The Fish
for 31 October 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
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[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor

 

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Terry Colon
Art Director

 

[Heather Havrilesky]
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor

 

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Joey Anuff
Publisher

 
 
 
 
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The Pretender

Dear Ann,

Good writing, strong message. Nice!

I particularly appreciated "demagogue ex machina"--sharp word play in support of one of the central ideas of the piece.

Richard Banks
<richard.banks@cpa.state.tx.us>

Your appreciation for my word play is matched only by my appreciation for your words.

Ann O'Tate

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

It's a shame to see a nice article about the latest in a string of shameless Hollywood propaganda movies sullied by an offhand slandering of Nietzsche's views on the state and humanity in general. Nietzsche despised German nationalism and, while an atheist, he certainly did not replace this spiritual "void" with the glorification of government or public policy (that role was played by his sister). In fact, the very aspects of this movie that you point out as reprehensible — dogma and hypocrisy — are the very same problems that Nietzsche spent his life trying to reveal and discuss.

Anyway, please take another look at our boy Freddy. It would be nice to finally wave goodbye to the misreadings of his work that pockmarked the 20th Century. Thanks.

Greg May
<gregm@pointgraphic.com>

You'd be surprised how many people wrote in expressing this same concern, Greg, though I think you may the only one who's on a first name basis with the old coot.

Nietzsche's take on the worship of the state is, I admit, a tad more ambiguous than that of either Adolf or Georg, but is pretty positive nonetheless. And I quote:

"Genuine philosophers, however, are commanders and legislators: they say, 'thus it shall be!'...With a creative hand they reach for the future, and all that is and has been becomes a means for them, an instrument, a hammer. Their 'knowing' is creating, their creating is a legislation, their will to truth is--will to power." --Beyond Good and Evil, sec. 211

And so it shall be,

Ann O'Tate

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

I thought she said "If I were a man, no one would care how many partners I had in college". I'm not sure the movie sprung from a contradiction of that statement. Did it?

Christopher
<CHRISTOPHER_DUGUID@acdi-cida.gc.ca>

And if I were a Canadian, you wouldn't care how many quotes I truncated.

Oh, alright, but to paraphrase yet again, I am responsible but not guilty: Though this particular (expanded) quote does not call into question the premise of the movie, the larger point — "If it doesn't matter for a man, it shouldn't matter for a woman" — remains.

And I have to say, of all the defenses of The Contender I've gotten, this is hardly the strongest. It's a little like haggling over the definition of "sex."

Ann O'Tate

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

I enjoyed your article but stumbled when you threw Nietzsche in with Hegel and Hitler. When did Nietzsche get state-happy?

Rob Peneguy
<peneguy@tryc4.com>

He may not have been state-happy, but his view of it did tend toward god-like:

"Genuine philosophers, however, are commanders and legislators: they say, 'thus it shall be!'...With a creative hand they reach for the future, and all that is and has been becomes a means for them, an instrument, a hammer. Their 'knowing' is creating, their creating is a legislation, their will to truth is — will to power." --Beyond Good and Evil, sec. 211

Hope this helps,

Ann O'Tate

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

Subject: Contender/Pretender...

... whatever, many thanks for the excellent anti-Leftie agitprop of Tuesday's piece. One added note, though -- TV's "West Wing" deserved more consideration as being of a piece with the bizarre liberal bloviation of The Contender. Worse, we're exposed to it weekly (along with ongoing proof that Martin Sheen can't act).

rdw
<rward@boardroominsider.com>

I don't know what is going to disappoint you more, Ralph, the fact that I am self-proclaimed "Leftie" myself or that I also enjoy "The West Wing."

It is indicative of the sorry state of American political discourse that any critique of Clinton is presumed to come from the right — or, more broadly, that it is quite literally unimaginable to most Americans that one could abhor Clinton's behavior on terms that are not political but simply rooted in the belief that those in power should have to answer to the same legal and moral authorities that the rest of us do. I am less concerned with the specific sexual encounters that led to his impeachment than I am with the extraordinary steps he took to conceal his actions; more than that, I am less concerned with anything remotely to do with the impeachment scandal than I am with the fact that Clinton sold out the least powerful constituencies of the Democratic Party (by refusing to stand up for the rights of gay servicemen, by chickening out on national healthcare, by eliminating AFDC as an entitlement) in order to rent out the Lincoln bedroom to the most powerful ones.

As for "The West Wing" — it is propaganda, I won't argue with you on that front. But it is extremely far to the left of anything that could possibly represent the Clinton White House, and so on that front I find it a comforting — if escapist — fantasy.

Love and kisses,

Ann O'Tate

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

By the by, DreamWorks did not produce the movie The Contender. They actually purchased a completed film (incidentally, one that apparently only cost $20 mil to make thanks to pay cuts and the like).

So while the asides griping about them "liberal DreamWorks entertainment folks" may be applicable in regards to other movies, with this one you should be griping about them liberal former-film critic indie auteurs who actually wrote and produced the flick.

Jen Bonnell
<JBonnell@penguinputnam.com>

Thanks for the fact-check, Jennifer, I'll make the correction. I do, however, think the connection to S, K, and G is important enough that it should be noted -- especially in light of the enormous amount of money that has gone directly from their well-lined pockets into that of the centrist Democrats who now command the party.

Just FYI:

So far in 2000, the entertainment industry has donated $14,932,681 to the Democrats, of that, Speilberg has given $60,000, while Geffen and Katzenberg have each given over $200,000. Intriguingly, Geffen and Katzenberg also threw a thousand McCain's way. Whether this is genuine non-partisan concern for campaign finance reform or merely covering bets is unclear.

Love,

Ann O'Tate

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

Ann,

Wouldn't it have been easier to simply write:

"Being a Republican Christian who is typical of my kind, intolerant of other's beliefs, one who sides with the moral majority and feels woman's place is in the home, the movie The Contender offended me. I'm holier than thou (as most GOPers feel they are) and more people should be like us god fearing, GOP loving Americans, not like that evil slick Willy. The End." Give me a break!

See, that'd be much simpler than to prance your obvious opinions and biases so long winded in what is usually an entertainment column online. Try some new material, we've been reading shit like this for the past eight years when it comes to the current administration. The first paragraph of your self-serving diatribe told the rest of the story. I didn't care for the movie either but could still write a more interesting piece without it being a personal agenda like yours was. Oooh, you hate Clinton, wow, how refreshing to hear, there's not a lot like you out there Ann but it's nice to see someone so self-sanctimoniously smug about it, that's original!

As far as what twisted Christian Coalition handbook you go to get your constitution, if you check out the official first amendment as it was officially written waaay back when (regardless of whether it was the one for the Senate or Congress, they're pretty much the same) it thankfully still reads: ''Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, . . .'' Sorry Ann, that means any religion, not just yours and not just mine either, thank our respective Gods for that. Our nation was founded to be free from persecution, we're not a nation under one particular god, that myth came about much later by closed minded types who can't deal with they could be wrong. The movie reference you used that Hanson's script read; "not to protect religion from government but to protect our government from religious fanaticism" was a null and void point, but why pick on this one quip when your whole article seemed rather null and was a huge void.

A good writer of expose material keeps their own personal belief cards close to the vest and should write more objective, non-biased prose, guess you're a good writer like John Mclaughlin is a good moderator. them. I thought you were once though, for some reason until recently I look back on the early days and used to think "I miss Ann, especially showing up in Filler as Polly's piss girl." Now I'm thinking, especially in comparison to wonderful, rather unbiased, humorous writers Suck has like Chris Bray, Tim Cavanaugh, Tom Spurgeon, et al, go back to Mother Jones or hey, I hear National Review is hiring your just their (conservative antiquated) speed, or perhaps a speech writer for Pat Buchanan is more up your alley.

PS Isn't Mother Jones a little too "independent" and dare I say "liberal" for a typical paint-by-number blowhard rah rah cheerleader like yourself?

Suckerpunch
<suckerpunch@mindspring.com>

This letter is almost, but not quite, as depressing as the guy who praised my piece because he thought I was a right-winger.

I am not. I am a lefty. If your belief that Clinton represents the opposite of the right is anything to go on, I am probably to the left of you.

I don't like Clinton's politics, it's true — among other things, he has perpetrated some of the most vicious legal assaults on the poor in recent memory — but my distaste for Clinton is based not on my religion (or lack of it) nor on my politics, really, it's based on my belief that the highest office in the land deserves the highest scrutiny, and that we should expect our leaders to uphold the laws that they are charged with enforcing.

As for your constitutional scholarship, I would return to my history book if I were you. The Europeans who settled here(sometimes referred to as the "Fathers of our country") came to North America to escape the state religion of England. Thus the First Amendment was written as a response not to the intrusion of religion upon government but to the use of government to enforce the practice of a particular religion. Now, that is the intent of the thing; like many civil libertarians, I am thankful that the framers of the Constitution built in the kind of flexibility that has allowed modern courts to elaborate upon these freedoms, to extend what Justice Douglas called the "penumbras" that surround the Amendments, "formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance."

My god is not your god,

Ann O'Tate

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 
Public Service Announcement 2000

That was fantastic. I hope Eminem reads your piece.

Yesenia Gutierrez
<YGutierrez@pjc.com>

I hope he does too. I don't think my career at Suck will be complete until somebody busts a cap at me. Anyway, it's enough for me that you liked it.

yrs,

The Boob

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

Must say that is the most scathing review i have ever seen, and i agree 200%.

Jeff
<DRSPOCK1@aol.com>

You can't beat having somebody agree with you 200%. Unfortunately, what I wrote was more along the lines of a panegyric than a scathing review. But I'll take the 200% anyway. You can't have too much agreement.

yrs

The Boob

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

That is the lamest piece of writing I have yet to read, Suck or anywhere else. Eminem is a blight that poisons young minds, and to defend him is to take part in his rape of a generation.

Eric Welch
<ewelch@gia.edu>

Eric,

I didn't defend him. I said he was a great talent, which if you think about is has a lot to do with his popularity. Maybe he is raping a generation, but the victim almost certainly led him on by buying six million of his albums.

yrs

The Boob

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

I enjoyed this article, there is something to be said for being able to expreience the content of this "talent" in written form, as you present it here, without having to listen to it.

thanks,

myron

There is that. Synesthesia works the other way too — you should hear me spit my essays at the Suck Battle-raps. If I could just find a rhyme for Myxpykl...

yrs

The Boob

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

But, see, Eminem sucks ass.

Sure, he's good at freestyling. I'll give him that. He's better'n shit at rhyming (where "shit"="really good"). But the fact remains that it's one of those trained-monkey kind of skills. Anyone who actually has enough interest in it to sit up nights memorizing what rhymes with what could easily be, as the kids say, "one fly ass emmcee". What he does is no more art than someone who's veryveryvery good at making hamburgers. It's just a mechanical skill. Sure, it's easy to knock it since I don't walk it, but really it's kind of a compliment to Our Great Nation — proof that any idiot in America who's full of aimless teenage anger and takes the time to learn a useless skill can make it all the way to the cutting edge of blase mainstream culture.

PS: For further evidence of Eminem's annoyingly average Anger At Everything I cite the thousands of pictures of him flipping off photographers (how original! how soulful! his anger SPEAKS to me!), not to mention the fact that he feels his music is somehow incomplete without sodomizing a blowup doll of his wife.

Jackson Pritt
<Jacksonpritt@cs.com>

Do you know a trained monkey that could write, "Something something something, something I get weeded/My daughter scribbled over that rhyme, I couldn't read it"?

Rhyming may indeed be the lowest and most mechanical of the poet's arts, and the one furthest removed from his or her role as prophet. But it's the foundation of poetry, and no small thing. How many hamburger you ate at the age of three still come back to you every day?

yrs

The Boob

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

Dear BOob,

You give Eminem far too much credit. The only credit he deserves is for being the spokesman for an album with sweet f.a. for content that became popularly successful. Look at Vanilla Ice. He wasn't as media-saavy as Eminem's producers certainly are, for the media were able to find him out and prove him a fraud on his tale of bad-boyness in Miami. Think Eminem's any different?

This is all hype, pure and simple. The reason for his popularity, therefore, falls upon the message: of America's whiteboy culture that secretly wants to be as tight with their friends as gangsta posses are thought to be. Not in Europe, not in Australia, not in Japan do you have the crime rates of aggressive male behaviour — especially sexual assault — as in the United States and Canada. It's a sexually frustrated attitude that lingers in a culture that has been tied down by "religious" family values. There's no respect for women or men in these lyrics b/c Eminem's attempt is to simply whine. Whining means he's doing more feeling than thinking. He's not intelligent; he's ignorant.

As a rapper, KRS-1 is infinitely more popular than Eminem among many intelligent people who like rap b/c he doesn't waste his time rapping about "smacking up bitches." He treats his audience--and his position of influence--with respect, knowing that unhealthy attitudes do nothing to showcase real art. Eminem's rap material, and the way it's been marketed, are to me like the old edge-row houses in the heart of England's industrial north: grey, repetitive, depressing and sub-human. If rape and aggressive sexual contact are the hallmarks of his "successful" rapping career, what does this say about his audience?

Paul Miazga
<paulmiazga@usa.net>

I disagree. Eminem's producer's aren't particularly media-savvy, and in fact no one expected him to get that popular.He seems to have almost complete creative control of his albums, and in fact if he were a pure marketing creation, as you suggest, I doubt there would be tracks on the Marshall Mathers LP like the Insane Clown Posse skit, "Under the Influence," etc. I don't blame hip-hop highbrows for preferring KRS-One or Chuck D to Eminem; hell, even The Boob likes to kick it old-school now and then, and luxuriate in the security of street-sanctified agitprop. But Eminem as millennial Fabian is as misinformed a take as Eminem as Menace II Society. There are lots of white boy rappers. But there's only one real Slim Shady.

yrs

The Boob

 
[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]
 

 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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