The Fish
for 24 April 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Phillip Bailey]
Phillip Bailey
Production Editor


Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


It's the Economy, Stupid!

You forgot the Xhosa disaster
in the 1850's. After the
defeat of the Light Brigade
in the Crimean War, a woman
in what is now South Africa
predicted that that the
ancestors of the Xhosa people
would arise and kick out the
hated British. All the Xhosa
had to do was stop planting
crops and to kill their
cattle. ( To the Xhosa, just
as bad as the Inuit killing
their dogs, with the added
kick of burning your bank
book and ATM card.)

The cattle were killed, the
ancestors did not arise, and
the Xhosa starved to death.
The British colonialists were
horrified, but they still
took over the now empty land.

Michael Walsh MCSE MCT


That one I forgot, but so
many I still remember. It was
no less quaint a native than
Ronald Reagan, our own
slavering Don Quixote, who
identified Russia as the Gog
(or Magog, I forget which;
it's late here in Jerusalem,
and I have been sampling the
holy land's unhallowed brews)
foretold in Ezekiel's visions
of destruction. Hell, the
bestselling nonfiction book
of the 1970's,
notI'm Okay, You're Okay not Fear of
, but The Late, Great
Planet Earth
, a set of very
specific and lurid
predictions of how the world
was going to end in the late
70's based on apocalyptic
readings of that same old
book of Ezekiel.

Why do some people's bogus
apocalypses result in
strangled, charred corpses
and others in book royalties
that leave Eggers in the
dirt? Ah, buddy. It's the

Fish With Letter Icon

That was elegantly written,
nicely researched, and all in
all an exemplary piece of
work. (What it's doing in is therefore
anybody's guess, but even Tim
nods.) I wonder, however, if
you're not putting too big a
knock on the followers of
Joshua (late of Nazareth).
The end of the world as we
know it illuminates several
other religious systems as
well. The most obvious is
that of the Shiites, who wait
for the return of the hidden
imam, but contemporary
Judaism retains a messianic
component, Shiva always waits
within Hindu faiths, and most
of the meso-American
religions foretold the coming
of some great change, or
ending. Probably somebody
better read than I could add
more examples. There is
something inherently horribly
human that wants neat endings
and complains when it doesn't
get them. That Christianity
seems to be driving the worst
of these may say less about
it than about the
news-gathering abilities of
the societies that embrace
that particular faith. Be
that as it may, you make some
solid arguments. Thanks again
for the fine piece.

Alan S Kornheiser
The Doctor Is IN
"That thing you're doing...
don't do that."

I think there is something
special about Christian
apocalypticism, something
more attractive and virulent,
but that's a gut feeling. If
you take a look at the
founding documents, the
Jewish Bible ends with the
promise of the rebuilding of
the temple at the hands of a
real, earthly ruler (Cyrus).
The Christian one ends with a
heavenly nukefest at the
hands of the heavenly
messiah. Go figga.

On the other hand, given the
implicitly Protestant and
explicitly white European
media reporting stuff that
they've edited for
comprehensibility and ability
to fit our preconceived
narratives, I can't claim to
have much more than a hint of
what's really going on.

Fish With Letter Icon

That's a really good piece,

Chris Tayler

Are you insinuating

If so, thanks! If not, thanks

Fish With Letter Icon

I would like to thank you for
an insightful and disturbing
article that helps blow the
trite, utterly miniscule
conceptions of recent news
out the window. It's
relieving to see a blast of
static like this really pound
home a message (albeit a
depressing and horrific one)
instead of the usual
sarcastic, self-involved
filler (not that I don't like
the filler, but this is real
analysis of real news,
whatever that means). So
basically, thanks for writing
this article, it gives me
hope that other people online
actually care about problems
on a global scale that don't
include multinationals and
their debts and recessions.

David Romine

We tend to use one language
and one filter for all this
stuff. It's not that the
other global phenomena aren't
related in all sorts of ways
to the debts and recessions,
it's that we're not
conceptually prepared to deal
with it. To that end, I'd
recommend Charles MacKay's
Extraordinary Popular
Delusions and the Madness of
, which has never gone
out of print over its
century-plus history. It
starts with the John Law
stock bubble of 1719-20,
which scammed the King of
France and thousands of the
smartest people in Paris, and
quickly moves on to Witch
crazes. Putting stocks and
the supernatural together
isn't my invention; it works
because they're part of the
same phenomenon in cold, hard
reality: the human

Fish With Letter Icon

She Will Always Love Us

Funny--but Celebrity Skin
better than Nevermind? I
think you must have had some
of Whitney's wacky-tobacky.
Anyway, any moment Courtney
Love is singing is a moment
she's not acting. As Houstons
went, I always prefered
Penelope to Whitney. I was
starting to get temporarily
insane during that period
where you could not enter a
store, a restaurant, a bar,
or a funeral home without
hearing, "I will always luhv
youuuuuuewe-ewe, ewe ewe ewe
ewe" on the muzak. "I will
always love you, I will
follow you around, I will
sing this song under your
window again and again and
again until you go insane or
yield yourself to the vaccum
of my yearning." Still, it's
not hard to sympathize with
the persecuted woman. More
evidence of suffering: that
song "Da Butt" on the
soundtrack of Spike Lee's
immortal classic School Daze
(with the lyric "Whitney's
got a big old butt/big Jersey
butt.") and the scene in
American Psycho where
Christian Bale extols the
deep meaning of Houston's
anthems just before stabbing
a victim, as John Cale
performs an orchestrated
version of "The Greatest Love
of All."

A possible comeback role for
her, post rehab: playing The
Siren in Joel Schumacher's
Yet Another Batman Movie,
breaking glass and shaking
masonry with her high-pitched


Richard Von Busack

Thanks for that example of
Whitney's butt being mocked.
Have these people no shame? I
can sympathize with just
being tired of her voice, but
must everyone be so hateful?
And, sorry, but Celebrity
is better than

Warm regards,

Fish With Letter Icon

I seem to have a problem here
mustering any sort of
interest in these
assembly-line pop icons - VH1
keeps trying to interest me
in these Divas & anti-Divas,
and yr article also sorta
bounced off. Except for the
part about Courtney Love -
she's a viscous opportunistic
moron and the mainstream
fascination with her is a
pretty ugly little drama.


Colin Rankine
the little boy
from the big apple

This refusal to let go of all
this damaging hate toward Ms.
Love has characterized much
of today's correspondence.
Please, Mr. Rankine, can't
you just let go and feel the


Fish With Letter Icon


Dear Sucksters,

People who use e-mail to
inform others of a death in
the family obviously don't
use a whole lot of tact... or
is that how most people
perceive e-mail is used? It
is my experience that a
majority of messages that
float through my inbox are
created without regard to
proper punctuation or
grammar. As well, the authors
don't seem to add very much
detail to these messages. Due
to the faceless nature of
e-mail, many messages can be
misinterpreted because there
is no emotion behind the
words. But this is no excuse
for trying to rent a room.

Another example of this was
presented to me when I
this week. A site designed to
show the talents of a couple
of artists, visitors were
greeted with a message
instead of their daily
cartoon: "Due to the
unexpected death of my
Father, SuperDuperHeroes will
be taking the current week
off. We'll be back next

Russ Golightly

Well it's easy enough to
address the problem that
there is no emotion behind
the words:

"Due to the unexpected death
of my Father,
SuperDuperHeroes will be
taking the current week off.
:-( We'll be back next

Fish With Letter Icon

Hello, My name is Julio and I
understood you are very rich,
but you're not

Any way, I wrote you because
my faculty.

I'm student and I need to
work to much for fees, but I
must learn first, but my time
is to short. If you want to
help me - not too much
(actually I need for 300 $
for taxes), please email as
soon as possible. In my
country - Romania - the costs
are expensive and the total
money you can win on a mounth
is too small.


Thank you very much,

Julio Costea

Dear Julio,

Thanks for your heartwarming
Easter message. At this
blessed time of year, it's
important to remember those
less fortunate than us. We
have made your message public
and are encouraging our
readers to help you in your
time of need in Romania. Hang
in there!

Fish With Letter Icon

Hit & Run

Who would the Sucksters be if
they didn't do a little
sucking once in awhile?

My goodness, as I read
yesterday's Hit and Run I
started to be filled with
anticipation. What could this
young filmmaker have said
that was so enormously,
ridiculously dumb? Then
reading what he said, I was
filled with an overwhelming
sense of "so what?" Come on
guys! Was this guy worth
attacking that much, just for
some misguided idea about
making movies in a repressive
society versus an open, free,
yet money-driven (and at
times elitist) society such
as ours? I agree that Payne
is delusional to think that
in some dictatorship or
communist society he would
have grown into a brilliant
filmmaker, or whatever. But
come on, this is American
film society.
Directors,actors, even
producers - both on the
Hollywood "inside" and those
like Payne who no doubt
consider themselves on the
"outside" - are largely
delusional about everything.
In his romantic mind, I'm
sure Payne could see himself
in an Eastern bloc, 1970s or
'80s-era country with one of
his works being smuggled into
the free West - and making a
huge splash in the film
world. Outrageous? Sure.
That's the way artists are.
So, did you hate "Election"
(a good film, in my opinion)
so much that you saw fit to
single Payne out for a Hit &
Run rant? And do you feel
better now?

Best Regards,


No, we feel really guilty
about the whole thing. Poor
Payne must be really broken
up about the way we attacked
him. Too bad we can't just
throw him in the gulag —
that's the civilized way to

Fish With Letter Icon

Apples and Onions

Subject: Why Compare to the

I'm sorry, I don't understand
why people keep comparing to The Onion. The
Onion started as a paper
publication filled with event
info, and the humor is
parody. From my exposure to (every day), I see
no comparisons.
features essays — both
large and small, cynical
cartoons (which I love),
interviews, and the
occasional parody of
"pitches" or other such
things. It's not nearly the
comparison that New York's
tired Rotten Apple is. You
can love both Suck and the
Onion equally, and for
different reasons, as I do.
Besides, the Onion is only
new once a week, and Suck
doesn't offer me Dan Savage.
Why would I choose?

Another point, re: your 4/13
Hit & Run: If you watched the
DVD of Election and listened
to Alexander Payne's
commentary, you wouldn't be
surprised at anything stupid
he might say. The man is a
fine director, but sucks at

Thanks for disregarding my
e-mail message. I'll follow
up w/a phone call later! :)

Alexia Henke

We encourage everyone to
enjoy Suck every day, for all
the many reasons you have
enumerated. We have nothing
but the highest regard for
our colleagues in online

Fish With Letter Icon

Naive as ever, I thought all
the unhappy kidz loved your
ass once they got a peek. All
I did was send you a faintly
fawning little note, and this
Dave pops his spleen in my
face like a hot beer. I see
the flames you publish, of
course, but I had no idea the
unmedicated were fixating on
you with this kind of heroic

Anyway, here's a sample of
the tides you raise out here
in beef country. Do you think
I'm safe?

Dibs on the Fish sofa,

Randy Ratliff

Oh, check his e-mail address.
That was the hoot of hoots
for me.

---Original Message ---
From: Randy Ratliff []
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2000 4:33 PM
To: 'David Matteson'
Subject: RE: soul stirring belly-laugh!?

Dear Dave,

I'm sure things will get
better for you someday soon.
Of course I don't want to
speculate about a perfect
stranger (how foolish would
that be?), but I wonder if
bitterness such as you
express doesn't perpetuate
itself. After all, if you put
half the effort into showing
some kindness to someone
nearby, the immediate rewards
might encourage you to do
more of the same, rather than
attacking casual phrases in
letters written by people you
don't know to people you
don't know. Or, as my Uncle
Larry puts it, "if you piss
on a fire, you deserve to

Anyway, I wish you the best
of luck, and I hope that
includes a little kindness
pointed your way. I promise
you that, right now, someone
wants to be nice to you. When
they work up the nerve, I
hope you let them.


--- Original Message--
From: David Matteson [mailto:matteson@]
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2000 3:21PM
To: 'rratliff@'
Subject: soul stirring belly-laugh!?


i've known about suck for a
long time, i check it once in
a while, but mostly i ignore
it because it is drivel. i've
been checking the letters
lately to see if they'll
bother to publish the flame i
sent them regarding their
recent, completely inane
tirade against
interface-skins (i'm sure you
know the one if you are an
avid suck reader.)

but i thought i would write
and advise you to have
yourself committed. what kind
of reasonable person uses a
phrase like 'soul stirring
belly-laughs'? for that
matter, what kind of genetic
mutation is required to find
suck funnier and wittier than
the onion?

i'm sorry but you are just
dead wrong, suck is
reminiscent of the childish
e-zine i ran years ago when
the net was first beginning
to blossom. i was thirteen,
the 'sucksters' are
supposedly adults.
unfortunately, they are far
less informed and rational
than most children.

hoping you find a nice padded


p.s. don't bother to bitch
me out about being an asshole
or sending unwanted negative
comments your way, if you
don't want this kind of
thing, you should've asked
them not to list your e-mail
address. the fact that it was
there tells me you welcome
comments, if that's not the
case, simply delete this and
forget about it. on the other
hand, you could always write
back and explain exactly what
demented thought process
leads you to believing suck
is the best 'humour' site on
the web.


Thanks again for your
continuing support.

Fish With Letter Icon

Speaking Out About Things
That Suck

I read suck and I liked it
very much . As It is there a
many things that suck and it
is good when they get there
noticed as to be able to say
" Yes thats something that
really sucks"

Mary J Salvato

Thanks, Mary. We believe that
Americans are too willing to
put up with things they don't
like. It's about time for
people to stop being so shy
about complaining! If you
think it sucks, tell a
friend! If not, tell the

Fish With Letter Icon

Speaking Out For

I'm living with a Chinese
family as an American foreign
exchange student right now,
and periodically I get on the
Internet to check a few of my
favorite sites. is
on my list, and I can't go
without looking at it every
week or so. Anyways... The
other day, my host found in the global
history. When I got home,
after a while he worked up
the courage to ask me if I
was "looking at sexy sites on
his computer". I said no, no,
no, I wouldn't do that (and
especially not here!), but he
argued he found a "sexy site
address" in the URL history
bar and was adamant I was
crusing for sex pix on his
poor little computer. I
thought about it long and
hard (OH!!), pulled
up in front of him
on the computer (he freaked
out), then finally it loaded
and he said "never mind."

Kevin Marshall

Your host must have had a
pretty good grasp of
colloquial English if he
recognized "Suck" as a "sexy
site address." You should
have told him it was a site
about vacuum cleaners. But
what about the part of the
story where your pants
accidentally fell down?
Didn't that lead to even
merrier misunderstandings?


Fish With Letter Icon

 The Shit
Krushchev Remembers, by Nikita Krushchev (authorship disputed), translated by Strobe Talbott
Five-Star Day Cafe
Athens, Ga.
Salon's "Action Figures"
TV ad
Donna's Famous "Long and Short of It," by Donna Anderson and friends
Two-Lane Blacktop, directed by Monte Hellman (The Anchor Bay/Universal letterboxed edition)
George Bush, Dark Prince of Love: A Presidential Romance, by Lydia Millet (Scribner)
King Kong: The Complete 1933 Film Score, by Max Steiner Moscow Symphony Orchestra, William J. Stromberg conductor (Marco Polo)
Eightball #20, by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics Books)
The ECW's Little Spike Dudley
Stan Kenton, City of Glass, featuring arrangements by legendary weirdo Bob Graettinger (EMD/Blue Note)
Comix 2000, Edited and published by L'Association, 2000
Star Dudes
Do you know of stuff that doesn't actively suck? Things so good they deserve to make the Shitlist? Send your suggestions to us.

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