The Fish
for 11 August 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


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager

Great Expectations

Mr. Mxyzptlk,

Yes, Salinger's a hack. But
Pynchon? Being "unreadable"
to the general public does
not make a work "bad," it
makes it "difficult," a term
that makes most people crawl
back into their caves, watch
reruns of Suddenly Susan and
stuff themselves with
fat-free Lay's until the
Olestra seeps out their

It took me three tries to get
through Gravity's Rainbow;
the third time I tried
"concentrating," a radical
idea for most post-industrial
Americans. I was surprised to
find that all the formerly
incomprehensible sentences
that had put me to sleep on
many occasions now started
making sense, and indeed
revealed strikingly
beautiful, really funny prose
- and a plot that kept me
riveted for weeks.

Yes, there is a lot of hype
associated with Pynchon, and
there are a lot of faux
literati that read a 773-page
book overnight and LOVED it.
But that shouldn't obscure
the fact that an author who
has produced the depth and
quality of the work of Thomas
Pynchon deserves a little
hype (even if he had the
audacity to help design the
book cover: scandalous!).

Brian Goad

Pynchon requires some
concentration. But so does
taking care of an autistic
child. Let's leave on some
(it is hoped) common ground:
The Crying of Lot 49 is a
damn good book. I just think
the other stuff is overkill,
except for the last two,
which actively suck. And you
betcha Salinger's a bum. Now
this is consensus!

Mr. Mxyzptlk

Fish With Letter Icon

Thanks for not mentioning
Joyce's media wrangling with
the publishing of Ulysses in
relation to Thomas Pynchon's
new release. I mean, Joyce
was writing specifically out
of the kindness of his brain
to his own ego to create
something academics would
talk about through the ages.
His sole intention to create
mythos (sacrificing Logos?)
surrounding his own
egomaniacal ass into the
millennia. He seems to be
suck-ceed-ing. Hell, the only
way to rid our brains of this
egotism is to ignore it, and
then what will we do? Will we
actually have to think and
decide for ourselves what is
relevant to our lives? How
will we do that if we never
hear of anything? I would
like to continue free
associating, but I am afraid
I am getting off topic. I
personally can no longer
tolerate criticism based on
the techniques an artist uses
to get the art in front of as
large an audience as humanly
(or technologically)
possible. I admire a person
who can get their message
heard. The issue of whether
you, supposed gatekeeper, see
a message is moot; the issue
is that the message is there,
and there is a message even
if it is not relevant,
invisible, too lofty, too
low, etc. to what you expect
to hear. After being bored to
tears reading V (actually I
was unable to finish, but at
least it rid me of that pesky
insomnia) I cannot try to
defend Pynchon as an artist,
but to attack him as
insignificant seems
irresponsible, I have many
friends who love his work,
and I respect them all.


Randy Vickers.

Me too have friends that still
like Pynchon (my pals who are
still into the Lord of the
are the ones who scare
the bejeezus outta me,
though). With friends like
these, it's a good thing
friendship just isn't the
same these days.

Yrs, Mr. Mxyzptlk

Fish With Letter Icon

My opinion differs strongly
from yours. I continue to
discover stunning passages in
Gravity's Rainbow, even after
all these years. I have
profusely annotated my copy
in an effort to make it
digestible as a whole, as I
suspect most serious GR
readers do.

Marvin Mudrick once said "Art
is entertainment that remains
entertainment." I'd wager
that GR continues to
entertain some of us.

Michael Seery

And we'd wager that those who
discover stunning passages to
annotate and are continually
entertained by Gravity's
are a painfully
tedious lot.

Fish With Letter Icon


I don't want to give you
anything but time, this is
the easiest place to send
off, to me anyway. I was
hoping for some mention in
that Martian cartoon of "that
rock that looks like a
homeless person" that that
NASA guy referred to in the
initial news conference on US
TV. Why did they stop
referring to it that way? Big
lumpen homeless person on the
horizon of Mars. The guy
seemed to think it was funny
at the time, now it's "Yogi."

Mars needs Women - Mars needs

Laurie Colson

That NASA guy was taken out
back and shot. Anyway, better
to demean ourselves by naming
alien rocks after cartoon
characters than to embarrass
ourselves by alluding to an
issue that reflects just how
inhumane humans can be.

The man from Mars eats


Fish With Letter Icon

Kill 'Em All


Big laughs for me reading
"Kill 'Em All." No doubt that
Mars Bonfire was not reading
Burroughs, but one small
correction: "heavy metal"
does not appear as a
free-standing phrase in Naked
but I am fairly
certain that the introduction
(you know, the ramble about
having a look around at
Honest Bill's Lunchroom)
refers to "the Heavy Metal
Kids": junkies who have
slowed their metabolism to
the point where their spines
are like "frozen hydraulic
jacks." If not Naked Lunch,
then in the sequel, The Soft
I don't have copies
to check anymore ... mine
went to the used bookstore 20
years ago, after I got the
skinny on Steely Dan and The

Jim Bordner, Gravity Music

It's funny, I haven't looked
at a '60s Burroughs novel
since the '80s, but the two
Metal tomes I consulted,
Deena Weinstein's Heavy
Metal: A Cultural Sociology,

and Robert Walser's Running
with the Devil: Power,
Gender, and Madness in Heavy
Metal Music,
are both at
great pains to disabuse us of
the notion that the term was
in Naked Lunch (Walser, a
former "professional
musician" with a
"conservatory background"
who'd surely get his "ass
kicked" in the "parking lot"
at any worthwhile Metal show,
even got two (!) friends to
read Naked Lunch for him to
check[!!]) and to, um, abuse
us of the notion that it was
in Nova Express. If you have
to read a Heavy Metal book,
Weinstein's was 1) not
written by a former
"professional musician" and
2) actually includes Venom in
the index, but they're both
boring; read Chuck Eddy's
Stairway to Hell instead.


Fish With Letter Icon

Metal will never die, it will
cannibalize itself and begin
anew with an even more
sensationalist and grating
sound. How else will the
children of former punks,
bangers, and metalheads annoy
their parents with their
music (let's not talk about

Fish With Letter Icon

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