The Fish
for 21 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


[John 'too tall' Pike]
John Pike
Production Manager


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Copy Edit]
Copy Edit

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman


Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch


Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor


T. Jay Fowler

Production Manager

& Ass Kicker


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager

Ne'errative Do Well

Good stuff. It's nice to read
something about kids' TV that
doesn't bitch about excess
violence, as if we're
required to make our children
watch it. When screening
things with my kids, I don't
find myself asking, "Why is
this so violent?" but "Why is
this so damn bad?" The few
shows and movies that do tell
a story seem designed more
for middle-aged parents
trying to recapture their
youth. Maybe the marketers
have discovered that
narrative only sells in the
34 to 45 demographic; or
maybe the noise that passes
for kid's programming is
designed to make the parents
pay more attention to the

Thanks, Michael Mull

Maybe kids' programming is
designed to make parents
refuse to watch TV with their
kids, which makes parents
feel guilty, which they
handle by buying more stuff
for their kids, stuff the
kids find out about from the
TV they watch. If kids' stuff
had excess violence in it
more often, parents would
watch it, too.

Fish With Letter Icon

I think what you're forgetting
is that parents today have a
choice as to how much and
what TV their kids watch.
Allowing a child to watch as
much TV as he wants is as
irresponsible as leaving a
loaded gun on the coffee
table next to the remote and
saying, "Don't touch that."
The easiest way for any
parent to avoid having a
vapid, hyperactive child
whose attention span is 10
seconds or less is read,
READ, READ! Read to the child
before he can do it himself
and continue to read things
just that much over said
child's head and then discuss
what's going on. Introducing
children to the world of
reading can do more for their
attention span, intelligence,
vocabulary, and future than a
zillion hours of TV. The
narrative of a good novel
(even Goosebumps books are
better than nothing) can
never be replaced by the best
movie or the worst TV show.

As for the current generation
of adults saying that they
have little confidence in the
abilities of the current
generation of children to
take the helm of this
country/planet when they grow
up, what generation of adults
has ever thought that its
children would be capable
adults? Did any parent of a
hippie child of the '60s (or
even any adult watching from
the sidelines) think that
these whacked-out, tuned-out,
rude, badly dressed kids
would become yuppies and the
infamous Baby Boom generation
that today is controlling so
much money and influence in
this country?

And, for the record, I do
watch TV, plenty of it, and I
grew up with lots and lots of
TV: afternoons after school,
Saturday mornings, and
weeknights after the homework
was done. I practically made
a major of TV-watching in
college. But I am also a
voracious reader, devouring
whole almost any printed
material that makes its way
into my hands.


Jennifer Garner

Have you ever seen a doctor
about this condition you
have? It sounds extremely
unhealthy, as printed
materials are sure to wreak
havoc on your digestive
system. We're less sure why
you feel your condition is
somehow abating the side
effects of excessive
TV-watching as a child, and
we sincerely hope that you
haven't chosen to induce your
children to engage in this
unhealthy habit of ingesting
the printed page.

Fish With Letter Icon

Hit and Run

Subject: I had a penis in

Unfortunately, the shrinking
penis story comes as little or
no surprise to this continent.
Don't know if you got
to hear of these beauties:

In parts of this country,
people who are illiterate
sign for their pension and
other payments with a
thumbprint. They discovered a
scam where people were
registering false claimants
by inking their dicks and
making prints on falsified
documents. And who said the
age of get-up-and-go and
resourcefulness had passed?

In the Northern Province
(where the really freaky
voodoo shit happens) a young
man left his town (to seek
his fortune in the big city)
without telling anyone. Egged
on by rumours, his family
proclaimed him dead. When he
returned some time later
(having got a job, etc.) they
said that he was already
dead, called him a zombie, and
killed him.

Unfortunately, these and other
stories only serve to
entrench the widely held
opinion of Africa being the
relative whose only purpose
in life is to be a warning to
others. This kind of
behavior goes against Ubuntu
and any other human value
system. The people accused of
penis-shrinking were
foreigners in Senegal. The
mob's calling them penis
shrinkers was really a very
obvious metaphor for taking
their jobs/women/money/way of
life (take your pick). It was
a slightly bizarre twist on
an old story. You have to
admire their creativity
though: Goebbels would never
have had the balls to accuse
the Jewish people of
shrinking Aryan penises.

Chris Deeks
South Africa

It's hard to get a hold on
some of these newly erected
rumors and quickly inflated
stories, but you did a handy
job in penetrating the facts.
Thanks for rising to the task
at hand - it's a sticky one.
Oh, and um, penis.

Fish With Letter Icon

Strange Daze

I am saving your essay today
in the hopes that you appear
on Bill Maher and I can
chuckle about "televisionally
impaired" sellouts.

The freaks you described
haven't changed in my
lifetime. My mother's cousin
Beverly certainly filled the
bill: She would never be
allowed to appear on any of
those shows simply because
she was incapable of slicing
off any coherent two-minute
segment of her Gödelian
universe. Not only that, she
could never sit in front of a
television program for more
than one commercial break
without hopping up to write a
20-page letter to Reader's
or work on her
Watchtower cataloging
project. Her other favorite
activity was getting on the
phone to pulverize the minds
of hapless civil servants for
hours. When I think back, she
would have been a minor deity
on the Web, and had she found
Steadman he would never have
had to read anyone else's

Have you read the Insanity of
by Arno Gruen? He
says that what we call
"realism" is the true
insanity of our age, and that
all those people we call
freaks are those who, to one
degree or another, have been
incapable of convincing
themselves that the persona
required for participation in
everyday society is the true
self. I guess that covers me,
how about you? Too bad for
people like Cousin Beverly
who never read anything
except Reader's Digest.


Normally, I would have no
interest in appearing on
Maher; the chance of being
upstaged by someone more
knowledgeable, like, say,
George Clooney, would be too
great. But if it would induce
a chuckle in you, then I'll
do it.

Haven't read the book. But I
believe I saw the Twilight
episode that it was
based on, or vice versa.



Fish With Letter Icon

I thoroughly enjoyed the
article, but there was one
thing missing. You forgot to
mention that Oddville is just
plain old boring.


What about when I said
Oddville was as tiresomely
trivial as David Lynch at his
least inspired? Or that Frank
Hope could emancipate the
interest from any moment?

But you're right, I suppose.
The boredom Oddville induces
cannot be emphasized enough.



Fish With Letter Icon

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