The Fish

for 9 January 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Joey Anuff


Terry Colon
Art Director


Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


T. Jay Fowler
Production Editor


Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


Owen Thomas
Copy Editor

Whatever happened to the
snarky comments of "Vacuum"?
Now that things are Fishy in
the letters column, things
are fishy in the letters
column! It's boring! Not even
remotely amusing. Look - you
missed a perfectly good
chance to Slate-bash this
morning... and yesterday's
comment about using Windows
3.1 in a 640x480 screen was
just begging to be sucked. Or
are you too afraid that Billy
G. won't advertise on suck

P.S. A sucker since the
no-frames, no-ads 1.0 days...
And they plan to let me out
of the asylum soon!

Jurgen Schaub

Well, naturally the only
people truly committed to
Suck since the early days
have been committed. Do they
change your nappies daily, or
is that uncomfortable wetness
the cause of this misguided
rant against a column that
was born a mere two days ago?
Excuse us if we haven't
caught our pace straight out
of the Gates... uh... Oh, to
hell with it. You all know by
now that we're Bill's
personal piss boys, why try
to hide it?

That last "too afraid" comment
flashed us back to the
schoolyard... The dim-witted
kids had this taunt... how
did it go? "What - are you
chicken or something?
Chicken!! Bock! Bock!
Chicken!" It's clear you
underestimate the bravery of
corporate whores.

But thanks for the memories.
Rest assured that we'll
continue to abuse as we see


In the many months that I have
been reading you guys, this
is the first time it came to
be Noon (EST) of the Next Day
and I didn't see a new Suck
for today. Did the office
blow up, are you having a
power outage, or did you guys
just oversleep?

For months, I have been
impressed at how I could log
in any weekday and the new
Suck would always be there.
This impressed me because I
know you guys are on the left
coast, and I'm 3 hours ahead
of you. I could only conclude
that you did the work
(writing, research on links,
illos, and HTML) the day
before (if not earlier), and
had some piss bot link the
new page to
sometime in the wee hours
PST, before any of us Yankees
had gotten up to milk the

Today I came to work with
bated breath. The first day
of Filler under the New
Format! Out-of-context
quotes, snobby quizzes, and
silly two-parameter charts
from Polly! Goofy cartoon
strips from Terry! That
lovable, madcap Smoking Gun
saying "What the fuck is this

Instead, it's me saying "What
the fuck is this shit?" The
late Uncle Carl was one of my
childhood heroes, but why is
he on the main Suck page a
second day? And, gee, it says
it was updated 7 January

Has all your hardware been
stolen? Are you shut into
your homes due to flooding,
and unable to log in
remotely? Did you all wake up
with crippling RSI? Does your
bot have bots? Did the Big
One finally send everything
west of the San Andreas into
the sea? Could it be that
your puppetmasters at Wired
have finally cut the strings,
and all of you are lying limp
and crumpled on the floor?

No Suck! You can hear the
fabric of the Universe
rending. Hell, I may have to
work today!

Give me this day my daily

(Gee - I hope you guys are all right.)

EJBarnes <>

It's funny that you should
mention milking the chickens.

We're absolutely fine. There
were some technical problems,
nothing to worry your sweet
little head about. Some
swearing, a few broken
bones... just post-holiday
stress coming to the surface.
We have a counselor coming in
later today to help us
workshop any residual
feelings of inadequacy or
hair-trigger murderous rage,
so don't think twice about

Thanks for caring enough to
ask. (Sniff.)


Man oh man, where did you get
these ideas? See, the actual
idea was to call yourselves
Suck, but not to actually
suck (despite anything that
you might have written to the

I'm afraid what you have done
is to self-reference
yourselves into a
(self-sucking?) site.

Ok. here it is...

Graphics = great

Bottom frame = (God, with a
border no less!!!!! You think
everyone uses DOS fer cripes
sake???) LOSE IT!! Put it
back on the side damnit!

Hey, I have to admit, my site
doesn't get referenced by the
media or cool site of the day
or any of that, but YOU guys
should know better....

Sorry, but if I didn't love
ya, I wouldn't write ya....

Miles Baskett III

Actually, the whole point of
this was to create a site
design that sucked more and
more and more, just to see if
enough posturing and
damage-control PR and
consistent content would save
our asses despite the obvious
fact that the site hurts
people visually. Just wait
until we get that hot pink
background in there...
That'll be the real test.

And so far, we seem to be
getting away with it! Except
for an occasional
clear-headed genius like
yourself, no one seems to
even care, and the ones who
do seem to forgive us our
trespasses almost


i like what you write, or
perhaps more importantly, how
you write it. your
reorganisation seems to be a
BIG improvement. but i didn't
really know what suck was
about before The Change. and
I still don't now.

your "department" headings
(fish, etc) are rather
obscure. and there's no "this
is what we're all about"
section; only a section about
"this is how we've changed."
(changed from what?)

so all suckster-style
mysteriousness aside:

a. what's the story with suck

b. i HATE being online. is
there any easy way to
download or collate or trawl
together a weekly "bundle" of
"what's new and worth
reading" at suck (yes, with
the ads if need be) each
week, or month, or whatever?

at worst, I could trace all
the links from one "table of
contents" page, if I could
even find a weekly table of
contents page without too
many extraneous links.

at best, look how slate does
it: i) web site; ii) weekly
issue downloadable on demand;
iii) even email delivery.

ploddingly yours,
ckp <>


Suck is a soapbox for media
junkies who hate media, and a
disproof-of-concept for
networked publishing. We do
that thing we do every day,
we never throw away our
trash, and sometimes we talk
to strangers. We'd rather you
waste an hour on the weekends
at our site than use
Freeloader to do the work for
you, but we're not that
finicky about the way we're
used, when you get right down
to it.

As for TOCs, Slate, and other
ease-of-use concerns, it
sounds like you'd prefer a
print version. Unfortunately,
there are no cheap servers
for that sort of
distribution. And besides, we
hate being online, too, which
is why it makes perfect sense
for us all to be here.


Does Suck Alumni status
suggest that the Duke and Ian
Flaming have departed for a
new "opportunity?" Or are
they sitting back and letting
cash roll in without doing
any work?

Keep up the Good Suck...

Colin Campbell


Aside from the minor case of
mistaken identity ("Duke" has
yet to shake his Suck
Producer title, though Carl
"Webster, Dunderhead, Nemo,
et al." Steadman has, by and
large, flown the coop), your
intuition serves you well.
Both Carl and Sean have
secured positions as
professional saboteurs within
the HotWired Complex, though
both have been known to be
lured back every now and
again by the sweet siren song
of inscrutable "projects"
demanding late nights,
thankless toil, and midnight
bickering. There's no place
like home, etc.


I enjoyed the 1/7/97 piece on
Carl Sagan and the space
, but was surprised by
your line about how "... 11
brave Americans lost their
lives on Challenger when it
exploded shortly after launch
11 years ago."

11? Were Gilligan, the
Skipper, and those @#*!!
Howells stowed away somewhere
aboard? Seven, Suck. Seven
Astronauts, eleven years ago.
Just think 7-11; it's the
perfect mnemonic device.

Shawn Metcalf


Actually, we were initially
under the mistaken impression
that the ill-fated mission
included Reed Richards,
Benjamin J. Grimm, Sue
Richards and Johnny Storm.
But that turned out to be
another disaster entirely,
and the victims didn't
actually die, they were just
badly sunburnt. We apologize
for the confusion.

Some comments on the "new,
improved" Suck:

Moving the ads to the bottom,
instead of the side, was a
bad move. Because you use a
narrow column, the side space
that you used to use for them
was otherwise wasted screen
real estate, so they were
harmless there. In their new
location, they take away
valuable reading area. Try it
on a Windows system at
640x480. Miserable, no?

You've made nice use of Terry
Colon's graphics in the new
version. Good move; they're
one of the better things
about Suck.

Pitch was getting tired,
anyway. The first few were
good, but you seemed to be
running out of ideas. Time to
"pitch" it.

The new feature of "other
articles by" the author of
the one you're reading is

The Random Filler Generator (I
got "Error processing this
directive") and Random Hit
and Run Generator
(got a
screen with graphics and
stuff, but no Hit and Run
items) don't seem to work
yet. [Fixed -Ed.]


Mark J. Dulcey <>


I'm not really suprised at the
reduction in content of your
site. It was taking too long
to read each day, anyways.
Hopefully you can now focus
on quality Suck, rather than
quantity Suck.

I am going to bitch about the
ad banner, however. It's in
the way!

I suppose I'm a stodgy
conservative when it comes to
HTML, but I like my ad
banners flush left, where
they don't get in the way of
my reading.

And where do you get off
calling my Suck membership
card "inane"? It's adhered
with pride on the side of my

David Sparks



Filler is broken. And I tried
to click on your ad links to
make it appear that I give a
rat's ass, but the URL
redirector is broken as well.
Heartache! Dismay! Suckage!

Arlie Davis


To those with concerns
concerning the new Suck: We,
too, are concerned with the
problems and errors and are
currently concerning
ourselves with fixing them.

As for format criticisms,
suffice it to say that we're
ear. It's nice to know you
care enough to gripe, and, as
always, nothing is set in
stone, so stay tuned and
hopefully someday Suck will
please all of the people all
of the time. Until then, know
that we are listening - with
a child's mixture of
gratitude and resentment. But
like any clever brat, we'll
figure our shit out



Speed Reading Between the
by St. Huck

A couple of cross references,
if I could only remember
them. Oh well.

Recent novel called Feersum
(ie, Fearsome Engine,
spelled phonetically); big
chunks are written in a
unique phonetic spelling that
cannot be speed read, forcing
you to read it slowly.

Short story, long time ago, by
god knows who; Vonnegut? Ted
Sturgeon? A famous writer,
massively pissed off by speed
readers who took 3 minutes to
read something he'd labored
over for months, uttered his
"famous complaint": Fuck
them. I write slow. He then
procedes to respace all his
writing (ie, he pr oce des
tores paceal lhisw rit ing)
absolutely forcing the reader
to slow down enough to
actually think about what is
being read.

In fairness, 90% of what is
being published today should
be read at 1500 words per
second, since it has the
information density of
television. But was ever

The new format is every bit as
intelligible as the old



It's true that if we all
remembered to speed-read People and
Vanity Fair, we'd have more
time to savor Really Good
Writing. Instead, we end up
reading the latest Mona
Simpson novel and the back of
a Fruit Roll-Ups box with
about the same intensity. But
then, we're not exactly known
for our discriminating
tastes, are we?




Carl Steadman


Sean Welch