for 25 January 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run 01.18.01
Thanks for shooting down Traffic. I wrote a more or less similar review for our alt-weekly (metropulse.com, y'all -- Knoxville, Tennessee), and our arts editor promptly got an angry call from the PR company that had arranged our press screening (and taken out big ads in our paper). "But this film is going to be nominated for Best Picture!" the flack spluttered. Yes, yes, it is. It might even win. But it's still a bad fusion of The French Connection, Reefer Madness, and an after-school special. (Courtesy of the guys who brought us "thirtysomething," so really, what do you expect?) Anyway, I was feelin' mighty lonely in my disenchantment until I read your piece.
Also, one of our other contributors is executive producer of "City Confidential" on A&E, and he was, to put it mildly, very happy with your recent write-up. He said something like, "Finally, somebody got it!" So thanks for getting it.
Jesse Fox Mayshark Knoxville, TN
Thanks for your kind words, Jesse. Good to hear from the folks in Knoxville, or as City Confidential's Paul Winfield would call it, "Knoxville: a neighborly town perched at the headwaters of the Tennessee river, the kind of place where a weekend getaway may involve cheering for the University of Tennessee Vols, taking a nature walk at Cades Cove, or boating on one of the 'Great Lakes' in the shadow of the Smokey Mountains... But a different kind of shadow was about to fall on Knoxville, and this once-friendly berg was headed for a rendezvous with murder..."
I thot TRAFFIC sucked too. The glittering reviews for it are incredulous. Has none of these people ever done any drugs? Apparently, not.
I've smoked crack and done cocaine but I don't end up sleeping with my dealer.
You can read two reviews of it here.
The first is mine and the second is Motel Todd's.
Can you give us your dealer's number? He sounds like a really reasonable business guy!
Hi. I don't know where you guys are getting your info, but that bit about allowing in high school drop-outs for the first time since WWII is way off base. I dropped out of high school just before the end of the 11th grade in 1975, and was in the Army 10 days later. I had a lot of company in the post-Vietnam volunteer Army. And in 1980, the year I came back in, there was a huge deal in the media about the fact that just over 50 percent of new recruits had scored in mental category 4 (the zone just above moron). I was stationed in a training unit that year, and I can assure you diplomas were optional.
Allowing in only high school grads is a relatively recent phenomenon for the Army, one I believe was made possible only by the fact the drawdown. Even then, I knew recruiters who told me there were waivers to be had for promising people (those who scored well on the tests) without the diploma. As a high school drop out who got his GED, his BA and his MA while in the Army, I've always been for letting in drop outs. Wading through all the required years of a public education doesn't seem to me to be a wonderful predictor of success in the military. If it did, our officer corps would be perfect, and I don't think they're there yet.
I'm also forced to wonder if you really understand the nature of articles in publications like the "Army Logistician." I could go into that quite a bit (I was a journalist at Fort Eustis, the Army transportation center), but let's just say that for various reasons, I believe Gen. Shinseki (sp?) has a better grasp on the possibilities than you give him credit for. Besides, one of the fundamental parts of leadership in the military is to get people to achieve a vision they thought was impossible. It happens all the time. In fact, I was around logisticians during Desert Storm, and they were quite proud of how they were able to move a hell of a lot more stuff a hell of lot more quickly than the official doctrine (written by people like the colonel who wrote that article) said was possible. Doing the impossible is what the Yanks in the American Army have been famous for your decades, if not centuries. Ask around. Look it up.
Anyway, it was a thought-provoking article.
Maybe you're right about the high school part. I just remember helping some guy I worked with do his written Army aptitude test. There were some toughies on there: There were a couple "How many times would you have to fold this shape to make a cube" questions and some "X number of people got off the bus at the next stop" riddles. Nothing about the friction coefficient of 18th century troops relative to 20th century troops, strangely enough.
As for that doing-the-impossible business, I think any manager will agree that defying possibility is not the kind of thing a smart leader plans for.
We get the picture you and some other high-profile humor/commentary/news/whatever sites slashdotted together a new blog. Quit hitting us over the head with it! Get back to the regular programming (or are we to assume we're only halfway through "Whore Plastic Week"?). Any news on procuring the rights to that line from the "The Graduate?"
Maybe I'm just jealous we didn't get an invite to the party... Sniff. Later.
Assuming that you heard of plastic.com from a news release, were you angry that Joey didn't invite you along that you aren't "one of the smartest"?
My older sister was valedictorian of her class in high school, and I had a teacher who liked to say that between me, my older sister, and my older brother, my older brother was clearly the smartest. My father was a professor of Economics, and he used to tell us my mom was a lot smarter than him. So, um, I'm pretty comfortable with not being one of the smartest. It was not my job, in my family, to be smart. It was my job to be funny, and fun, and easy-going.
Which is why I'm such a bitter jerk.
That makes no sense. But you know, it was never my job to make sense.
Rarely do I get one (much less two) references in Filler that send me down the dewy paths of memory lane, but you accomplished it this week. As much as I have tried to block it out, the profane tot featured in Filler took me back to my formative years in rural Alabama while also recalling an ex-girlfriend who once spent an evening high as a kite reading penthouse forum to a friend of hers while wearing false teeth. (Ih thoopht thif woulb neber haphfen do mee....) Is there a point to all this? Sadly, no. But thanks for making me recall not one but two really horrific times in my life!
P.S. Is Joey going to stop pimping Plastic on Suck anytime soon?
Your exgirlfriend sounds great. Why did you two break up again? I can't remember.
Joey IS a pimp. Why else do you think he owns that baby blue tuxedo?
Lauded Lady Polly,
Your article today was brilliant in its exposition of the fundamental rule of polite polity: it is boring! A great thought or two nourishes the soul and warms the heart, but too much profundity, like too many sweets, leaves ya cloyed and puking at the kerb.
Nature though, abhors having too much in one place, just as she abhors a vacuum. If a community becomes sufficiently deep for sufficiently long, some of its participants will mutate into very intelligent idiots. Soon people are debating the literary merits of 'Stick your dick in a Coke', vs 'Put your penis in a Pepsi', and balance is restored.
This can be illustrated by Suck itself. The first couple days of the week we see brilliant, profound and incisive articles on the affairs of the day. If, on Wednesday, we faced yet another article on the failure of US foreign policy, most folks would get bored and wander off. Instead we have your demi-ego, a bong, a giant rabbit, and a a weeks' dose of bitterness. By assenting to idiocy, you redeem not only yourself, but those about you who dare not assume the role themselves.
I could elucidate further, but overwhelmed by my own genius, my thoughts turn to what work of scatology I can perform today. Perhaps a photo spread for my new Coke campaign...
Ah yes. Polly: She's stupid, so you don't have to be.
Nine-inch blue-vein thumpers prefer Squirt.
Charismatic and dexterous, but not all that smart,
i guess i've never wondered about who ELSE is reading your writing. i went to *plastic.com* and read what some people had to say about this week's Filler. the whole thing is sort of nauseating. i'm not sure if i'll be able to read your columns anymore, and im genuinely, slightly, saddened by that. well, maybe i could still read it but it would become an act of half-assed asceticism at that point.
how do you do it?
I know it's depressing to see that you're not the only person on the planet. I had a theory, when I was little, that maybe the whole world was around just for my benefit. You know, everyone was just "acting", and the whole deal was set up just to test me, to see if I'd make the right decisions. Would I choose the path of righteousness, or stray over to the dark side of the Force? I was raised Catholic, remember.
Imagine my disappointment when I concluded not only that the world wasn't formed and maintained for my benefit, but that I wasn't the only one who'd had this notion. In fact, the vast majority of people had had it at one point or another.
Since then I've been writing from my perspective and assuming that everyone shares it. When I realize the extent to which everyone shares it, it's pretty nauseating, and I'm slightly saddened by it. Then, eventually, I get over it. You will, too. After all, what act isn't somewhat half-assed, in this world, when you think about it?
See, you agree with that, don't you? You are not alone.
Sad, isn't it?
I guess you can choose to stop reading Filler, since the other people who read Filler aren't nearly as special as you would like to think you are, but then, this kind of thinking can really make you isolated and alienated and disconnected from the world on principle. Principles that keep you in your superior bubble can't be good principles, can they? I mean, look what they did to me.
Unprincipled and inferior, but no longer nauseated,
I started reading your columns back in '97 and I still find you the most relevant. You speak in the same voice I do. It's so Good to hear. Keep it alive. Remember, it takes a pierced tongue and a sweet heart...
The most relevant? Of the ass monkeys?
I speak in the same voice as you do, huh? Well, then I'm even less original than I thought. I feel sick...
You're right about one thing, though. It does take a sweetheart. One with a firm ass who'll cook my hamburger medium well and have it ready in time to watch the Golden Globes.
Ass monkey, that funky monkey,