The Fish
for 28 April 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


T. Jay (the man) Fowler
T. Jay Fowler
Production Manager
& Ass Kicker


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman


Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch


Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor

New Media Jobs


If new media unemployment is
so ("way"?) prevalent, and
everybody knows it, then why
do half the letters in your
letter column read like
covert job applications?
"Please, like, hire me, dude,
because my prose is like,
wicked ironic, man!"- maybe
they don't say it in so many
words, but isn't this the age
of subtext? If, to steal a
joke from you-know-who, the
food is all so bad, and the
portions so small, why does
everyone want to come to

Of course it's clear what
you're really up to. These
columns are just sneaky
attempts to wave the poor
sheep away from the wolves.
Working for Suck may seem
hopelessly cool, you're
telling them, but think of
your 401(k). Can't come right
out and say it, though;
wouldn't want to blow that
world-weary indie cred with a
show of genuine concern for
the waiter-but-I'm-really-
an-actor crowd of the
late '90s. ("I work in a
coffee shop but I'm really a
columnist for Salon!") But
all the sarcasm in the world
can't hide the fact that you
care. You really, really do.

I know, I know. Pot, kettle,
black in re: "my prose is
like, wicked ironic". So sue
me - working for Suck DOES
seem hopelessly cool, because
who wouldn't want to be snide
for a living? Though I wonder
if, like being assigned to
read a good book in high
school English class, it might
not take all the fun out of

Jason Pellerin

Um, it's not like English
class at all, see, because we
get paid. Also, there's no
teacher. There's an editor,
and she acts like a teacher
sometimes, but she's pretty
young, so we can kick her ass
with ease. Actually, the
thing that's the most
annoying about the snide
slant is not adopting it in
our writing (for most of us
it's impossible not to write
with a scoffing tone - sad,
isn't it?), but seeing it
adopted by "my prose is like,
wicked ironic" readers.

Such readers are generally
college students from places
far, far away from San
Francisco, hence their
undying interest in New Media
jobs, which are actually few
and far between. But don't be
mistaken, we're the first to
lead sheep to slaughter.
Besides, recent college
graduates should suffer
through a series of horrible
jobs. It helps them recognize
a good job when they have
one. All it takes is a few
years as an office assistant
or a production assistant or
an assistant's assistant to
instill an appreciative
attitude towards jobs that
aren't complete torture.

As for New Media, the food is
bad, the portions are small,
but we can wear our sweats to
the restaurant, and we don't
have to mind our manners, and
the hostess slips us a few 20
spots on our way out. Nice
work if you can get it.

A Very Young Person's

Fish With Letter Icon

Now, you may consider this
obvious, as you have a
10-year head start on me
(assuming you're 27, I don't
know your ages), and so
you've had more time to think
about things. This idea just
popped in my head, though, a
result of MSNBC being on in
the background, specifically
their "get only the news you
want" commercial.

For a long time now, people
have commented that The News
is not really news, it is
simply a form of
entertainment based
(sometimes extremely loosely)
on real-life events. There is
now even more proof of this
in push media's "get only the
news you want" slogans.

If The News were actually
considered world events and
information that we needed to
know, in order to make
decisions that steer the fate
of the planet, then we would
receive The News whether we
"want" to or not. Such is the
importance of knowledge. In
this News Utopia, push
media's slogans would make no

Push Media's cutting up of the
news is like a Christian
cutting up the Bible - why
not just take the parts that
make you feel good, as Philip
K. Dick bitterly suggested to
his friend in Valis, and
leave out the stuff you don't
like? You can't do this. When
The News (or The Good News)
is important, you have to
accept it all.

In a world where the news is
simply entertainment, though,
and thus extraneous to our
decision-making, push media's
slogans *do* make sense.
Should I watch ABC's
primetime lineup or NBC's?
United States/Clinton or
Israel/Netanyahu? Push
collators are in this world
arbiters of taste. It's too
bad The Pitch is gone; the
most successful push media
firm will stop hiding behind
the pretense of informing the
public and serve its true
purpose of entertaining it:
The biggest explosions, the
worst crises, hell let's
convert that "unshowable"
half-hour of footage of the
bank robbery to Vivo
streaming video. Hmm ... I
see a mission statement for
Fox News looming.

Anyway, these are just my
first thoughts. Like Umberto
Eco said, it never occurs to
the person that speaks his
first thoughts that what he
says is by definition
obvious, and thus has already
gone through the minds of
everyone else. I felt
compelled to write.

Valis Luminoso

"It was as if a salesman had
been placed between Americans
and life." - Earl Shorris

Thanks for the thoughtful
comments. Unfortunately, we
got hung up on the first line
and couldn't concentrate for
the rest of the letter. Let's
get this straight: You're 17
years old? How is it possible
to be quoting Umberto Eco
when you're 17?

We would attack you for being
so precocious (you certainly
relished telling us your
age), except you threw in
that lovable self-deprecating
disclaimer about these being
your first little wobbly
steps in thinking about the
subject (which seems boring
in comparison to you as a
case study). Most teenagers
who put themselves forth as
thinkers have a much more
naively holier-than-thou
tone. What's going on here?
Are you some kind of

Or are we so divorced from our
own pasts and so completely
out of touch with age groups
younger and older than our
own that we haven't the
foggiest conception of
someone below the age of 20
having a brain? We'd better
start reading all the news,
not just some of it for
entertainment purposes. We'd
better start reading, period.

In the meantime we'll console
ourselves with the fact that
you can't buy yourself a
drink. And you deserve one,
too! Naa-naa!

Fish With Letter Icon

Running on Empty

OK, while I did not
necessarily agree with all of
your comments ... I happen to
like a lot of reruns -
including, since you didn't
mention them, Taxi, Mary
Tyler Moore, Cheers,
and for
some unknown reason (perhaps
because it is force-fed at 6
p.m. and 7 p.m. EST on Fox)
Tool Time, or whatever the
hell that Tim Allen sitcom is
called. I would be very happy -
ecstatic, in fact - at the
prospect of never having to
leave my apartment (since
food delivery is not a
problem in NYC), if only
Nick's spinoff station, TV
Land, were available through
Time Warner Cable Manhattan.
But my point is, while I did
not agree with most of what
you said - excepting anything
you said relating to Lucy,
Three's Company,
and The
Dukes of Hazzard
- I found
your column extremely funny.
As fall-down funny as I still
find Carlton the Doorman. But
perhaps I shouldn't say
"still." You see, I did not
watch most of these reruns
when they were on the air. I
really did not start watching
TV until a few years ago -
prior to that I did not have
access to a remote control
that was not already in use.
Maybe this is why I find
these shows funny, I watch
them now as they must have
been seen when they were
prime time.

Anyway, I just had one
question. I have seen that
very special episode of
Family Ties - once, years
ago, when I was home sick
from school and my mother was
kind and placed a TV in my
room to keep me occupied so I
wouldn't demand more soup or
orange juice or chocolate
cake (weird desire I always
endure when I am sick), I
watched what seemed to be a
Family Ties marathon. But
perhaps that is only because
any amount of Justine Bateman
seems interminable. Back to
the point: I watched the
best-friend-death episode and
I have spent the last 10
years or so believing it was
Skippy, the next door
neighbor, who died. Please,
this is going to bug me for
days, please, was it Skippy
or was it really some
fictional best friend?

That's it. Thanks a lot.

Jenna Hibner

Dear Manhattan Shut-In:

Alas, it was not Skippy, but a
dyed-in-the-wool fictional
best friend whose name at
present escapes me. Skippy
hung in there, in to the
bitter end of Family Ties, and
is doubtless scrounging for
change and turning tricks on
the corner of Hollywood and

As long as you're writing for
psychological aid (and
responding to Web screeds is
a surer cry for help than
yelling Help), I might
suggest that the reason you
enjoy reruns is precisely
because they are not reruns
for you. Trust me, the
1,000th time you see Latka on
Taxi go, "Scoodobya?" Mary
Richards' lower lip tremble,
Cliff split his pants on
Cheers, or Tim Allen plug in
a whackily dysfunctional
appliance on Home
the bloom will
be off the rose.

Get out more. And watch more
first-run TV.

Cordially, von Humboldt

Fish With Letter Icon

Repeat the Ending



I forgot to add: They can
tattoo this on our collective
asses, although it will not
persuade us to shop in their
stores, drive in their cars,
consume their beverages, or
have sex in their hotels. We
are the age range impervious
to the sting of the
advertising bee. Our teflon
exteriors repel the toasted
cereals flung at us and the
microcrap poured on us.

So, keep on trying (or should
I say wasting your poorly
spent money), Madison Avenue,
with ad campaigns that fly
past us with the speed of a
Box Car Willy CD on fast

Peace my Sister,

P.S. If you would like a
companion to join you as you
report on Burning Man this
year, I would like to apply.

References and
résumé upon


David Chamberlin

I usually know I've managed to
miss my mark whenever
responses to an article
assume anything other than a
cautiously combative
stance. Requests for photos,
private email, or a date all
indicate I've either waxed
hopelessly earnest or was
just completely wrong.
Getting asked out to Burning
Man obviously means I've hit
a new low as a Suck columnist
and should probably hang up
my hat.

I am, however, intrigued by
the concept of
cereal-resistant teflon
exteriors. Is this a new line
from North Face or just an
epidermal anomaly?
Specifically, how would I go
about getting one? I find
myself surrounded by flakes
on an almost daily basis.

Snap, crackle, pop,


Fish With Letter Icon

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