The Fish
for 6 February 2001. 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]
Will Work For Love Gifts, Tips

I wrote about this for Reason; what you didn't mention, which I think is quite relevant, is that the churchmen insist — and the IRS, with its usual thickheadedeness, absolutely refused to comment so I couldn't get their side of the story — that all the taxes owed were paid all legal and proper-like by the individuals receiving the "love gifts" and that dozens of audits of church ministers ended up with none of them owing anything. Again, this may be bullshit, but it's worth mentioning.

Also worth mentioning, just cause it's pretty fucking funny, is that their website identifies Indianapolis as the "syphilis capital of the world"


You're right, that is how they structured their argument. I don't know if you'd agree or not, but I got the sense one can track the evolution of that argument from when it was first made into the crux of their public defense: a stance that the IRS wasn't interested in taxes owed but in the controlling mechanism of withholding income and prepayments. If nothing else, it's an interesting argument for what it reveals about the rhetorical flexibility of the church membership. Also, I believe young Pastor Dixon was indicted for non-payment, which kind of scotches things.

As for the slogan, I can't tell you how disappointed I am civic leaders have gone with the "Amateur Sports Capital" designation.


40th Street Black

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Hi, Mr. or Ms. Black —

I enjoyed your article on the unique breeding ground of silliness that is the Indiana Protestant splinter movement (or movements, as the case may be). First the Jack Chick comics, then the refusal to pay taxes, then comes the poison Flav-R-Ade. Luckily, nobody will miss a bunch of Hoosier ninnies — unless, of course, they're all slaughtered in a government-sponsored firestorm. Which will not be financed by their taxes, since they won't pay any.


Rebecca Bowen

Hi, Rebecca.

Maybe they could make money for ammunition to firebomb religious compounds its own checkable box on our tax forms?

40th Street Black

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

40th Street Black,

Thanks for the IBT story. It probably chagrins libertarians and militia members everywhere that the government didn't charge into the church, guns a-blazing, when the 600 congregants were gathered, awaiting a Waco-esque apocalypse.

You really pinned the butterfly to the wall with this one, esp. when you made the point that the whole legal process has legitimatized IBT's struggle in some way. In our media driven society, it's not what the facts are but how you spin it. Thank God some of us are cutting through the bullshit. (I also like the irony of IBT seeking relief from a government that it doesn't believe has authority over it. Oh nellie.)

Brian Mahoney

Hi, Brian.

I agree with everything you wrote. The DIY impulse is so strong in the American heartland, we probably shouldn't be surprised when people start applying it to the Apocalypse.

People organized futile but defiant protests with the benefit of rallying the faithful, running the risk of wider political destabilization the last time a Bush was president, too.

40th Street Black

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

WAP, Bam, No Thank You, Ma'am

THAT is how prose is supposed to be. If I was a verizon or sprint pcs share holder with enough clout I would make those donkey-loving infrastructure-wasting service-wrecking fools read your article every time they even considered a new service initiative on their cells.

One thing you did forget to savagely dehumanize is the constant drumbeat of yammering that flows from media outlets about how Japan and Finland are so ahead of us on the wireless internet curve, reported in the tone of "Well, Finland has the aids vaccine and we don't even have a proper box of kleenex here in America. This is Jenny Bumsticker from Helsinki." I hope we never catch up. Just like Japan was going to finish our economy in the 80s and the Europeans were going to teach the world just how flawlessly socialism would overcome the human condition.

Hurrah for suck!!!

John Siminoff

It's a question of national priorities, I think. For instance, while Japan has "video-capable cell phones," we have "an economy." While Finland has "a vibrant, wired youth culture," we have "the complete lack of awareness of what lutefisk is, save on 'A Prairie Home Companion.'" Each nation picks what it finds important.

For instance, five years ago, I went to Greece on my honeymoon and was astonished to discover that not only did every pay phone in the country have a digital display that could be toggled between Greek and English, but they all took rechargeable smart cards. This, in the same nation that had signs in its sadly comical "international airport" asking visitors to deposit their used toilet paper in the trash, so as not to fill up the septic tank. This is clearly a different sent of priorities than in the US, where toilets take precedence over a modern communications infrastructure. And rightly so, if you ask me.

Greg Knauss

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

you had a rant about WAP...what about imode...another useless web-on-phone protocol..used by almost no one...totally impractical..except to tens of millions of japanese...

Eugene Koontz

Not, personally, being tens of millions of Japanese, I'm not qualified to comment on i-Mode. But its technology could consist entirely of little characters painted on a block of wood and be better than WAP.

Greg Knauss

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Well, someone had to point out the threadbare condition of the emperor's wardrobe, and you did it quite well. I especially liked the barb about the letters not even kerning well.

Given the pointlessness and general idiocy of this particular technology's intended uses, one is forced to ask why all this money is being spent. The obvious answer, I fear, is the same reason that a dog licks his balls: because he can. To a man with a hammer, it all looks like a nail; to a man with bandwidth, it all looks like an Internet.

My favorite example is the Scandinavian usage in which one can pay for a soda from a vending machine with your cell phone. And indeed you can...just as you can use your cell phone to open walnuts. It's just not the ideal tool. A better tool for getting soda from a machine is a credit card, a debit card, an value- storage smart card (great technology that may forever be just around the corner), or even — tahdah! — money. But yumpin yimminy we've got all these phones and we'll use them, we will.

Nice article.

Alan Kornheiser

I fear you're exactly right. Just every conceivable business appeared in some Web-based incarnation a few years ago, simply because they could — Furniture? Over the Net? No, seriously, did somebody actually try that? — so it will go with WAP. Sensible or not, you'll soon find people trying to do things with their phones that violate both the laws of God and man, simply because they can. And a few years after that, these people will start awake, look embarrassed and move on to the next shiny, techy thing that distracts them. Invest now.

Greg Knauss

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

[Contacting Us]
[Contributors Index]

 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.
[The Smoking Gun] [Net.Moguls]