarcasm will no
longer be there.

Nicholas Williams

Dear Nicholas,

Thanks for sharing your
thoughts with us. We have
received a lot of flak for
our decision, but I hope you
will give the site a chance
in the coming weeks as we
unveil our new features and
distance ourselves from our
former format and writers.
Hopefully, now we can have a
site that lives up to our
name ;-). There is a little
sarcasm for you. A little
joke. Please don't get the
wrong idea about Suck. It's
not as if we are threatened
by the proliferation of dot
coms and are helplessly
thrashing about trying to
reposition ourselves.


Yogi Okaycola
Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Hi Roy, why the

Hi Roy,

I've been a long time reader
of Suck, for at least three
years now. I am extremely
cynical because of this, and
I do realize that this is all
a big hoax, but since this is
my first time writing to
Suck, I may as well make it a
proper flame. I hope you
don't mind; I mean, you guys
have only given me three
years of free entertainment
without asking for anything
in return, so I have a right
to tell you off once in a
while. Please don't take this

You guys are completely out
to lunch this time. Right out
of her. I mean you are worse
than any Canadian Rabbit on
crack. The reason everybody
reads Suck (at least
according to a recent Filler)
is it gives us humble
new-media types (God I hate
that expression — new
media is so old) a chance to
dick around at work.

I used to be a humble reader;
I was thankful for Suck. I
read Suck every day and
bought all of the products
and services advertised on
your Web site and told all my
friends what a great Web site
Suck was. After this change,
however, I will be forced to
boycott all the products and
services advertised on your
site and will encourage my
friends to do likewise.

If I wanted John Katz's witty
remarks and inane chattering
about what geeks are and why
they are important, I'd go to
Slashdot. Well I wouldn't,
because Slashdot is a crappy
little piece of crappity
crap, but many do. I won't
even begin on Art Bell; that
would take up a whole other
paragraph, and I really have
to stop dicking around at

If you change Suck, it will
be a huge shit sandwich, and
all of your readers will have
to take a bite. The next
thing you know, you guys are
going to change to i-Suck or
e-Suck or something and
advertise on the XFL before
your IPO. (NOTE: I hope you
hit and run XFL soon.)

Thank you for your concern.
In the off chance that you do
use this, please withhold my
company name. Feel free to
use my name and email.

Best regards,

Jordan D. Sullivan


I find this letter to be very
disingenuous. Why don't you
believe us? I'll take you at
your word if you take me at
mine. Isn't that what the
Internet is all about?


The Boob
Fish With Letter Icon


Dear Polly,

I have been reading Filler
for the last four months or
so. I would like you to know
that you have portrayed
yourself as the most negative
and insipid (ninth-grade
vocab word) person ever
created. Your narcissistic
style of aggrandizement and
egotism are enough to make
George W. "he put the duhhhhh
back in W." Bush shake his
head in shock. Frankly, your
character is shallow and a
dum-dum. Sorry. Had to be
said. It's really funny and
light and cute and ... yeah,



Hey, aren't you the guy who
started that letter-writing
campaign against Seinfeld,
urging the producers to make
the characters less selfish
and despicable?

Trust me, the narcissism and
egotism are 100 percent real,
and I'm pleased to see that
my shallowness and stupidity
are coming across, loud and
clear. Any perceived cuteness
is an unfortunate side effect
that's caused by a
combination of Terry Colon's
illustration style and the
apparent tendency of Web
dwellers to find hateful
behaviors appealing. However,
these two factors are
entirely beyond my control.

Selfish and despicable,

Fish With Letter Icon

Damn it, Polly, I don't read
Filler because it's topical
and informative; I read
because it's chockablock with
the classics: spite, envy,
malice, and crack. Please, in
the future, only mention
practical topics like stocks
in the context of ... oh,
say, angry squirrels bitching
about their ... uh, their
failed IPOs with It'd be much
more enjoyable for the all of

I'm only saying this because
I want you to be your
gleefully savage best.

Michael Locke

Savage, huh?

Who me? Savage? Never!

Wink wink! Nudgey nudge
nudge! Tee-hee heee heee!

Cute cute cute in her little
red suit,

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Amazon, thanks for
the tip.


I sold a bunch of my eBay
that I bought at $10 and
bought 5000 shares of Amazon
today based on your great tip
that "it rocks."

Thanks a bunch. Earnings came
in below the negative whisper
number, the bookstore part
has become profitable, and
it's trading way up after
hours. Let me know when a
good time to exit is and I'll
buy you some whimsical,
lighthearted gifts.

Ruckus Records

PS My shoeshine boy says to
check out WPNE. It makes
CU-SEE Me video-conferencing
software, which will be huge
with the coming widespread
availability of broadband. It
totally rocks!

Maybe I should replace the
Filler I usually serve with
incredibly misinformed stock

Today I had a definite sense
that I was flailing in the
darkness of an unpredictable
market, waiting for the scary
guy with the night-vision
goggles to turn my nest egg
to a scrambled mess.

This is your nest egg. This
is your nest egg on E-Trade.

Day trading is evil. Being
evil myself, I couldn't help
but dabble, but my sanity has

If I went into massive debt,
though, that sure would make
a funny and light and cute
addition to Filler!


Fish With Letter Icon

Hit & Run

On the subject of choosing
one's own name ... I worked
in Hong Kong a few years
back. There Chinese children
are given a Chinese name by
their parents but choose an
English name for themselves
when they become teenagers.
For the non-English speakers,
this proved somewhat of a
minefield, as names would be
chosen on the basis of
"sounding good" rather than
actual meaning. This was no
more apparent than in the
office where I worked, shared
with Anthrax, Frankenstein,
and Wanka.

Not that I can talk....

Kosten Metreweli

You can hardly blame those
Hong Kong kids, given the
tradition of Hong Kong
parents giving their kids
pseudo-British names like
"Winston," that no actual
British people have used for
decades. I once tried to give
myself a semi-phonetic
Chinese variation on my own
last name, meaning "Bold
Dragon Bird Flying Fish of
General Tzo," or something
like that, but it never
really took off. So who am I
to make fun?

Yr pal,

Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Tim:

Nice Super Bowl stuff. The
pulldowns, with their
implicit assumption of
yadayadayada, are wonderful;
I see them playing a major
role in the current
presidential race. Hell, I
have a bad feeling they're
already playing a role.

But anyway, I can't work up
too big of a head of steam
over meaningless sports
drivel; after all, how many
ways can you say, "We lost
because we scored fewer
points." Much the same goes
for huckstering: "Buy it
because it's better." The
tropes are inherently
limited. It's comedy that's
got me going. As I think
you've done already, it's now
possible to let a computer
write most of the late-night
monologs. And this is by pros
who are paid weekly salaries.
Large weekly salaries. Worse,
this stuff is being delivered
by pros who are being paid
VERY large weekly salaries.
Someone should know better.
Someone should have some
shame. Damn it, somebody
should be worried that
eventually people will stop
watching comedy that isn't
funny. No?

Sure, mass-produced comedy,
like mass-produced anything,
is less than wonderful. And
it is all in the timing. (See
if you can catch Dame Edna if
she ever drops by your neck
of the woods or if you're
ever in hers. The material is
horribly weak, but the timing
and the nuance are
brilliant.) And maybe I was
younger then. But didn't
comedians once tell jokes in
their standup? You know, with
set-ups and movement and
punch lines that were funny
because they actually hurt,
just a little? Didn't there
used to be a certain
antagonism between audience
and comic, an "I dare you to
make me laugh" that forced an
edge or a point on the
routine? When the audience
applauds the comedian before
he opens his mouth (just as
when an audience in the
theater applauds the entrance
of a Big Name Star — have
none of the people ever seen
a play before?), the inherent
tension between audience and
act disappears to the
detriment of both.

This is going on too long. I
liked your stuff. A lot. I
really truly wonder who's
enjoying the rest of what
passes for comedy.

Alan Kornheiser


You underestimate content.
"We lost because we scored
fewer points" is like saying
"The Germans lost because the
Allies had more stuff." Quite
true, but should that really
stop us from endlessly
second-guessing the Italian
campaign, savoring the
blunder at Kursk, or berating
that goddamned Monty for not
closing the Falaise gap? I
think not!

As for the devolution of
comedy, two rules will always
remain: "Comedy is tragedy
plus time," and "If it bends,
it's funny; if it breaks,
it's not!"

Yr pal,

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

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