The Fish
for 2 May 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

Very Palpable Hit

Usually you're a bit over this
shaggy grey head, and I was
starting to drift away, but
again a particular citation
woke me up (it was like this:
MAYAKOVSKY- blah-blah).

I don't like poetry. Whatever
it was that Mayakovsky wrote -
that's what I like.
"Mayak," by the way, means
beacon, or lighthouse.
Accident of birth, or
self-fulfilling prophesy?

Also, just thought I'd mention
that, for Mayakovsky, the
words "reclama"
(advertisement) and
"propaganda" were
interchangeable. Certainly,
he believed revolution could
be promoted just like any
commodity. Then, 30 years
after his death, "reclama"
was used to denote an ad for
a product, like frozen fish
sticks produced by state
co-op Excelsior. Sure,
Soviets had commercials -
just like the US Postal
Service has ads that urge you
to buy more stamps. However,
the word "propaganda" was by
now interchangeable with the
words "news" and
"information" (Pravda was the
Soviet Communist Party's
"organ of propaganda" - it
said so right in the
masthead). There was a
difference, however, between
"our propaganda" (the truth)
and "their propaganda"
(propaganda). And this was
10, 20 years before 1984.

One last thing before you doze
off - the Hit and Run
mentioning Mayakovsky was
published on 24 April, just
10 days after the 67th
anniversary of Mayakovsky's
death. On 14 April 1930,
disillusioned with the regime
he made so many compelling
commercials for, Mayakovsky
pressed a gun against his
ribs and demolished his heart
with a bullet.

Now, if only all ad agencies
felt personally accountable
for the effects of their


Thanks for your informative
letter, Greg. We definitely
appreciate readers who pick
up the more subtle
references, and who can tell
us a thing or two to boot. I
came to read Mayakovsky by
working backwards from Frank
O'Hara and Kenneth Koch, but
greatly treasure my
three-volume Progress
Publishers edition of VM's
work. (They're pretty painful
translations, actually.)

While we're swapping stories,
I'll tell you my personal
favorite about the abuse of
Russian Constructivist
design: Back in 1990 or '91,
the Graphis Design Annual
featured the cover of a
Warner Brothers in-house
magazine called (I think)
Passages. Some fiendish soul
had taken El Lissitzky's
Krasnom Klinom B'elykh B'ei
(Beat the Whites with the Red
Wedge) - easily one of the
single most recognized images
in Constructivist art - and
adapted it to look like a
record player, with the
Bolshevik red wedge now
doubling as a tone arm.

The joke would be totally lost
on folks now, of course,
since not too many remember
what a tone arm is. As for
me, I'm off to play Red Army
Chorus records on my box

- LeTeXan

Fish With Letter Icon


You forgot "Let's Give Them
Something to Stalk About" for
the made-for-TV movie about a
rabid Bonnie Raitt stalker.
After suffering years of
abuse from his
white-streak-at- the-temple
mother, the stalker turns to
the music of Bonnie Raitt for
continued abuse. After his
girlfriend, Tori Amos,
refuses to bleach a streak in
her hair, the infuriated
stalker goes after the only
woman who can still hurt him.
He finds Bonnie's home and
stands outside, holding his
boom box over his head with
"I Can't Make You Love Me if
You Don't" blasting through
the dewy night. His sentence
includes participation in an
acting workshop led by John

Margot Patrick

Wow. Have you thought about
pitching movie treatments for
a living?

P.S. John Cusack doesn't have
to act. He can just be. He's
that likable.

Fish With Letter Icon

A Very Palpable Hit

Excuse me, but doesn't your
article refute itself? Most
of what we need to know about
Life and Art and Stuff can be
found in Shakespeare, and
here in scenic NYC (if not in
Eden-on-the-Bay) we can find
a pretty good production of
something other than Hamlet
almost every week. (Two
productions of Cymbeline this
year, both fine. Go figure.)
We don't really have to keep
up with TooNewMusic ... lots
of Bach available; Johnathan
Miller's recent production of
the St. Matthew Passion had
more honest angst in it than
all of Seattle. I haven't had
time to read The Kiss, since
the local Barnes & Noble
has, in addition to a
significantly weird singles
scene, the new translation of
The Odyssey and the Divine
I'm not quite sure
what's happening in art these
days, but the Met has a fine
show of Byzantine stuff that
hasn't been out of its
monastery in 500 years, not
to mention some lovely
pornographic Roman glass. In
short, who cares about The
Next Big Thing? In fact, why
you care about the next
big thing? If you ignore it,
it will go away.

Alan Kornheiser

Thanks for writing, Alan. But
do you always read Suck
pieces backwards? There is
nothing in there that
advocates caring about the
next next big thing. In fact,
I was laboring to show what a
fool's errand that is.

As it happens, I also live in
New York City and am well
aware of the classical and
"avant" culture available,
thanks. But I expect you've
noticed that most people
don't actually live in New
York City and wouldn't
recognize Spalding Gray if he
stuck his tongue up their
noses. If it makes you feel
any better, I don't read the
newspapers, and I don't have
cable TV.

But I'm not going to get in a
pissing match with you about
who's seen more
off-off-off-Broadway plays,
or read the complete works of
Dostoyevsky more times -
because I hate to win, and
who cares anyway?

Explaining jokes and Suck
rants strips each of whatever
humor it may have had in the
first place, if any, but here
goes: The piece meant to
argue that strutting and
fretting about the next wave
of hipness is a
self-defeating and endlessly
circular exercise - hence the
references to Hamlet's
obsessive indecision. It
sounds like you made up your
mind already, Polonius, but
there was really a method in
that madness, I promise.

- Ersatz

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Schizophrenia?

I've enjoyed your articles in
the past. Just wanted to know
if you're taking your
medication properly? The
significance of what you are
saying is getting lost in
your "typicaly self-indulgent
overly chaotic verbosity."
Sure, has a unique
taste to it. But for some
reason I tend to walk away
from one of your articles
with that familiar
dopamine-based, euphoric
post-ejaculatory intellectual
high, where, sure, a few
moments of satisfaction - but
what a mess!!!




It's unclear whether you're
referring to myself, or Suck
in general.

Either way, having cheeked my
meds for some time now, I'm
greatly looking forward to
when the inmates take over
the asylum.

All the best,

- Ersatz

Fish With Letter Icon


I have read your last three
pieces and I can't make the
least bit of sense of any of
them. At all. And I've read
William Burroughs!!!

David Bates

And I haven't read William
Burroughs. Maybe we should
ask him what I meant?

- Ersatz

Fish With Letter Icon

Tech Question


I'm not sure if it is me or
you, but for the past couple
of weeks now, your front page
gets cut off at the bottom.
The scroll bar stops, but
there is clearly more text
below, but I can't get to

Any hints?

Peter Bebergal


Yes, we have a hint. You're
using the Netscape 4.0 beta,

It's a bug in their table
layouts. It'll be fixed for
the next beta. But for now,
read Suck with 3.x.

T. Jay, Production Manager

Fish With Letter Icon

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