for 5 March 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck usually hyperlinks everything. However y'all forgot to mention that the song "I Have the Password to Your Shell Account" which was mentioned in the Napster Sleeps with the Fishes section is by a DC band called Barcelona. Their website is here. The band is made up of tech workers (geeks) and if/when Napster dies, you will be able to get Barcelona MP3s from the Barcelona site. Woohoo
But, y'see, linking to a site where you can get the song for free without using Napster would have undermined the point of the article. Suck isn't so much about "journalism" or "accurate and complete information transfer" or "telling the truth," as it is about "winning an argument." If reality gets in the way of that, well, I can do without it.
Suck.com, as a player in the aforementioned heydays, writes from an inside perspective. Sure they miss it. I almost can't blame them. But as someone who watched the rise and fall of the web from afar, all I can say is, "What the heck were you thinking?" You really did think this would last forever, didn't you? In spite of its tone and its condemnation of free pet food, this essay is proof that the dot- commers STILL don't understand what went wrong.
I wonder what the web will be like once the banner ad companies go belly up?
Silly boy. Everybody knows what went wrong: a whole bunch of companies starting vomiting cash. That's not the sort of thing you can keep up for very long really! give it a try! and anyone who can perform simple subtraction or has a historical awareness that stretches back farther than 1995 knows that. If you're evolved enough to sport a spinal column, then you knew that the consensual hallucination was going to end, and end badly.
But "why" or "when" weren't the point of the article. We were simply mourning the loss of the "what." Free money! Free food! Free music! Free software! And in certain, happy cases, free sex! Who cares where they came from? Who cares how long they could last? Just enjoy them while they're here, buck-o, and miss 'em when they're gone.
One freebie the Sucksters forgot to mention was good ol' Demon Rum. Sure, there was a nod to launch party liquor usually plentiful and leaning toward the girlie end of the alcoholic spectrum: flavored vodkas and white wines, but free nonetheless--but what really set dot-com culture apart was all the booze one could guzzle down during the work day. Boy, did we ever drink a lot. If we weren't sneaking beers at the bar around the corner during "strategy conferences," we were smoking pot on the roof and soaking down the cottonmouth with the beer that made Milwaukee and sometimes Latrobe famous. And lunch ... hoo boy! Let's just say that if you take three hours out of the day for a meal, some of the time is going to be given over to sweet, sweet booze. In a way, the dot-com thing reminded me of my Grandparents' generation... or old episodes of Bewitched. Lunch for Gramps and the rest of the "Greatest Generation" consisted of a spate of hard liquor, a fatty hunk of beef and a romp with the secretary before the 7:15 train back to Cheever Country. Whenever trouble raised its hoary head, be it the loss of the big Hammersmith account stupid fucking Darrin Stephens! or the advent of some weird and startling hallucination, deliverance could be found in the lower right-hand corner desk drawer. O booze: balm of the soul, salve of the psyche... Hmmm. Come to think of it, maybe this being fucked up all the time may have had something to do with why the company went under.
Then what's Suck still doing around? Huh, Mister Smart Man? Answer me that.
Um, Suck still is around isn't it? I've been on a bender this week.
Kinda weird, ain't it, that the Web-free-for-all economy originated in SF just about the same time that other free-for-all (but boy does it cost you) event, Burning Man, was approaching its zenith. Yeah, Burning Man is free, except for the ticket price (angel investors), and all your gear (first-round funding) and costumes (second round) and all those nifty designer drugs (mezzanine round); and then, when the high has worn off (cancelled IPO), and you find yourself, sunburned, burned-out, and slightly anxious, you look back and think, "Woah. What a great time."
But you still have to clean up that damn muddy RV, and most of what you bought for the Playa went onto your credit cards.
Plus, there's the VD shot to get, so that pretty much completes the metaphor.
These comments and more can be found on Plastic.
Defending James Lipton
Homer Simpson (one of my favorite actors) driving the car recklessly is upbraided by his wife Marge. Homer explains his haste: "But F. Murray Abraham is on Inside the Actor's Studio tonight! F. Murray Abraham, Marge!"
Didn't realize that Lipton had written that Exultation of Larks books. If we speak of a pride of lions maybe we ought to speak of a shame of critics. I liked your essay, because it pointed out that the really adversarial interviewing approach when dealing with that twenty minutes a reporter usually gets in the company of an actor is not necessarily going to yield better results than being civil to them. Movies may not be what they used to be what is? but even though the writing, directing, music scoring and even the color seems to be getting worse, the level of acting is, as you pointed out, usually good. For every fortune-favored Sly or Keanu there's a couple of thousand less recognizable names who try their best to bring life to badly-written pieces.
Richard Von Busack
Thank you for taking the time to send a note. Abraham is just asking for it with that "F", isn't he?
I'm not sure if acting is better now than it used to be as much as I believe that in post-Brando acting circles there's a certain integrity of effort, from top to bottom, that shames most other professions. If actors did their work the way I've approached various desk jobs I've had in my lifetime, every motion picture would be the end credits from Cannonball Run.
40th Street Black
Good story, I've always wondered why people have been so intent on picking on James Lipton. Beyond a certain group of middle age Bravo viewers Lipton will never be more relevant than Jared Foggle, Subway's favorite binger.
One particularly funny instance that I did see him in was when he was interviewing Ben Affleck and was so desperate to present his limited career as a profound undertaking that he was asking Affleck about his motivation in some commercials that he had done. Affleck looked at him incredulously, and remarked that Lipton was obviously grasping at straws (much to the delight of the audience).
I think that this is indicative of his primary function in the entertainment industry; James Lipton is the man who takes Matthew Broderick or model turned actor Affleck as seriously as he takes James Caan or Christopher Walken. And as pompous as he seems it's obvious how glad he is to be there.
Thanks for your note. I missed the Affleck show, but I've seen the Lee Grant episode 13 times.
I think we're on the exact same wavelength. It occurs to me that even if someone were to despise Lipton's approach for the reason that it reinforces our culture's unwillingness and inability to distinguish between celebrities and artists, they'd have to thank Lipton for staying on such an even keel that distinctions between the relative seriousness and articulate nature of his guests can be made. The whole damn show is a standardized list of questions, if you stop and think about it.
And I bet he's happy to be there. I was trying to figure out how old Ahmad Rashad was this weekend, because my life has come to that, and it occurred to me that judging from those soap opera dates Lipton is like 143 years old. Well, probably half that. But still, too old to run for president. Other than the rare reality-based game show and 60 Minutes, TV doesn't break too many elder statesman public personalities. That's a great gig, and no doubt a cross-section of his critics are people who have their own battery of questions to ask Val Kilmer.
40th Street Black
I read the piece and let me tell you something, Mister. I enjoyed it. You hit on Jim's real talent. By gushing in bits, he actually gets people to do one of two things:
1) Be comfortable or
2) Proclaim their real reasons for acting well in the scene "Aw, geez, no, Jim it's because I had a nail in my shoe that I was crying."
Anyways... the one point I'd add is that there's no apostrophe in Actors Studio.
Like Finnegans Wake. :)
Jeremy - Researcher, Inside the Actors Studio
Thank you for the note, and thank you for finally explaining my C+ in English 203.
40th Street Black