The Fish
for 14 September 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
[Suck Staff]

[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


[Terry Colon]
Terry Colon
Art Director


[Heather Havrilesky]
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Phillip Bailey]
Phillip Bailey
Production Editor


[Joey Anuff]
Joey Anuff

[Go to the Suck Alumni page]
Downtime By Law

Dear God,

After reading today's thing, I wanted to say something that I'm sure you've heard before:

I wept. It was so good. Give me more.

Anyway, I knew if I hung in there and looked long enough, it would be there. And there it was.

Right there. There it was. Oh yes.

A million thanks.


Um. Well. Yes. Glad we could help.

Just as a clarification, though: Did you read the article or achieve orgasm?

Greg Knauss

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

"Until those who are aware of the problem can turn the energy of a million keystrokes into some coherent action, computer culture - and the freedom it so badly wants protected - is going to be viewed as nothing more than an unruly dog in need of a muzzle. Until the geeks can put away their snotty superiority and muster up enough interest to deal with the law on its own terms, their precious technical achievements are going to be for naught. And until the people who claim to care about the future of the Internet can put down their keyboards, put on suits and learn to fight like attorneys, then all this revolutionary new freedom is moot.

Lawyers rule the world. And don't you forget it."

Unless you happen to be judgment proof.

Note that decryption code for DVDs is widely available, links to it are widely available, drugs over the net are still widely available, Internet stock fraud is still widely available, the Internet vote auction site has been relocated to Bulgaria, and MP3s are still widely available.

Aside from domain name problems, which of the rulings and regs of recent months has had an actual impact "on the ground"? Actually stopped the flow of prohibited bits?

Duncan Frissell

So far? Not many. In the future? Who knows? The legal infrastructure is still important, no matter how far underground you think you've burrowed and to remain passively disinterested in its dismantling because you don't think it involves you is foolish. If you've still got a foot in meatspace, then it can still be chewed off.

Greg Knauss

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Until people realize that the internet will not change the way society/business works but that business/society will change the way the internet is used we are going to see a lot more dot flops.

There will only ever be one winner in a contest between business interests and whiny internet pioneers and that's business.

Diarmait O'Reilly

Yep. And while I think that geek action can mitigate - or at least temper - the impact, those who think the Internet is an unstoppable force are about to find out what an immovable object looks like.

Greg Knauss

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Excellent column today (9/8) on the truly bizarre laws being spurted out to poleax the troublesome online community. For your next take, though, I'd like some discussion of precisely which level of Hell the MPAA's Jack Valenti deserves consignment to.

Ralph Ward

The new wing is currently under construction.

Greg Knauss

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

i don't think the american government has the infrastructure needed to enforce intellectual property rights all over the world. they don't even have the ability to enforce intellectual property rights in their own geographical area. hell, they don't even have the ability to stop me from smoking marijuana.

C. Maan

While I normally take all my legal advice from stoned Canadians, this time I think I might defer to someone a little more grounded in the here-and-now.

Where the hell is that Taco Bell dog, anyway?

Greg Knauss

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

All true, and very funny as well. But, well, you know, dear Mr Crowley's "do what you will be the sole of the law" isn't really all that much of a debating position. When your stance in court is essentially "anything I want to do that I can do I will do and nyah nyah nyah," you're essentially sticking your head out of the hole and begging for the mallet to slam down on it. I appreciate that this is essentially your own argument, but overreaching and stupidity (except, possibly, in national politics) are rarely winning strategies even without lawyers involved.

Alan Kornheiser

Never underestimate the power of over- reaching and stupidity (or, heck, Satanism, for that matter). I mean, Suck's still around.

Greg Knauss

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

great filler!

I think the Greeks meant: "examining Life" in all it's physical and psychic and spiritual manifestations as opposed to one's own navel.

Andre Herzegovitch <>

I think they were talking about marine biology, actually. Those Greeks just loved their parameciums!


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Dear Polly;

Your column is usually like razor sharp coroners knife slicing deep into the swollen, putrescent illusions we all maintain about our self-images but Filler 9.6.00 was superlative. I wish that there was a way to have it bronzed.


Brandon Pierce

PS: I am open to the marriage thing if you're interested in discussing it. I'm flat broke, terminally angst-ridden, still live with my parents and I've never been to therapy, but I think we could make it work after years of expensive couples therapy.

I'm not sure if the words "putrescent" and "I wish I could have it bronzed" should be so close together in your message, let alone in your mind. But then, you're flat broke and terminally angst-ridden, which is enough for me. You may not know it, but these are the main criteria I use in selecting friends.

Ah, yes. I just sit around, idly choosing between hundreds of potential friends - that is, when I'm not eating raw Ahi tuna off the tanned, muscular buttocks of my brawny man-servants.

That actually sounds disgusting. Look what you made me do. This is all your fault.

My knife needs sharpening.


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Dear Polly Esther,

We may be living similar lives somehow. It's weird how your Fillers seem like personal humor just for me.

Sometimes I even laugh out loud in my cube.


Beth Gilbert

PS.I too, dislike those cloying, uncomfortable silences.

We're living similar lives? Really? So, you also find it inconvenient when the taste of the Ahi tuna you're sampling off the rock-hard glutes of your man-servant becomes slightly tainted by the oils he uses to keep his body shined to a high gloss?

No? Well, then our lives aren't very similar at all, are they?

Why do people always write to me telling me about how Filler made them laugh outloud in their cubes? Why can't someone, every now and then, write something like, "Filler made me laugh so loud that my secretary and several of my more obsequious underlings peered through the door of my massive corner office to get in on the joke, with the obvious hopes of winning my favor ..." or "Filler made laugh so loud that Donatella spilled her glass of Zin all over my white mink rug, but Elton said it looked way better that way anyway, and then he asked me, when are you gonna come down? When are you going to land? And I thought, I should have stayed on the farm, I should have listened to my old man."

I could go on like this forever. Look what you made me do. This is all your fault.

My cattle prod needs recharging.


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]


That goddam Steve gets more cameos and shit than I do. I hate him.


Don't hate Steve just because he's beautiful. And he is beautiful, too. He just lost about 20 or 30 pounds, all from doing Tae Bo and thinking positively for once in his life. It's actually sort of annoying, Steve thinking positively. I mean, it's out of character. It's off-message. He'd better get back to the party line before you start taking up his real estate in Filler.

You're gonna have to give me a little more to work with, though, Cisco. You gotta have personality to get cameos and shit. What do you think this is, the Big Brother house?

My piranha tank needs cleaning.


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Dear Polly,

I am having trouble motivating myself to be a productive, energetic citizen. Yet, while I am reading Filler, my ennui is magically lifted away.

Is there any chance that you can stream Filler directly into my brain, 24 hours a day?

Thanks for your help,

Craig Becker

I'm having trouble motivating myself to be a productive, energetic citizen, too. You know why? Because my motherfucking Powerbook G3 keeps crashing.

I doubt I'll be able to stream Filler directly into your brain anytime soon, given the fact that I can't even open Netscape and Eudora at the same time.

Oh, don't talk to me about RAM. I have more RAM than Dodge.

Actually, a 24-hour feed of Filler would be good. You could see what Polly and Joey did in those other moments that didn't make the final cut for the show. You know, Polly making little sculptures out of the lint from Joey's sweater, and Joey drinking Brandy Alexanders until he's doing the Macarena in his birthday suit. That's actually the kind of crap Joey does when the cameras aren't on. I'm not kidding.

Just think of the magnitude of lies I could spread, magically lifting away all that waxy ennui build-up, if your stupid company would just send me a new computer. And a handy little midget, to fix it. One with a cute little tool kit filled with midget-sized tools. And a box, with sandwiches in it, because, you know, I shouldn't have to feed the midget. And a man servant, with rock-solid butt cheeks, and years of experience as a Sushi Chef, and skin that keeps a natural gossamer glow without the use of artificial greasing agents.

Think different already, Craig.

My morning star that needs a coat of black Rustoleum.


Fish With Letter Icon

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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)
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Comix 2000, Edited and published by L'Association, 2000
Star Dudes
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