The Fish
for 13 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

The Sheltering Sky

Wow, a column on how
California and Las Vegas
create fake environments that
people pay to visit. And
carefully constructed with an
ironic tone that says, "We're
just too knowing to fall into
something like that." This
was the last straw: I'm
taking off my
bookmarks (is that the
updated version of "cancel my
subscription"?). Your brand
of world-weary cultural
criticism was tired 20 years

Walter C. Koehler


I enjoy the fact that you've
managed to package this
particular complaint in a -
yes - world-weary tone. Oh,
please, people: Walter C.
Koehler already knew all of

Your argument here seems to be
that someone already
commented that the water was
warm - so what kind of idiot
bothers to notice when it
starts to boil? A truly
American attitude, this, much
akin to: "Oh, of course I
don't vote - all the
politicians are corrupt,
anyway." That is, once it's
been noted, why bother
worrying about it?

I also think you've decided
that anything in Suck must
just be written in an ironic
tone, so the latest must be
written in an ironic tone,
too. It's not. But of course
you've already made note of
us, and you're the kind of
guy who feels terribly,
terribly bored by what he
already knows, so why bother
actually reading the silly
old thing?

Say hi to the folks at Salon
for us, Walt. Suck may very
well be the wrong thing for
you to be reading.


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Bloody Genius

Re: "Spend an hour at American
Wilderness Experience and
you'll see 160 different
kinds of animals. The value
added to the retail version
is the condensing: Enough
with the quest, already -
let's get to the part where
we get the fucking grail, you

Umberto Eco said much the same
thing vis-à-vis
Disneyworld in Travels In
In one day you
can go from the real
Louisiana bayou to
Disneyworld and take a ride
on the Louisiana Riverboat
Ride - and the Disney ride is
more satisfying because it
more approximates the ideal
riverboat ride in your
imagination - the boatsman's
costume is just right, the
alligators lunge out at you
just when you'd want them to,
and there aren't any of those
horrible mosquitoes or
disgusting swamp smells. The
message of Disneyworld, he
says, is that technology can
give you a better version of
reality than nature can.

And, were you a New Yorker,
you'd have been able to make
use of the similarity between
the average 22-minute Grand
Canyon tour and the WINS news
radio slogan, "Give us 22
minutes and we'll give you
the world" - which Neil
Postman takes to task in
Amusing Ourselves To Death.


Read Schuchardt


Note to other Suck readers:
The subject line "bloody
genius" virtually guarantees
a rapid response to your
email. It's just about the
only thing left that reaches
us through the crust of hip
world-weari ... whoops, not
supposed to mention that.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the
column. I was just at
Disneyland a few weeks ago -
don't ask - and noticed an
interesting thing: Amid all
that better-than-
reality-entertainment, slight
imperfections and minor
hassles become really
irritating. Grandma had to
physically restrain me inside
"It's a Small World" - I
noticed some faded paint, OK?
Who do I complain to? They
pump you through these
massive stage sets - a fake
mountain, for crying out loud
- and it's not enough. It's
like the movies right now:
only 59 major explosions? I'm
SO bored.... The condensed
spectacle feeds a powerful
appetite for more spectacle,
more condensed. It's just
never enough. Plus the
younger members of my family
shouldn't be permitted within
a thousand miles of a package
of ketchup. I learned two
things at Disneyland.

You've seized on an excellent
tactic, by the way, and let's
spread it around: It's
Disney's fault.

And I think a better motto for
use in New York would be:
"Give us 22 minutes, and
we'll take your fucking
wallet 44 times."


Fish With Letter Icon

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

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