The Fish
for 7 March 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

70,000 Sucksters Can't Be

I enjoyed your story. Here's
a question that's been
bothering me:

why does it seem like
screenwriters have a lot of
difficulty with endings?

Mary Jo

Gosh, Mary Jo, I liked the
ending of "70,000 Sucksters
Can't Be Wrong!" However, I'm
hoping you meant the general
state of movies, to which I'd
say there are a number of
reasons movies don't end

1) The first is that writers
in general don't have control
of a movie. Directors,
executives, producers, and
actors usually have more say
in the process than those who
write (except on TV, where
nobody seems to mind the
endings so much).

2) Another industry bad habit
is the use of audience test
screenings in which audience
members, for any number of
reasons, might walk out of
the movie unhappy. These
screenings are valuable to
see how people react to a
movie, but when people don't
like the movie they complain
about the last thing they
remember, the ending, and the
classic response by studios
is to reshoot the ending to
"fix" the movie. It could be
that the beginning sets
things up in the wrong way or
a scene in the middle needs
to be cut or a new one
written. It's Billy Wilder
who says when your third act
is in trouble it's because
your first is in trouble.

3) Some writers are inept.

Fish With Letter Icon

Mr. Brecht,

I don't think these Neilsons
people ever come to New York
City. Supposedly, NYC is one
of TV's most coveted markets,
but I've never been
approached, and neither has
anyone I know, and I know
lots of nuclear families in
the 5 boroughs. When I was 9
or 10, my father's family (in
central Connecticut) had a
Neilson's book, where they
noted everything they watched
and mailed it in after 6
weeks. How I wished I could
get my hands on it!

Those guys know better.

the Little boy
from the Big Apple

Well, Colin, New Yorkers are
no doubt the smart "urban"
viewers the Neilsen people
told me about who refuse the
AC Neilsen Co. box on the
grounds that it's probably a
scam. And it is, but on a
much larger basis than just
conning you into TV needless

Then again, smarty New
Yorkers have so many great
entertainment choices that
compete with TV —the
never ending Broadway run of
CATS, sold out Central Park
concerts with Garth Brooks
and Billy Joel, Don "The
I-Man!" Imus every morning
—the Neilsen's must know
you're just not a TV town.

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: rating x


I read your article with
great interest, as I was
recently asked by Arbitron to
be a ratings "family" for
their February period. This,
even tho I am a
Suckster-reading media cynic
and, moreover, another
card-carrying member of the
complex - a
features/entertainment editor
for a daily paper, online
editor for its Web edition
( and a
freelance music reviewer.

As it turns out, that week I
only listened to Canadian
radio stations (I live in New
York state just across Lake
Ontario from the Great White
North) and public radio. I'm
sure such an aberration will
be forgotten as it drowns in
a sea of returns from people
who listened to stations that
play either a) britney
spears/'n sync, b) kid
rock/korn, c) shania
twain/dixie chicks or d) led
zepplin/doors ad nauseum will
continue to be "rewarded" in
the latest ratings book.

In exchange for this pleasure
and overwhelming $2 paycheck,
I took almost-daily calls
from Arbitron representatives
reminding me to send my book
in (including one call at
9:30 a.m. on Saturday). Each
one politely told me that "my
demographic" (males 21-35)
was the least reliable when
it came to returning the
books. Now that's class!

Glad to see I'm not the only
one who suffers from
performing such an "honorable
duty" in support of a radio
system swallowed up by
mergers, mediocrity and

Still liking to believe
(unrealistically) in the
freedom of music,

Tim Nekritz

The spirit of Che and Mao
clearly resides in rebels
like us, Tim. Two men not
afraid to turn the dial on
principle and principle
alone. I think the deal I got
was $50 for the initial
set-up and then $12 every six
months, but they smoked me
out before I got the second

Fish With Letter Icon

You mention Strangers with
Candy. Why not the Upright
Citizens Brigade? I was under
the impression Suck's one of
their pet projects. Oh yeah.
Right. It's just a TV show.

Peter Kilander

Sorry Pete, I don't tow the
line for anybody, not even my
corporate masters at Suck.
The last show Suck endorsed
heartily was "Bryant Gumbel's
Xtreme Newz," a morning show
in which Gumbel interviewed
celebs and newsmakers from a
glass-walled, street-level
Thai boxing dojo in Times
Square. Unfortunately, our
first guest for Bryant was Al
Sharpton, who couldn't match
Bryant's high kick. CBS said
they "liked the energy," but
didn't buy the show. Once
again, the masterminds in the
front office squash a great

Fish With Letter Icon

They asked me if I wanted to
do Arbitron in 91, I said
sure, but I wouldn't want to
skew your data, I don't have
a tv. I should have took the
money. Of course, I skew data
anyway, we used to get on all
three national channnels news
on King Day before it was
official and the year it was
finally official by getting
arrested at the missile silo
fields in North Dakota. Of
course we didn't make it all
three channels the year we
went a week early on Jan 8
and poured blood on a missile
silo (I-17 west of Larimore
NoDak). But we haven't done
anything like that since
1990. (We still do not know
why we were not prosecuted
the last two times). They
took the nukes out of that
field. I am in Canada now.
And so I do not pay any more
taxes for nuclear weapons
directly. Still trying to
skew the data. Shalom, Mark

Mark Rogness

P.S. I read Suck every M-F.

You live in Canada, Mark?
Just watch what we tell you
to watch and there won't be
any trouble, ok? As for your
protesting and waving signs
about, well, that kind of
revolution is good for
improving civil rights, human
rights, and effecting social
change that could make all
our lives and our children's
lives demonstrably better.
However, if you're really
going to make a difference,
you need to sit down, get
that TV on, and make some
hard choices — "Everyone
Loves Raymond" or "Dharma and
Greg?" Write us again when
you're really willing to make
a commitment, ok?

Fish With Letter Icon

I actually work for the AC
Nielsen Co. and the Suck
Daily on them really struck a
cord with me. Everything that
was said was the absolute
truth about them. Except the
point of how many homes you
actually represent. The
figure is closer to 4,000.

Nielsen does consider itself
to be the man, and I say
stick it to the man.


Excellent, Suck has a man on
the inside. Just for fun,
would you make Space Ghost
the #1 show in America for a
few weeks? Yes, you guys have
had a nice laugh on all of us
with Ally McBeal, but really,
enough's enough.

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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