for 13 February 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


Carl Steadman


Sean Welch


Lamb to the Slaughter:
Suckster commits verbicide

Steatopygic?... What?

I, and Webster's (the online
version), both draw a blank
on the definition of this
word... can you enlighten us?

Scott C. Hill

Thanks for writing, Scott.

Though the compound adjectives
"lard-butted" or "fat-assed"
might have done the trick, I
chose to go with the less
incivil (and, in this case,
more alliterative)
"steatopygic," from the Greek
"stear" (fat) + "pyge"
(rump). The more
complimentary term in such a
case would be "callipygous"
or "callipygian," meaning
"having well-shaped

Use this knowledge wisely, and
it will serve you well.



It's bad enough I have to look
up 3.1 percent of your
phraseology. But must you use
verbiage not found in my
handy desktop-dictionary?

For instance, please expound
on "infopablum".

Jonathan Kolyer

Thanks for writing, Jonathan.

You're not the only reader
discomfited by my gaseous
phraseology. Now that you
point it out, "infopap" might
have worked even better,
connoting as it does that
sort of premasticated food
most suitable for infants and



You use a lot of big words on
your site. Some of the folks
who read your page do not
know what all the big words
mean! Do you need big words
to say what you mean to say?
Do words mean more when they
are so big? Why not give the
ones who read the site a way
to look up big words? Or stop
using words that are so long,
like I did. Don't folks want
to see a quick, short page
these days so they do not
have to think too much, and
can click to the next place
they need to go?

Carl Tashian

I'm sorry.

I did not mean to make people
so mad at me. I did bad, some
bad thing. I'm so sorry.

I used words to write about
C-SPAN. Big words. Words with
bigness in them. I'm so

I wish I could think up the
big words in my head, but I
am bad, bad with words. I did
try to get help for the words
about C-SPAN. I looked at
some books - books with big
bad words in them. They put
the big bad words in my head.
I'm so sorry. Some think I am
mean. Some think I am dumb.
Some think I am... hold on...
"pree-TEN-chus." This is bad -
I think. I'm so sorry.

Gosh, big words are big
trouble! Small words are
good. Use small words. All of
you use small words. Small
words will make you friends.

Your pal,


Cracked-Up Morons

This is great... I am taking a
lame suck-ass Internet-based
computer course at my local
college, and we (for a
assignment) were to pick any
one WWW site, and review it.
Like, looking for their use
of pictures, frequency of
updates, and general

I (of course) picked good ol'
Suck... my professor (cough)
said in front of the whole
class that my choice was "a
poor choice considering all
the useful data out there,
and you should have picked
something better than a total
waste of bandwidth written by
cracked-up morons"... There's
a good one for you, total
waste of bandwidth,
cracked-up morons...

Just thought I'd let you know
about this one..

Sean Maguire

Actually, we pay Professor
Cough to spread the good news
of Suck in just such a way.
It's called Insidious
Negative PR, and it's
sweeping the nation. Here's
how it works: Leaning heavily
on the Very Cynical Attitude
of today's youth, we pay an
Authority Figure, preferably
a slightly buffoonish one (in
this case, Professor Cough),
to slander us publicly and
ruthlessly. Because we know
that in the context of a
Suck-ass Internet-based
Computer Course,
aforementioned ruthless
slander by Buffoon With
Authority will be immediately
translated into Positive PR
for Suck!

After all, what do you think
each and every one of your
classmates looked for that
night on the web? One of the
countless sites Professor
Cough said contained "useful
data," or the one site he
said was "a total waste of
bandwidth written by
cracked-up morons"?

The commercial world proves it
over and over and over again -
start with a brief
comparison of PBS and Fox TV:
Useful data is all very well
and good, but cracked-up
morons are far more


More Alert Readers Chime In!

From The Feature with 1000 Faces:

What's more, alert readers
will note that Suck has yet
to weigh in with anything
even approximating an insight
on the film itself. What does
that say about us? 

I'd say - as an alert reader -
that Suck is touching upon a
fundamental shift, not just
in the agenda of magazines,
but in the way we all think.

Philosophers have been
wondering whether objectivity
is all it's cracked up to be
for at least 150 years and
journalists, with the idea of
New Journalism, have been
wondering the same thing for
at least the last 20 years -
but the mass media has
continued to present the
(sometimes ludicrous)
façade of objectivity.
It has no choice - without
objectivity how do you
maintain a semblance of
"editorial authority"?

The Internet (even with all
the hoopla about being
"virtual") ironically moves
the question away from the
realm of the abstract and the
optional towards the realm of
the actual and inevitable.
There is no objective space
any longer.

"I don't miss it much at

A. Lert
Adelaide, Australia (an
Odwalla-free zone)

BTW Who'd have thought that a
parody of the way magazines
treat a blockbuster film
would lead to philosophy?
Wish I had the time to really
think this through...

* credit - line in a Tom Petty

Well, we'd have to double back
and admit that, although
occupying an objective space
may be impossible, it
certainly doesn't hurt to
try. Otherwise, we're all
just free fallin'.*

* credit - line in a Tom Petty


Lamb to the Slaughter

Maybe you would rather hear
about your right to free
speech be taken away on the
show Hard Copy than C-SPAN.
Do you even know what C-SPAN
stands for? The Cable
Satellite Public Affairs
Network. What in the world do
you want from them, Mayor
McCheese detailing Trent
Lott's address to the

It is the viewers who want
unbiased reporting on issues
and Brian Lamb responded in
kind with an outlet for the
viewing public. A network not
devoted to one corporation or
the other, nor affiliated to
any ideological stripe. It
might be boring to most, but
to people who tend to think,
it is a sorely needed


David Boyer

Thanks for your letter, David
- but given that I watch a
lot of C-SPAN, you letter
frankly puzzles me. I've
never even once seen
programming on C-SPAN that
addresses the issue of free
speech with the moral gravity
it deserves; instead, I've
seen our elected
representatives and a variety
of well-groomed corporate
journalists shilling for a
non-existent "vital center."
When truly remarkable
intellects do show up (Tom
Frank was the example I used,
but you may like somebody
else), their message is
usually diluted by the
amateurish aesthetic C-SPAN
wears as a badge of honor.

Portentous acronym aside
(after all, I could call
myself GOD [Glorious Orator
of the Day] and get away with
it) C-SPAN adequately
performs a badly needed
public service. But don't kid
yourself with that "not
devoted to one corporation"
stuff. Tell you what: Go to, read Brian Lamb's
talk at the National Press
, and then tell me he's
not "affiliated to any
ideological stripe." Besides,
not being affiliated is the
same as... being affiliated
to nothing.

Which was my point.



Color Me Sucky

I was checking out your site
at, and I
noticed that the colors suck.
In particular, your HTML
source reads

<body bgcolor=#ffffff>

Alert readers will note that
while you've selected a
lovely shade of white for the
background, there is no
specification for the actual
text. I can only assume that
you consider the background
to contain more vital
information that the actual
text on your page, since you
care enough about that to
give it a color, but have no
room in the file for the poor
text. On the other hand,
perhaps you actually wanted
people to read the text, in
which case you've made a
basic beginner's error, and
I'm just a wee bit
disappointed in you. I am
willing to point out that the
fix for this takes about 15
keystrokes and 10 seconds.
Feel free to send email if
you wish more detailed
technical information.

It's heartening to know that
there are some alert readers
out there. And you're right -
we do consider background
more important than text,
just as the beery haze, loud
music, and smoky fumes of a
bar are far more important
than any of the conversations
occuring therein.

We only wonder what color
you've chosen for your
default text... white,
perhaps? Good thinking! And
congratulations! You're
experiencing Suck like no one
else can.