The Fish
for 14 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

Gay, Straight, or Binary?

Is HAL gay? Hearing that
someone you thought you
"knew" is "that way" can be a
small shock ("How come I
didn't notice that before?").
Funny, that was my first
reaction when you "outed"
HAL.... How come I didn't
notice that before?

But you're on to something
else here. Computers are
almost always designed
exclusively by men
(exception: Apple Macintosh),
and nerdy tech-heads at that.
I have no idea how many
computer designers are
straight/gay/bi, nor do I
care. However, male
tech-heads of all
inclinations may share a
common desire: That the
computer should be one's
servant, slave, whipping-boy,
and scapegoat. (Cybersex is
the next logical step: to
make the computer your ho'.)
Like prison rape, it's about
power - not sex. And you're
dead-on in the case of Star
- like the black slaves
of America's old "frontier,"
the super-powerful computers
of the "Final Frontier" are
forced to act meek and less
"manly" than their decadent,
emaciated masters. (Hasn't it
occurred to the Trekkies by
now that Data is capable of
running the Enterprise
without human interference?)

In fact, few computer
designers would dare to give
their creations both desires
and the means to act them
out - it's safer to have a
castrated computer, a digital
eunuch at your service than a
possible equal (or superior).

Remember, we must keep our
slaves down ... lest they
rise against us (and that's
no joke).

Alf Yngve
Oslo, Norway

We follow your power issues,
Alf, but it sounds like
you're a little hesitant to
admit that sex between men
could sometimes be about sex.
Maybe you should explore your
hang-ups on this subject and
get back to us.

Fish With Letter Icon

Hello, Wayne -

Thanks for a very interesting
and eye-opening look at dear
old HAL. HAL has been a
computer idol of mine for
quite a long while. To be
honest, I never gave much
thought to his supposed
sexuality - I had a feeling
that he was probably above
all that. After all, he is a
computer. Still, Roz Picard's
chapter on computer emotions
in HAL's Legacy did hint at
giving the affective machines
of the future certain
emotional needs, and I can
guess that sexual needs could
evolve from the more basic
need for security that HAL
(to me, anyway) seemed to

I am by no means homophobic,
but I do wonder if the
late-'90s filter of cultural
homophilia might be skewing
our views of things.
Remember, that film was made
in the late '60s, and the
last thing they'd ever do in
those still-repressive and
deeply closeted times would
be to portray a space-bound
gay love triangle. Still, the
whole idea is rather
intriguing, and the boy's
club culture shown in 2001
could produce such a
relationship. (3001 has Frank
realizing that they were
drugged, tho'.)

Clarke was asked at the live
interview at Cyberfest if HAL
was gay. His answer there was
also noncomittal. (Someone
ought to track down Douglas
Rain - if he's still kicking -
and ask him!) I dragged out
my copy of 2001 and played
the HAL parts with the gay
idea in mind. Put a whole new
spin on things! Which gets me
to wondering ... how the heck
can a computer have an orgasm
without crashing??? Poor HAL
... bet his builders hadn't
thought of THAT!

-Lorie Johnson

Our computers at Suck have
orgasms without crashing all
the time. Maybe your computer
needs to explore some of its
hang-ups on this issue.

Fish With Letter Icon

Job Hunting

Dear Sucksters:

I fully appreciate your making
the various job-hunters'
requests the source of
innocent merriment, but what
if somebody qualified really
wanted a job with Suck? You
know, somebody who liked your
work, wanted to make a
contribution to it, and found
the idea of being paid
(however poorly) for being a
smartass and general
a desirable thing to do. Do
they get insulted too?

Is it that wanting to work for
Suck implies too low an IQ to
work for Suck? Do you have to
know someone who knows
someone? Or are you just
publishing the sillier
letters? (Yeah, I know a
straight line when I write
one.) Or is that one is
simply born a Suckster?
Seriously, how does one
become part of your crew?

Alan Kornheiser


Ah, a request for the straight
dope. Here you go:

We are a staff of five.
There's no room on our crew
until someone here gets tired
of bitching and moaning for a
living and/or Suck becomes a
huge media giant. Which
places the odds of getting a
job at Suck, regardless of
who you know, right up there
with winning the lottery. So
kids, don't send us a
résumé, buy a
lottery ticket.

Fish With Letter Icon

"Net Moguls"

Carl & Joey,

I've always thought that only
ugly people got rich;
Friday's trading card seems
to prove my theory. Sure, you
guys may not be worth
millions, but at least you're
not stuck with the mug of Gil
Amelio or Rob Glaser.

But what I can't figure out
is, why so dour? Cheer up!
You're handsome men!

John Breinholt

Thank you for providing the
Suck staff (other than Carl
and Joey) hours of loud,
knee-slapping laughter and
perhaps years of fuel for our
favorite game, Chide the
Founders, see also Bite the
Hand That Feeds, Tease the
Tools, Mock Your Managers,

Fish With Letter Icon

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