The Fish
for 23 September 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

In the Lyne of Pale Fire


It's disgraceful to see you
denigrate a true "auteur"
like Adrian Lyne, who has put
his considerable filmmaking
talents to the much-needed
task of readapting a novel
originally filmed by the
legendary recluse Stan
Kubrick. What the fuck has
that hack done lately anyway?
Has he addressed the serious
problem faced by a young
couple who is offered
millions of dollars to engage
in an illicit affair? That
kook Kubrick doesn't know the
first thing about making a
film, and Lyne is simply
attempting to do justice to a
novel that Kubrick so
obviously did not "get."

John Gruber

Has Premiere called you for
that chief film critic's
post? If it's not open, it
needs to be. Here's hoping
Lyne remakes Clockwork
with Jim Carrey as

Furious George

Fish With Letter Icon

Nabokov was an astoundingly
good writer, which does not
equal astoundingly great
human being. I've read in a
number of places that he
identified more closely with
Humbert than he claimed to,
and that he was even spotted,
a number of times, entering
hotels with very young (10-,
11-, 12-year-old) girls. I
didn't like hearing this, as
he is one of my favorite
writers; I own all his books,
including his criticism and
essay collections.

I would guess that "the folk"
are probably often more
attuned to what is ethical
and kind than are most
artists or intellectuals.

Melissa J. Price

I hadn't read that about
Nabokov and young girls and
hotels. Maybe he was the
Woody Allen of his day. As
for "the folk" being more
attuned to morality than
artists or intellectuals, I
dunno ... my point was more
that journalists had taken to
this "controversy" without
weighing both sides, without
examining what the artist was
actually saying and what the
public was actually saying.
Put it this way, knee-jerk
analysis is almost never in
tune with what's going on.

Furious George

Fish With Letter Icon

You're wrong about the novel;
it neither champions nor
condemns Humbert. It IS the
most convincing love story of
this century, and Angell's
piece was certainly not
"wheezy." It is a reminder of
how awe-inspiring Nabokov's
mastery of language truly is.

Larry Weissman

Larry, I write for SUCK, so I
can't be that wrong. Look,
the novel doesn't champion
Humbert, he champions
himself. He recognizes that
society sees him as a perv -
but to him, in his deluded
mind, this is love.

As for Angell's piece, which
spent most of its space
recounting past critical
reaction to Lolita before
reaching his arch premise, it
certainly felt like a tired
magazine's calculated and
cloying attempt to regain an
avant-gardist position to me.
It's obviously not a love
story, it's a story of
obsession. Calling Lolita a
"love" story is like saying
that Mark David Chapman's
"love" for the Beatles led
him to kill John Lennon.
Lolita is a story told by a
depraved child abuser; to him
it's love, not to anyone
else. And not to Nabokov,
from his published
descriptions of Humbert.

Furious George

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: suck, lolita, and

Suck has never looked as
ironic as when they write
about irony, that is to say a
juxtaposition of things that
Should Not Be, that is to say
a Salon advertisement at the
bottom of our favorite online
pooper trooper. What gives?
One has to wonder about the
mental stability of the execs
at Salon who seem to think
that readers of Suck "just
might not have noticed" the
scathing critiques Suck runs
regarding said 'zine every
week or so. The question
really comes back, however,
to a ponderance about Suck's
solicitation of such
advertisements - are you
folks really cheeky enough to
ask for donations from the
recipients of your merciless
golden showers? Perhap the
irony is intentional; after
all, if Salon is really dull
enough to take this bait,
they might as well be one of
the fish in our favorite
barrel. Unfair as it may be,
though, all advertisements
make their mark on the
reputation of the host as
well as the object of the ad,
and this really DOES go to
show that Suck is still
blowing as hard as ever to
... um, put some wind in the
corporate sail. Congrats,

Robert J. Kent

If only congratulations were
in order. As it stands, our
smoker's hack does little to
breathe life into the
company's coffers. As it

And just to nit-pick. We
don't actually solicit our
own ads, the nice folks in ad
sales do that for us. And
we've got a feeling that
writers like Sarah Vowell
have little to do with
placing Salon ads. After all,
who among them would be savvy
enough to buy one here?

Fish With Letter Icon

I cannot begin to tell you
how deeply depressed I am at
the news that Adrian Lyne has
been allowed to put his
filthy disgusting little paws
on Nabokov's incredible
masterpiece. You've ruined my
day. It sucks.


If this the worst news the
day has brought you - hell,
if this is the worst news
that Suck has ever brought
you, then you obviously
aren't watching enough TV.

Not that TV brings you worse
news; rather, like liquor and
fine crack, it just makes you
kinda forget what was wrong
in the first place.

Now what were you saying?

Fish With Letter Icon

Of course Lyne misses
Nabokov's blimpoid irony - he
identifies with Humbert: "I
asked myself, 'Should her
sexuality be attractive?' In
the end, I decided it should
because it's Humbert's movie,
and Humbert found her

The reader must supply his
own ironic detachment - it
doesn't come from anything in
Lolita, it comes from an a
priori disgust with
pedophilia. Books that
require the reader to supply
context don't translate well
to the screen. If Lyne really
needed to bollix up a
profound examination of a
pervert's delusional world,
he should have taken on John
Lanchester's The Debt to
- there, at least,
he wouldn't have to depict
children in sexual

While Lyne's identification
with Humbert is kinda creepy,
I think he's more stupid than
fringy. (Polanski, if nothing
else, has had the common
sense to stay away from this
book, hasn't he?) In light of
the tidal waves of stupidity
emanating from all media
(witness the performance of
our most respected
journalists over the whole
royal thang), I'm not
surprised that Lyne gets paid
to make a movie about the
beauty of having sex with
children, or that Mapplethorpe
gets paid to inflict his gay
enema fantasies on us.

This is all really


The funerals are over. It's
safe. Go watch some more
television, Greg.

Fish With Letter Icon

In the Lyne of Pale Fire

As much as you already know
this, you are right. While I
haven't seen the movie, or
even heard about it, anyone
thinking Lolita is some sort
of "let's look at child
molestation from another
point of view" argument is an

Is it a brilliantly written


The narrative entwines the
reader with "it's so
disgusting I cannot look, but
it's so disgusting I MUST
look" content that keeps the
makers of Friday the 13th,
Part 1000
in bank. I know, I
know, it's more than that -
but let's not get into that.

The true brilliance of the
book is vaguely in the middle
when the reader is no longer
repulsed by Humbert - but
instead, is intrigued by the
story. "What's going to
happen to them next?" "Are
they going to make it?" "Will
she ever love him as much as
he loves her?" Don't deny
that this is what happens. It
explains why so many have
read the book ALL THE WAY
THROUGH. Because Nabokov has
tricked us into believing HIS
story - the ultimate goal of
any author.

But even Nabokov can't fool
us all of the time, and we
suddenly remember, "He's a
fucking child molester!" and
our heads hurt.

Apparently Mr. Lyne can be
fooled all of the time.

Pete Garvey

Well, making the monster
human is the reason Nabokov
chose the more sympathetic
first-person POV to tell the
story. But sympathies don't
make a crime less a crime,
which is what makes Lyne's
comments all the more
obnoxious. Humbert's
rationalizing and twisting of
morality make him more
sympathetic, but Nabokov
himself had no trouble in
referring to him in writing
as simply a "pervert."

Furious George

Fish With Letter Icon

The only event more annoying
than the release of a Jim
Carrey movie or a Disney
direct-to-video is the
trumped-up "news" of yet
another remake of yet another
tired tale. Sweet Jesus!
There are a million moments
of blinding revelation in the
naked city, give or take the
comings and goings from the
Kennedy compound. Can't an
auteur find a less obvious
way to make 100 million bucks
than backing his steamroller
over the same tired corpse?
If Lyne needs to burn with a
hard, gem like flame, I'll
get him started on his next
project: There's this giant,
invisible bunny, see? Uh,
makes itself visible to one
man! k.d.lang! Maybe the
whole idea isn't there yet,
but it's nothing a good spin
doctor couldn't handle.

Warren Fick

Good pitch. Only, the bunny
will have to be Canadian and
addicted to crack. This is
Hollywood we're talking
about, not Slamdance. Replace
k.d. lang with John Travolta
and we've got a real winner
on our hands. Bulletproof!

Furious George

Fish With Letter Icon

Well done: Adrian Lyne is a
second-, nay, third-rate
director (do they really
exist?) who tried to up the
art-tit-istic ante only to
fall on his face. Can the
maker of Flashdance and Indecent
possibly do any
justice to one of the
greatest novels of our modern
times? I don't think so.
That, as you mention, Lyne
missed the point of the novel
is enough to can the fucking
flick out of respect for Mr.
Nabokov (although his son
supports Lyne, ACK!). Maybe
he should have cast Sharon
Stone as Lolita - that would
have gotten him distribution.

Theo Diamantis

Actually, the quote I read
from Nabokov's son upon
seeing the film was
"Stunning." That can be read
as positive, but you can also
stun someone with a hammer.
Who knows? Lyne will
undoubtedly make the film
beautiful to look at - he's
not completely without talent
- but Nike commercials and
Triumph of the Will look
nice, too.

Furious George

Fish With Letter Icon

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