The Fish
for 9 October 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


Erin Coull
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

Filler: The Poor Are

CASE 1 - In Maine, during the
Depression, my father and
similarly poor folk got
together and organized a work
pool for unemployed men. The
job: A very large pile of
firewood had to be chopped
and stacked for sale. When
they approached the men
laying around for handouts,
they replied "I can't do that
kind of work." They were
physically capable.

CASE 2 - A woman with a
2-year-old divorces
unfaithful husband.
Credentials limited to HS
diploma and a few hours of
college; job in credit
department at Sears. She
moves 100 miles near a
University; gets help and
receives grants, loans; lives
in campus housing for single
mothers; holds two jobs
simultaneously, carrying full
load. Attends year round.
Receives no money from mother
or father (not rich). Made
good grades, graduated.
Fourteen years later, working
as programmer analyst. I
asked what motivated her:

CASE 3 - I have a good job.
Lived at home while I went to
school. Did it the easy way.
Helped to be white. Got a job
20 years ago after mailing
out résumés.

Today, I am not a CEO, CIO,
manager, president of the
United States, famous movie
star. I am comfortable in my
station in life. No one is
making me do anything. I
don't want THEIR jobs or
money; why should people
think they deserve MINE
(i.e., what I specifically
have in my bank account and
in my house)?

I want to unconditionally
give my tax money to help -
or sustain where applicable -
the physically and mentally
challenged. Everyone else:
It's case-by-case.

Richard Merrill
Texas Instruments Inc.
Defense Systems Group

Are you trying to surprise me
with the fact that there are
1) lazy people in the world,
2) overworked but determined
people in the world, and 3)
people in the world?

I'm not surprised. Ask
someone on welfare how
case-by-case it is, and
you'll hear a story that's
certain to surprise you.


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Economics 101 redux

Dear Polly:

Two minor footnotes to your
fine screed.

1. The late Ian Fleming, now
universally despised for all
the wrong reasons (if you
actually read the novels,
you'll find that Bond always
was a creep and that he
ordered expensively because
he lacked the taste to order
less expensively), wrote one
true line: "The right amount
of money to have is just not
quite enough."

2. Long ago, when I was a wee
lad in Economics 101, we were
taught that it was the nature
of the business cycle in
capitalism to concentrate
wealth; that excessive
concentration of wealth had
all sorts of bad side
effects, of which blood in
the streets was one of the
more graphic; but that
fortunately liberal democracy
had figured that out and so,
instead of Marx's revolution,
we had governmental
redistribution of wealth. The
point of this lesson wasn't
that government was theft or
that socialism was good, but
simply that wealth ALWAYS got
concentrated (as a whole big
bunch of 19th and early 20th
century economists proved),
that this ALWAYS produced
resentment, and that wasn't
it clever of us to come up
with a way to avoid food

Tell me, Polly. Did I dream
this up? Did none of these
Republicans take the same
courses I did? Or is it
simply that stupidity is a
conserved quantity (like
energy and matter), so that
when you beat it down one
place it emerges elsewhere?

Nice, nasty column, with the
usual fine illustrations.

Alan Kornheiser
The Doctor Is IN

Arguments of what's natural
and what isn't always end up
wherever whoever's speaking
wants them to end up, which
is why they're used to
arguing both sides of almost
every issue. The only thing
that's clear is, like you
said, stupidity is natural.

Committed to even more


Fish With Letter Icon

If it weren't for your weekly
Fillers, I might maintain my
usual disillusion with the
modern world, take it by the
collar, and tell it to go to
hell. But thanks to Suck, I
receive an antidote for my
malaise of just the right
dosage to keep me firmly on
the edge between
understanding the ways of the
universe and facilitating the
means to acquire that $300
J.Crew "espresso" leather
jacket. I rarely succeed at
one or the other but I sure
have "balance!"

I might be in Peru right now,
fulfilling my human need to
connect with the earth. But
thanks to you, I relieve my
discontent with a breezy
laugh and refocus on the
important tasks at hand -
like manipulating business
associates to do what I want,
wearing down the spirit of
Web developers, and selecting
an e-commerce solution. For
that, I'd put Filler
somewhere between a good gin
and tonic and 'shrooms for
its artful blend of
stimulating thoughts and
soothing insights.


I'd put your message
somewhere between extremely
encouraging and
disconcertingly sad.

I wholeheartedly urge you to
drink fewer gin and tonics and
experience more of your
malaise. A little malaise
every day keeps you from
turning into the Spice Girls.


Fish With Letter Icon

Filler: The Poor Are

It shouldn't really amaze me
whenever I see media orifices
moan in public about income
distribution. But by
pretending Social Security is
anything other than the
biggest scam of the century -
well, I just wonder where you
left your bullshit detectors.
In fact, that Filler almost
makes me sympathetic to the
Communist Chinese, who
groused on the eve of
takeover that Dick Patton
tried to con Hong Kong
citizens into similar
flim-flam. Regardless, the
mighty hog pen that is the US
of A is still a fine place
for the poor; nobody really
starves, and, despite wailing
and gnashing of teeth, there
aren't really any
"uprisings," just knavery
wearing the emperor's new
clothes of progressive

Robert L. McMillin

One of my favorite chapter
titles ever, by Cynthia
Heimel, is: "Rich People:
Blow Me."

Exactly the level of bratty
juvenility that the
filthy-wilthy wealthy dish
out in healthy doses every
day of their lives, only
vaguely veiled by indignant
references to "Communist
China" and "The Soviet
Union," as if these two
countries somehow magically
justify the rich's right to
hideous decadence. "It works
best this way, see?"

The horrifying conditions
that the poor in this country
endure (outlined
heartbreakingly by Jonathan
Kozol in Amazing Grace) are
just groovy with you, just as
long as they're not starving,
right? Let's put your
lily-white ass in the South
Bronx, and we'll see how fast
you start whistling "We Shall


Fish With Letter Icon


Just made a decision today to
quit my job in the valley and
go get a job in Seattle.
Sure, it only pays 25 percent
of what it does in the
valley, but I'd rather see my
kids on a daily basis than
sit around and stare at piles
of cash.

So, your article was
well-timed, to say the least.

[Name Withheld]

Wow. The only thing I'd
rather hear is that you read
the article, then quit your
job. The real question is,
would your kids rather see
you more often, or would they
rather be rich?

Going for the cheap laughs


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Rich fucks

You guys just crack me up.
Where would any
self-respecting software
hippie be without Suck?
Probably wallowing without
guilt in the swimming pool
filled with money. The chart
on the index page has Paul
Allen written all over it.
Much to my amusement.

Dr. Benway

Fish With Letter Icon

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