for 16 January 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 


Joey Anuff
Producer

 


Terry Colon
Art Director

 


Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor

 


T. Jay Fowler
Production Editor

 


Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor

 


Owen Thomas
Copy Editor


Culture of Complaint.com

In response to Tuesday's Suck
about web geeks and their
"horrible" working
conditions, I say this: You
should hear the geeks whine
when they're forced to work
with nongeeks.

A friend of mine, a brilliant
programmer with an artistic
sensibility that makes his
web designs truly inspiring
recently took a job as a
systems facilitator - he
keeps the server from
crashing. He tells me stories
of his "inept and
incompetent" coworkers who,
when he is doing important
system stuff, come to him and
ask him to fix the microphone
feature on their Macs. He
looks at them disparagingly
and asks, "Do you really want
me to stop doing what I'm
doing - maintaining the
system, pulling off all of
the infected files you idiots
download from the net,
cleaning up your messes like
you were all incontinent old
fools - so that I can go fix
your microphone? So you can
hear your little fucking
talking moose? I'll do it,
but I just want to make sure
that that's what you want me
to do for you instead of
doing the things that keep
you in your job."

By that time, of course, the
coworker has backed out the
door, whimpering softly,
turning to run to his boss as
soon as my friend stops his
rant. The boss chastises the
coworker for bothering "the
computer guy" when he is busy
doing "computer stuff." And,
because no one but him knows
what the hell is going on, he
rules his domain (pun
intended).

The moral: If you want a happy
geek, bury him in a bomb
shelter with pizza and a
computer. If you want a whiny
geek, make him work at
Microsoft. If you want a geek
who verges on megalomania
because of his frustration
and general weirdness,
mainstream him into society
at large and watch the sparks
fly.

 

While a few, if not all, of us
are certainly guilty of
megalomania, at least a few
of us find this particular
species of geek-
as-condescending-tyrant
more than mildly chafing.
[Three words: pot, kettle,
black. - ed.]
Granted, it
can't be easy being
interrupted 50 times a day
for any reason, let alone to
"troubleshoot" some basic
setting or option most
fourth-graders today have a
handle on, but why should we
learn all that crap about
computers when these
winky-dinks get paid to
handle them for us?

 
 

thanks for your well-aimed dis
of the pathetic angst of web
kvetchers and the even more
pathetic comparison of
themselves to sweatshoppers.

want some really depressing
work life? try being a single
parent with two - or more -
jobs. these web designers who
think they're in such dire
straits because they don't
get paid enough to create
decent (or even lame) content
are a disgrace.

hard work is its own reward if
you like what you do. if you
don't like creating websites,
go pull lattes or serve
martinis, but stop taking up
our bandwidth with your
shameless self-absorption and
whining.

btw, sorry about the e.e.
cummings style, but i'm
feeding my baby with one hand
so i can't hit the shift key.

suck on, brothers & sisters,
jody lentz
<jody@background-us.com>

 

Babies change everything,
don't they? (Hold it - we
don't even want to know. Not
yet.)

But then, you have to be
indignant about whiners if
you're gonna be a mother,
right? Otherwise, what - ?
You're sitting around
affirming every one of your
brat's complaints, until he
or she grows up with an
indignant sense of
entitlement that makes for
the perfect yuppie tool.

It's good to hear that at
least someone out there isn't
raising yuppie tools. Suck
on, Baby Lentz!

 
 

Odwalla

Hi - I live in Australia.
Where can I get Odwalla??

I need to know.

G.C. Beaton
<writers@eastend.com.au>

 

Well, as you may know, we love
answering questions
completely unrelated to Suck,
so you've come to the right
people.

News Flash: Odwalla is fresh
fruit juice. Short of flying
over and up and down and
under on a daily basis, you
can only get it here, on the
West Coast of the U.S., where
health-obsessed
juice-snarfers frolic
blissfully.

Prediction: Soon, you'll be
able to get fresh juice
wherever you are right now,
just as long as a whole bunch
of you Aussies get a
hankering for it. That's
called "demand," and where
there's a "demand," there's
also a "supply" - of
Raspberry Smoothies, that is.

Advice: Send us more mail,
please, with more questions
completely unrelated to Suck.
Who wants to talk about Suck,
anyway? Isn't it getting old
yet? Who, on God's green
earth, could possibly give a
crap about Suck anymore,
aside from the handful of
losers who work there?
Please, more random
questions. We probably don't
know, but guessing is fun,
and it takes up column
space!

 
 

Green Machine

Very interesting and amusing -
but a lot of what you say can
be applied to any kind of,
shall we say, "entertainment
chain." They thrive on
mediocrity of every sort.
Take Blockbuster or any of
the CD chains - no one there
has any real knowledge of the
product, and at $4.25 an hour
why should they? Ask one of
those Blockbuster goons for
Mishima, and they'll direct
you to the Kung Fu section.
Ask for Sunday Bloody Sunday
and you'll be directed to the
Horror section. Or The Dead,
which is usually filed under
spooky. Go to Sam Goody's and
ask for Otis Redding and some
17-year-old moron will say
"Is he a new guy or an old
guy?"

Rodney Welch
<RWelch@scjob.sces.org>

 

But what would an
entertainment chain be
without a value chain? If
mediocrity is the principle
passion of the middling
masses, then that makes it a
valuable thing, indeed. And
being massively middling
ourselves, we just sit back
and take it over and over
again, preferably with one of
those nifty microwave buckets
o' popcorn and a pack of
Twizzlers.

 
 

The Fish

After a week of reading the
new fiSh coLumn, I think I
finAlly geT it: you kEep
toSsing new Letters ATop thE
old Stuff, Like A composT
hEap... Seems Like A Trend
Emerging. What'S next -
abandon your repeatedLy
delAyed plans for charging
subscripTion fEes?

greg allen
<gallen@echonyc.com>

 

Yup, you've mastered our
unique letters logic. A team
of experts are en route from
Redmond at this very moment
to help us accomplish the
same with yours.

 
 

Suck 3.0

Wait a minute! What's this
mealymouth in today's Fish
about needing the
bottom-feeding horizontal ad
pane because of the kind of
ads you need to put up?

In all the days, before and
after the change in format,
that I have looked at Suck, I
have yet to see an ad that
wasn't SQUARE.

In case you were asleep in
high school geometry class (I
was, too, but somehow this
came through subliminally
when all the Pythagorean
proofs turned to vapor),
horizontal vs. vertical is
all the same to a square.

E.J. Barnes
barbix@tiac.net

 

Like we said - and this
applies not only to EJ but
each and every other square
fetishist out there - enjoy
those blocks while they last.
234 by 60, that's our ticket
out of this taco stand!

 
 

I noticed the cookie set on
the page opener and I accept
it every time. But I think to
myself, why don't you just
fucking ask me what you want
to know? I dig my suck, I
don't even consider it a
waste of time - and it's
FREE. So you bet your sweet
ass I would take 30 seconds
to fill out a survey of info
for you to help attract
advertisers to keep you in
business. Throw a survey up
there, tell people why it's
there and I bet you will be
surprised at how many
suckster fans are willing to
help out.

Brian R. Knapp
webmaster@putnam.com

 

Such candor! It's
inspirational, really. We're
almost sorry to have to
disappoint you, but we really
know a bit too much about
Suck's readership already.
Having tired of clocking
stats, we've turned over the
daily reporting of traffic,
domains, hourly breakdowns,
popular referrers, the whole
enchilada to the Dilberts at
HotWired. Who promptly
installed the latest version
of Apache, which defaults to
cookies aplenty. Which we're
pretty sure are being used to
do pretty much the same thing -
track traffic patterns.
Patterns. As in, not
individual users. If this
still bugs anyone, well,
PGPCookie.cutter should be
available any day now, for
only $19.95...

 
 

Thinking Outside the Mailbox

 

An impressive list, but you
neglected to mention The
Witty News Analysis Email.
Every second person with an
email account is a Bill Maher
manqué (if that term
is not a tautology), leaping
at the chance to make an
Uproarious Gloss on the Wacky
News of the Day. The Analysis
Email might be a deliciously
kooky theory about TWA 800 or
a zanily fictitious
development in one of the OJ
cases, but it's always a big
steaming pile of comedy, a
veritable swirly of mirth.

Don't know about you, but I've
already counted about 20
different emails written in
(or offering translation
programs for) Ebonics. This
trend offers stunning proof
of two points:

1) Emailers can spin endless
non-variations on a theme.

2) Whitey will
enthusiastically seize any
possible excuse to employ a
Stepin Fetchit voice.

Yr. Pal,

Tim Cavanaugh
<tac@sirius.com>

You're quite right about the
propensity to spin endless
non-variations on a theme...
Ironically enough [ugh -
ed.]
, this week's Filler
dabbles in this
non-variations-on-a-theme
theme in a shameless
pandering for cheap laughs.
Nothing new there.

Although we prefer to refer to
Ebonics as "jive-ology,"
since we're all butt-white
here, we have to
enthusiastically agree that
Caucasians do seem hell-bent
on speaking jive as much as
humanly possible, and also
rather enjoy referring to
other white people as
lily-white, as if our love of
Dr. Dre saves us from being
tagged as 100 percent,
full-on cracker white. We're
just so damn square that
we'll take a small slice of
some of that funky stuff
every chance we get. For more
big laughs, see The New York
Times' piece on gangsta
slang, including such
classics as "keepin' it real"
with the example ("He shaved
his head to show he was
keepin' it real.") lifted
straight from Whitey classic
Clueless.

White people are such losers.

 
 

Suck 3.0

 

When Suck 2.0 came out, I
wrote in and said that it was
"an abortion"... and also
said that "maybe over the
next few weeks I'll grow into
someone who likes it."

Well, I soon became even MORE
annoyed, because I did grow
to like Suck 2.0... you
bastards had stolen the gift
of bitterness from me.

Now you present Suck 3.0...
and I find that I like it,
right off the bat. What does
this mean? Will karmic
balance be restored by my
soon growing to loath it? One
can only hope... err... or
something.

In the spirit of making Suck
into an abortion again, you
might try giving the readers
exactly what they want (hey,
it works for democratic
governments).

On that note, suggestions for
your to-do list:

1) Keep up the crack
references. My friends and I
would have even less to
discuss without inane
third-hand references to a
drug our white-bread
middle-class asses have never
seen, let alone used.

2) Continue to mock those
posers who feel compelled to
tell you in letters that
they've been reading Suck
since the early days. Their
desperate attempt at getting
a bit of indie cred is really
annoying to those of us
who've been reading Suck
since the first week or
so.... not that THIS is an
attempt at cred-grabbing, you
understand...

3) More columns that give a
taxonomy of stupid behavior
that we all engage in. Your
"kinds of crushes" and more
recent "thinking outside the
mailbox" missives were dead
on target. I look forward to
reading "different kinds of
manager weenies," "different
political rants enountered at
the lunch table," "different
crack-smoking affectations,"
"different lame puns using
the word 'suck,'" etc.

I have more suggestions, but I
find that they're all of as
poor quality as those that
I've already written, so I'll
spare you further pain.
Kevorkian-eqsuely yours,

Travis J.I. Corcoran
<Travis-Corcoran@deshaw.com>

 

Okay, there's definitely an
irresistibly ironic [Stop it
with that word! - ed.]
theme
going on here, something
about illogical
one-upmanship. Whitey thinks
he's better than Whitey
because he pretends he smokes
crack and Whitey doesn't.
Zoinks.

And then there's this
indie-cred thing. People who
mention that they were
reading Suck since the early
days sicken those who've been
reading Suck since Day One?
Sounds like the old "I was
listening to The Police way
before anyone else was!"
Yeah, sure, a lot of people
were listening to The Police
long before the pre-teens
discovered them.

We understand you were being
ironic [Ouch! Ouch! - ed.]
about these things yourself,
but isn't it all so mundane,
so repetitive, so incredibly
pathetic? How's that for a
taxonomy of stupid behavior?
[Make sure we get that Prozac
prescription renewed, pronto.
-ed.]

 
 

Seriously...

Pleeze pleeze pleeeeeeze put
the ad links back on the
side.

End the pain.

End the suffering.

Remember when you were (are)
young and you said to
yourself "I just want to have
an effect on the world some
day... hopefully a positive
one." Well now's your change.
Go! Do It! Now!

Matt <matt.calkins@attws.com>

 

So you say you hate Suck's new
ads? Wondering how
out-of-touch we'd have to be
to plop a extra-wide diaper
on our long-legged layout?
Well, we can't make you like
it, and, worse, we can't make
ourselves like it, but it
bears mentioning that our
inscrutable designs were not
generated ex nihilo - there's
a method to our sadness.

The keyword is IAB. It stands
for Internet Advertising
Bureau, and it represents an
ad hoc committee of
advertising professionals
who've cooperated to create
what purport to be
"guidelines" but actually
function as de facto
standards for the shapes and
sizes of web ad banners.
Glide through a few dozen
sites on the web right now,
and you're likely to find
hundreds of variations on
size specs - they may all
look vaguely alike, but they
tend to be based on arbitrary
sizes set by the sites'
producers.

This makes for a major ass-end
pain for advertisers, who end
up having to custom-create
ads for every site they
contract with. The IAB
standards, which are quickly
being adopted by every
survival-minded ad-supported
website, unclutter the
drawing board. Nailing us
right where it counts, most
of the proposed sizes are
horizontally oriented,
leaving us with no option but
to cut into our holy writs.
Yup - you've noticed the same
scheme on other sites, and
we're here to tell you that
crack-pipe-huffing designers
are not the source of the
web's woes; they're simply
the messengers.

So, the bad news is that ads
in a side-frame can't happen,
at least not without severely
compromising Suck's spanking
new Jetsons-on-Ritalin
design. The good news is that
the bottom-frame ads will
soon be halved, reduced to 60
innocuous pixels, a twitching
paean to our newfound
knee-padded conformity. Real
soon.

 
 

 
 

 


Carl Steadman
Co-Founder

 


Sean Welch
Suckgineer