The Fish
for 4 December 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


[Joey Anuff]
Joey Anuff

[Go to the Suck Alumni page]
Geekquake, or, I Hear America Whining

Nice article. Another recent "upgrade" was migration of all email accounts to The swap was less than flawless.

J Peters

And you'd think they'd change that tagline to something more apropos than "Before you buy." Something like, "After we're gone."

Hope you weren't inconvenienced by the changeover. Now I'm worried about what's going to happen to all those Deja Communities like The Paper Clip Benders Club!, and Drink Your Way... To Real Estate Success.



[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Nice piece, but the aspect of the "misplaced" usenet archives that you sadly didn't mention is the gargantuan sigh of relief rattling through the nation as millions of us who said or did something stupid in a newsgroup way back when realize we may be off the hook. I strongly suspect that if the matter were put to a vote by everyone who was posting regularly on Usenet at that time, the vast majority would vote to keep the archives "lost." Even if it meant the loss of something particularly well composed, most would make that sacrifice if the particularly idiotic post was expunged as well. Just an observation.

The people for whom usenet is life are a sad minority. The majority would be happy to let that ugly record drift away into the ether.


Dear Peupli,

I didn't mention any Big Sigh because I can't hear one. May I say, your sense of shame is remarkable, and well-earned, I'm sure. However in my experience people who make idiots of themselves in newsgroups are only too pleased to provide jollies for each other, now or in the future. They just don't care about what they once said.

They don't really care about what you once said, either, unless it was when you were recommending SCSI controllers or brothels in Hua-Hin (tsk, tsk, Peupli!) Speaking as a semi-recovering paranoid, one very upsetting realization was that the source of all my dread about someone finding out stuff about me was more of a sad little hope someone actually gave a crap about me or what I think than anything to do with reality.

The good part is that when someone actually does give a crap about what I say, it makes me even happier to reply.

Thanks for the note,

Hulk Snead

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

There She Is: The Most Resented Woman In America

You were 50% right on the Pageant not being evil or stupid. It may not be Evil, but it sure is stupid. What your piece conveyed to me is just how much the Pageant is like a science-fiction convention: sure, there's relatively well-adjusted folks there to share their love of the genre, but then there are the freakshow geeks. That is to say, both the elderly erstwhile chaperone clinging to thirteenth-rate fame and the socially retarded thirteen-year-old are both cards dealt from the same deck. The major difference is that a sci-fi con generally has no hotties around. On the other hand, cons do have this advantage: they don't grade the attendees the same way they do the Herefords at the Union Stockyard.

Yours in beauty,


Sci-fi conventions always have costume contests, don't they? I'm sure the Xena with the biggest boobies always wins.

I used to make fun of comic/sci-fi con attendees mercilessly in my comic book drawing days, in a desperate attempt to disassociate myself from "them."

It's a never-ending, circular argument though, putting down people because of what they're into. Somebody somewhere is sure to think we're "retarded" because of what we like. That's why I don't find beauty pageants is inherently stupid anymore. It's like, whatever, man!


Peter Bagge

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

I'm surprised you didn't delve deeper into the social effects(or sumthn' — 'scuse my poor english) of the Miss America thingie. In the end you just kind of reported the facts of your trip, and that was it. "But it isn't evil OR stupid..." Come on MAAAAN!(duh huh huh)Where's your spirit?! Well, seriously, I would have thought you'd have a lot more to say about it. Hmm, whaddaya know, I'm kind of disappointed.

JM, Finland

If it stuck me as evil or stupid while I was there I most certainly would have reported that "scoop" to the people of Suckland. But it didn't. The pageant felt more like a club of hobbyists than anything else.

Peter Bagge

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Dear Mr. Bagge,

I'll get right to it.

I got a little sick and tired of people making fun of women who are lucky enough and who work hard enough to be pretty a long time ago. They shouldn't be penalized for being pretty. Unfortunately, there is always this conflict between the pretties and the non-pretties and it's not pretty. Maureen Dowd made an ass of herself earlier this year in going after Anna Kournikova the way she did. If any woman in the world says they wouldn't like to look like Anna Kournikova, they're lying. And let's face it. Mothers have a whole lot to do with little girls learning very early how important it is to be pretty. As in the morning when you're dressed for school and you come in for breakfast and Mom says, "Oh honey you look so pretty today." They hardly ever say, "Oh honey you seem so much smarter than you did yesterday." So I guess we can't blame men for that, even tho it would be nice.

Mary Q of S

Yes, stop blaming men! Especially since straight men are a virtual non-factor in these pageants.

You can still blame us for wars, though.

Peter Bagge

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

As one of the cynical crowd, I was really surprised by the even-handedness of your review. While I probably will never watch the Miss America pageant, I will consider changing my opinion. One question: what happened to Miss North Dakota? I gathered from the article that she was a relatively normal person in the midst of a very un-normal situation. Is it possible that you might do a follow up on some of the people you interviewed?

On another note: Hey, Suck! Give Peter Bagge a raise! He's the best writer you've got along with Polly Esther! Make it a big raise! Hell, give 'em both raise!

Albert A. Freeman

I think Suck should give Albert A. Freeman a raise as well! And I'm all in favor of doing a follow-up of some of the contestants if the top sucksters are into it. The New Yorker did that very thing recently with a former Miss New York that was very interesting, even though the writer made a very vain attempt at hiding her disdain for her subject (much to the delight of The New Yorker's readers, I'm sure).

Peter Bagge

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

"Female domination appears to be the rule in your typical beauty pageant household, in spite of the reactionary appearance of the pageants themselves."

I really enjoyed your article but found the above phrase sexist. I don't care about the pageant either but I don't know too many guys who would be good at that sort of thing, getting their daughters ready for a pageant. Of course it's "dominated" by women. And of course the guys seem to be "benign" and "supportive". Haven't you ever seen a man out shopping with a woman for clothes? They are bored. Duh. But they aren't going to complain because it would be rude. Just like a woman doing something with a man, that she doesn't really care about but does it because it means a lot to the man.

Instead of thinking the domineering is some sort of contest between men and women why don't you adjust your attitude and realize women are people, too. The pageants are probably the way they are because of women who have been DOMINEERED by men for forever and don't know any better than to be a woman as they know womanhood to be. Which has been mainly dictated to them from men. So they believe a woman needs to be beautiful in the way that they were taught about beauty. Or that women should look good in a bathingsuit or whatever. But the thing is, there is nothing wrong with something being female dominated. And as a matter of fact the world might be a better place if more things were female "domineered".

Cindy Larason

You are absolutely correct about the husband's boredom. I didn't mean to suggest this was a bad thing, though. I was just trying to paint a picture of what the family dynamics were like behind the scenes, and how they contrast sharply with what you see on stage.

But then you get carried away. None of these contestants or their moms struck me as anyone's fools, or were coerced into taking part in this thing (except for maybe some of the dads), which I tried hard to get across in this article. Your belief that pageants exist mainly because we men "taught" women that beauty is all that matters suggests that your fellow females are all spineless puppets with no will of their own. Some women really and truly like this stuff. No brainwashing or "dictating" was or is necessary.

Peter Bagge

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Wooh! What a bunch of crap!

I personally didn't waste my time watching the "pageant". The fact that YOU "DID" makes you pretty sick, considering all you had to say.

Also, the fact that I took MY valuable time to see 'what you had to say" about it, makes ME pretty sick...... nauseous, in fact. I was just looking for some "entertainment" — boy, was I surprised.

Don't you have something better to do with your time?

I mean, I was just "surfing" when I ran across your crap stuff; hard to believe you do it for a living (?????????????????).

Get a life!


What do you think I SHOULD be doing for a living?

Peter Bagge

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

You comments on the Miss America thing were dead on...

I had to tell you though: last year's Miss America, Heather French recently married that "pudgy, balding, middle-aged doctor" fiance of hers, Steve Henry. I don't know if you knew this (or care) but he is also Lt. Governor of Kentucky and, short of some political scandal — of the sort that the hiring of an assistant for his new wife might cause, as it did — is poised to be our next Governor.

Phyllis George did the same thing, marrying John Y. Brown, owner (at the time) of a majority interest in Kentucky Fried Chicken, and they went on to live in the Governor's Mansion. And today they are divorced and she hawks pre-prepared chicken dinners ("Chicken, by George"). Lovely...

Patrick - Lexington, KY


I had heard that former beauty queens and governors of your state have a tradition of marrying each other, but I didn't know Heather French was a part of it. How humble of her to make her future hubby out to be just a simple country doctor!

She's a very slick talker though, Miss French is. I could easily see her hosting Good Morning America one of these days.

Peter Bagge

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

 The Shit
Physical Strength and How to Obtain It, by Eugen Sandow
Bamboozled, A Spectacular New Film by Mr. Spike Lee
G. Beato's all-new Soundbitten
William Demarest, Sultan of Snarl, in The Lady Eve (1941), The Palm Beach Story (1942), and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
George Wallace: Settin' The Woods On Fire, directed by Daniel McCabe and Paul Stekler
Bobby Darin, Darin at the Copa (Atlantic)
Shinji-San in the floating world of indeterminate duration, by Peter Richardson
American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation, by Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor
Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1996, Merge)
45, by Bill Drummond
Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards, Singing in the Rain (ASV)
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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