The Fish
for 29 August 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

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text
Maximum Bob

Dear Sir/Madam,

The Bob Hope thing was really great.



It's sir, if you please. And I'm
glad you liked our Hopus opus.


Fish With Letter Icon

I have always enjoyed your work @
Suck but I have to say that your
piece about Bob-Hope-as-
phenomenon was really remarkable.
If one of the goals of good writing
is to get the reader to look at
something an entirely new way,
you certainly succeeded. I've
always secretly enjoyed Bob
Hope movies, now I know why.

Brandon Pierce,
Director of Interactive Media
Perry Ballard Inc.

Hi Brandon,

Glad you liked it! Yeah, I know lots
of people who like Bob's old
movies -which are so much
better than any of his TV
work - and it's time we came
out of the comedy closet.

So you liked the new way I gave
you to look at Bob, eh? That
settles it - I'm sitting down
to write that Spiro Agnew
column right now!


Fish With Letter Icon


I really enjoyed your piece on Bob
Hope. In John Steinbeck's war
dispatches, there's an excellent
article on one of Bob Hope's shows
during World War II. I tried looking
for it on the Internet to send you
a copy, but couldn't find it. It may
be in "Once There Was a War", - it's
been a while since I read and I can't
quite remember. If you can get it
you'll love it.

Douglas Heath

Thanks, Douglas. I'd love to read that
Steinbeck dispatch and will look
for it. If Dali liked the Marx Brothers
and James Joyce Buster Keaton,
then I guess it makes sense that
Steinbeck, chronicler of down and
out Okies, mental deficients, and
the Common Man, would love old Bob.

Thanks again,


Fish With Letter Icon

You know, you guys at Suck have been
turning ever mean and taking shots
at stuff that didn't need to be hit. Your
piece on Bob Hope was a welcome
change and quite well done. Made me
appreciate a little more the old guy I
saw on TV as a kid.

Nicely done.

Steve Martinovich

Well, gee, Steve, the great thing about
Bob being the old guy you saw on
TV as a kid is that he's the old guy
you can still see on TV as an adult!

Don't worry about SUCK, though, we'll
get mean again real soon. There is a
Presidential campaign on, you know.

Thanks again!


Fish With Letter Icon

Nice article, but I had to nitpick one thing:
When you said it was hard to think of a
Boomer comic that ridiculed the Gulf his best stuff in recent memory was
over that. Like I said, nitpicking :)


Actually, John, 'ol George Carlin is no
baby boomer - he's 63 this year!
He's more on the tail end of the Lenny
Bruce, Mort Sahl generation, so no
wonder he's never made it big on TV or
movies - he's got a point of view to
hold him back! Like most baby boomer
icons of rebellion and subversiveness
- Bob Dylan, Robert Crumb, the Beatles,
The Rolling Stones, Jack Nicholson,
Hunter Thompson - George's point of
view was formed before the boom, during
the Depression and War years, not the 50s.
Boomer comics endorse the
comfortable times they grew up in, getting
cranky at best, but never really angry.

If there was one baby boomer who spoke out
against the Gulf War it was Bill Hicks, a
borderline boomer born in '63 or so.
Boomer comics took over in the mid-70s
and, with rare exceptions, were/are
perfect joke mechanics who emphasized
form over content. Ironically, the
Boomers are closer to Bob
Hope than the generation that directly
followed. After World War II, Lenny
and Mort and Jonathon Winters and Jerry
Lewis all rejected Bob's stand-up
precision (maybe Mort hewed closest with
his great talent for writing jokes),
preferring improv or more daring content
and sometimes both together. But the
baby boomers overall reverted back to
that jokety-joke-joke-joke vaudeville
style more than not. Maher, Leno,
Letterman, Seinfeld, Reiser, Shandling,
Dennis Miller - their stand-up is all honed,
timed, craft work. Like Bob, they'd rather
be something than say something. Look at
Bill Maher, who can tell a million Clinton
jokes and not one of them with a point
of view - except that Clinton likes girls,
Clinton likes to eat, etc. Roseanne
comes to mind as one of the rare Boomer
exceptions to this. As to the something
that boomers are, well, like Bob,
SUCK will get around to writing that one
in about fifty years.

Thanks for writing,


Fish With Letter Icon

By far the best article I've read in Suck for
a while. I can't believe that I have to take
Bob Hope seriously.

Do you have a list of essential Bob Hope films?

Do I get a t-shirt for this?


At 97 years old Bob isn't all that funny
anymore, so I think this is the perfect
time to take him seriously.

I don't have an official list from the Hope
ouevre, but I like "My Favorite Brunette,"
"The Road to Utopia," "The Road to
Morocco," "The Paleface," "Son
of Paleface," and I know Woody Allen has
said he likes "Fancy Pants," which
is just about the end of Bob's funniest
movies. I would also suggest "The
Treasure of the Sierra Madre,"
even though Bob isn't in that one.

T-shirts? I'll forward this to the Fish editor.
I doubt it, though. SUCK's
merger with FEED meant all the cool T-shirts
were handed over to investors when they
bought equity stakes in SEED, or FUC -- ... or
whatever this thing gets renamed.


Fish With Letter Icon

Good column on Bob "No, I'm not dead yet" Hope
and his deserved spot as a cultural icon, but
you should have made more mention of his
"Road" films with Bing Crosby. The two of
them made an ideal hot 'n cool comedy team,
and these films introduced irony and
surrealism to an America that still drove DeSotos.


Well, Ralph, if the Marx Brothers couldn't
get them out of those
anti-surrealist De Sotos nothing could.
You're right, Bob's "Road" movies
are Bob at his best (well, some of them,
anyway) but I wanted to cover his
character in movies as one idea, not
get into all the different films. Thanks for writing!


Fish With Letter Icon

Bert -

I was surprised how good your Bob Hope
piece turned out to be. First reaction
being, of course: what's there to say
about Bob Hope, anyway? And
then you go and historicize that
response. Good work.

A friend of mine some years ago was in a
Maoist youth group - this would've
been about 1980 - and he had a
pamphlet in which they discussed what
revolutionaries would do to transform
the culture (and everything else) upon
taking power. Bob Hope was definitely
listed as an Enemy of the People.
Sammy Davis, Jr. too, I think.


Scott McLemee

Thanks Scott - and you SUCK readers
always surprise me at what good
readers you turn out to be.

Regarding Bob as Enemy of the People,
well, if you couldn't make Nixon's White
House Enemies list back in the 70s, I
guess Chairman Mao's was just as good.


Fish With Letter Icon

Given what an easy target Hope has become,
this bit of reverence was surprising
and refreshing. Nice job, well-
researched and argued; I came away
with a new appreciation for the man.

You, Slotcar, and 40th St. are doing a
lot to change Suck for the better. I
look forward to future work.


Hi Brett,

Yep, shock reverence. Actually, I wrote the
thing in an irreverent mood -
what better way to annoy hipsters and
the self-appointed alternative world
(if it still exists - it's been a long time
since Lollapalooza) than to prop up Bob
as the One True God of Comedy?

Thanks for writing,


Fish With Letter Icon

Thanks for the review. Despite myself, I
always have a warm spot for Bob, perhaps
because of memories of watching "On
the Road" movies and such. He always
supported the soldiers, despite the
politics, another thing that impressed me.

By the way, that tour in Vietnam. He was
reportedly the target for a full
scale assassination attempt that nearly
came off. I have seen this reliably
reported in several sources, just a little
note on his personal commitment and
bravery, despite his "act".


Hi Kevin,

Well, Bob was never a critical favorite, so
maybe one more sniper didn't bother
him too much.

Thanks for writing,


Fish With Letter Icon

Sure it was ghostwritten. Sure Hope glossed
tons of stuff. But I read it when I was 11
(30 years ago) and I couldn't help but
think that this guy was a professional's
professional, even then, when my first
stand up gig was a lifetime away. I've
even stolen some of his lines (not for
gigs, brr, I write my own stuff), and the
best part is that the jokes are so bloody
old that no-one recognizes them!

It's very hard to be tough but fair on an icon,
and I think you did a really good job,
congrats. It's a nice change from just
trashing somebody, and you honoured his
immense contribution without avoiding
some of his more eyebrow raising gaffes.

Best regards,

Allegra Sloman

Yeah, I did read that book. I'm publishing a
long piece next year on Hope's writer in the
early days, Al Boasberg, and I read through
"Have Tux, Will Travel." It leaves out most
everything you'd want to know about Bob's
personal life and what he actually thought
of almost anything, but, it is pretty accurate
about his career. Hopefully someone will
write a really good book about Bob, a
serious one, since the guy is such a key
figure and artist.

Thanks for writing,


Fish With Letter Icon

Mr. Blecht,

Its a tough pill to swallow (those 70s TV specials
with "Lucy" and "Ethel" and every other
stalagtite in the business were often hideous),
but you make a convincing case. Great
piece of writing.

Rob Anderson

Thanks! Yeah, watching those old timers
refuse to let go was kind of sad,
but in the end, all we'll see of Bob is his
movies, and that's his best work. I mean,
when's the last time you saw any of his
radio or TV work - and there's 60 years
of it! Unfortunately, Lucy will haunt me
all my life.


Fish With Letter Icon

Your piece on Maximun Bob is just awesome!
Breathtaking. I read it twice with great
relish. I don't have time to check, but I
bet you were the guy who wrote the great
piece on Jerry Lewis and his contribution to
comedy and culture. When both of these
icons finally go, I hope your work on them gets
widely circulated. It is as definitive as
it gets. Bravo!

Dale W. Way
Oakland, CA

Twice with relish? If Bob were conscious he'd
probably have a hell of hot dog joke for that ...
oh, well, lost to the ages and all that. No,
I didn't write the Jerry column, nor have I
read it. I'll look it up.

And I thought SUCK was "wide circulation" ...
I'm going to have to have a talk with the
management around here.


Fish With Letter Icon
The American Century 2.0

Mr. Blecht,

The cure for polio was discovered
by Jonas Salk, a Canadian.
Otherwise, your article was
hilarious and sidesplittingly


Brian Newton

You know, with Senator Lieberman
out there breaking down barriers,
why is it we have to resort to name
calling? Jonas Salk was born in New
York City in 1914. And yet, despite
the great gifts he brought to the
world, some would still tear him
down with the slur: "Canadian!" We
at Suck reject your particular
brand of hate, Brian. But at the
same, we're delighted that even an
angry Internet bigot like yourself
enjoys our hilarious, side
splittingly satirical, and
stunningly accurate work.

Fish With Letter Icon

Nice article — if it weren't
for the painfully arrogant
introduction. I read about American
ignorance and arrogance back in a
sociology class - but never thought
I'd actually see something this

Peter Fotheringham
Strategic Policy Branch,
Industry Canada

Sociology class? Who needs all that
book learning when you can get real
American arrogance free from Suck?
Sorry you blew all your folks'
money up there at Ottawa U., Mr.
Strategy. What about Canadian
arrogance? We cut you in on NAFTA
and all we get back is thick bacon
and attitude by the truckload. Next
you'll be telling me Jonas Salk was

We appreciate your role as
America's backyard and the
beautiful landscaping job you've
done on a continental scale - but
who do you think it was kept you
safe during the Mexican-America
War? Who do you think kept Castro
and killer bees out of your hair
all these years? That's right,
Uncle Sam. So show some respect.

You want to know why I like
America? Because here, as Senator
Lieberman has shown, anyone can
grow up to be President. Anyone,
that is, except a Canadian citizen.

Fish With Letter Icon

Thank you SO MUCH!!! Late night,
phone shut off, bought building to
try to pay off my own mortgage,
Tenants Suck...

You are a much needed breath of
fresh air!!! 300% over Hunter T and
PJ Orourke, or, more accurately, a
much needed continuing from them..

Kathleen Celata

Glad to hear from a real citizen
like you Kathleen, a gal whose got
her priorities figured out. Re:
Tenants "rights," just turn off the
heat sometime around Christmas.
Let's see how uppity they get then.

Fish With Letter Icon

There are a few things that grind
with me in one sentence in your
opening paragraph: 'Since 1900,
we've won two world wars, a cold
one, invented TV, atomic bombs,
comic books, airplanes, put a men
on the moon, cured polio, and saved
the world time and again.'

Now I'm going to whine: The TV was
invented by Scottish inventor John
Logie Baird, The Allies won WW2,
Atomic bombs aren't things to be
proud of,

In summary, you are a cliche, you
are the arrogant-American-fuck
blinded by their own patriotism.
Instead of perpetuating an ancient
stereotype, why don't you try being
even slightly original? Apart from
that I find your work entertaining
and worthwhile reading, keep up the
good work.

.oOo. Ilya Anisimoff .oOo.

The Germans invented TV Send me a

John Greeff

Well, it's just this sort of nasty
Euro-squabbling that started World
War II, isn't it? Who invented TV?
Who gets the Sudetenland? Most
people don't know it but Rudolf
Hess was shot down in Scotland
while trying to set up a black
market cable TV deal for the
Fuhrer. When will you people learn?
Maybe this will help: Television
was invented by none other than
American wunderkind (but aren't we
all?) Philo T. Farnsworth:
history/inventors/ farnsworth.htm

(PBS TV transcript)

(from some Australian tech school
that disputes the Scotsman)

Ok, we didn't win WW II alone. Even
Canadians helped out (chopping down
trees with their beaver-like teeth
for our fighting boys - thanks
guys!), but why so proud of TV and
not atomic bombs, Ilya? Have you
actually seen "The FOX News?" Spend
an hour with "The O'Reilly Report"
and see how bad you want to hog
credit for TV. Anyway, the winners
get to write history, and America
is the biggest winner of all, so
here's a couple of other things we
invented: The Pyramids goats,
Italy, and fun.

And be sure to pass on our thanks
to the allies for all their help in
the Pacific!

Bert Blecht, Arrogant-American-fuck
blinded my own patriotism - and I
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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