The Fish
for 29 April 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 
Suck Staff
 

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Producer

 

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
Co-Founder

 

Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch
Suckgineer

 

Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor

Rant Rant

Subject: The daily rant rants
about rants.

Suck's smartass sensibility
could easily be held to blame
for the defanging of the
rant. Streaming onto
computers with their daily
rants, Microsoft commercials,
and assorted diatribes, their
persona remains unchanged - a
self-involved Slate with a
thesaurus, firing off endless
references to names of books,
movies, and TV programs, so
that Web geeks can feel good
about how hip they are.

Keep it up.

-Tim Hall
<tjh@world.std.com>

Thanks for the compliments,
Tim, but aren't you
overstating our influence
just a tad? We couldn't
defang the rant if we tried,
and lord, how we've tried!
And while you may take our
pop-cultural references as an
inside joke at best, a slight
at worst, we'd suggest you're
not reading enough books,
going to enough movies, or
watching enough TV. Any fool
can see that we're
shamelessly media-obsessed -
if you're not, then what are
you doing here?

Stick around.

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Suck: Bolstering Web-Geek
Self-Esteem Since 1995.

Hans -

You had a good thing going
there, popping the pretty
balloons of childish
new-media clichés with
your sharp bright pin. I am
awed, humbled, and want an
ice cream.

But then you had to go and
drop the biggest rant
cliché of all: Telling
us how many hits "rant"
generates on a popular search
engine. Why, Hans, why?

That's the webzine version of
what's called Definitis (in
the forthcoming issue of
NameTag: A Magazine about
Thinking about Thinking about
Starting a Magazine
(An
Ersatz Publication)). To wit:

Definitis: The disorder that
impels blocked writers to
consecrate column inches to
the dictionary definition(s)
of a chosen topic, usu. for
the purpose of demonstrating
how very different The Real
World is from its dry,
lexicographical counterpart.
The last recourse of a
scoundrelly college student,
groping for a term paper
lead. EX: Webster's New World
Dictionary provides the
following definitions of
fetish: [...] Webster's has
it wrong. Melissa De La Cruz,
Gook Fetish NYPress
(3/12-18/97)

Just wanted to put my two
shits in.

Unswervingly yours,

Sam Pratt ("Ersatz" at Suck)

Dear Ersatz/Sam,

The number of hits for "rant"
on a search engine was
included solely to support
this silly argument, thereby
demonstrating the vast
overuse and subsequent
meaninglessness of the word
in the online world. If in
fact I had been experiencing
writer's block, I would have
resorted to more drastic
measures, such as making up a
term and then including a
dictionary definition of it,
a technique occasionally used
by scoundrelly college
students groping for a lead
to begin their term papers.

Rodeo

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Misc.

Subject: Dennis Miller markup
language

http://www.blairlake.com/
dmiller/bin/dm_routine.cgi

John Muth
<jmuth@psyche.ovid.com>

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

New Media Jobs

So,

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
dinner?

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
it.

Jason Pellerin
<jmpeller@facstaff.wisc.edu>

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
Perspective!

 
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
sense.

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.

Adios,
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
überteenager?

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
 

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