The Fish
for 12 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

Saying Pynchon isn't great
because people buy his books
and don't read them is like
saying the Spice Girls aren't
great musicians because
people buy their album and
don't listen to it. Wait a
minute, people who buy Spice
Girl albums probably do
listen to them (I wouldn't
know), so does that mean
they're great? Fifty million
Elvis fans can be wrong (but
not about Elvis).


You have no doubt heard the
rumor that Pynchon is
actually the "pouty" Spice
Girl - or, check that - the
poutiest SG. Let's simplify
the matter: People buy P's
books - especially Vineland and
M&D - because they think
they're supposed to. They
don't read them because they
find them boring and

Go forth and spice no more,

Metafictionally yrs, Mr.

Fish With Letter Icon

The Sheltering Sky

The marketing of wilderness
experience is new?

I've lived in the West all my
life, and the only difference
I can see between today's
American Wilderness
Experience and yesterday's
Real Wildlife Zoo on Route 86
(two coyotes and a raccoon,
in small cages) is the
sanitation (social or
hygenic, you pick).
White-trash culture can
percolate upwards just as
easily as black or chicano
lower-class culture.

And it was a century ago that
Buffalo Bill teamed up with
Sitting Bull to wow the
Europeans, German and
otherwise, with spectacles
from the Wild West. Mall,
sideshow, what's the

Joseph Erhard-Hudson

It's true that nature has been
sold in other forms for a
long time - but it also seems
to me that the marketing is
becoming more sophisticated
and aggressive, and the money
involved is much more
significant than it was out
on Route 86. That is, this
isn't something new - but it
is something that's getting
much worse in a hurry. Maybe,
maybe not.


Fish With Letter Icon

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

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