The Fish
for 29 January 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 
Suck Staff
 

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& Ass Kicker

 

[yes, it's a plunger. i'll l
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Matt Beer
Matt Beer
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Right to Kill

Although I enjoyed your
article today, I must say I
think you're missing the
point.

I do not believe that Ted
Kaczynski has "reached the
worst level of ethical
self-deception." Your
statement implies that Ted
chose to subvert the law
because he saw himself as
above it. I don't think
that's true. Your statement
indicates that you think Ted
acted out of some
pathological desire to kill,
as it would appear your
Italian example did. However,
I do honestly believe that
Ted's homicide was
politically motivated. He
targeted victims whose deaths
would have impeded
technological progress. He
also coupled his killing with
a message, albeit a sometimes
rambling one.

Disagreement with terrorist
tactics as a method of
communication is fine.
However, implying that he
killed because of
pathological desires is
somewhat misguided. That is,
unless you view capital
punishment as pathological,
war as pathological,
euthanasia as pathological.
All are accepted methods of
murder in our society, right?
So why not politically or
theologically motivated
murder? Look, I'm not saying
I agree with his methodology.
But can you honestly say that
if Ted published his
discontent with society and
technology in Lingua Franca
that anyone would have
noticed? However, pipe bomb a
few people, and everyone's
reading your manifesto.

Millions of people who would
have never considered Ted's
arguments before are now
hearing them in the news
media almost daily, and this
will only continue as the
trial goes forward. Some
people are quick to label Ted
as crazy, or charge that
"there is something evil
about Kaczynski." But even
esteemed Suck writers such as
yourself are including links
to his manifesto in their
articles. So, by killing 3
people and injuring 29, Ted's
managed to make his name and
his ideas a topic of
discussion in print; on
radio, television, and the
Net; and at the family dinner
table. Now, who is it that's
crazy again?

David Gulbransen <david@vervet.com>

He got his message out more
effectively than Super Bowl
Sunday advertising, and,
instead of several million
dollars, he only spent three
lives! Bargain!

Because Ted's homicide was
politically motivated, there
isn't something evil about
him? Ooof.

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Shameless Dread

Subject: First as tragedy,
then as farce

A big-time art historian
friend has, as a hobby (I
guess; what else would one
call it?), a collection of
advertising and related
appropriations of
Michelangelo's famous
ceiling, with the Lord
creating Adam. This is both a
far better piece of art than
The Scream and far harder to
reproduce well, yet surely
there are more versions of
this than of The Scream. It
is a mistake, perhaps, to
read too much into the
culture's desire to cheapen
great art; sometimes, a cigar
is just a cigar. Sometimes an
image just gets taken up by
the society and overused.

Amusing case in point: Go and
visit the Mona Lisa in Paris.
It sits behind a horrible
glass shield, and dozens of
people are taking flash
pictures of it each minute
(in gross violation of Louvre
rules, common sense, and
logic). Nobody actually looks
at the painting. In the next
room, totally ignored, is the
most charming Leonardo
imaginable, looking back at
you across 500 years with a
wink in her eye. Why so?
Because the Mona Lisa was
stolen and recovered and
somehow became a symbol of
high art. Don't ask.

So, sure. Go ahead and
deconstruct The Scream.
Probably all you said is
true. But sometimes stuff
just happens.

Alan Kornheiser The

Doctor Is IN

Stuff just happens! Alan, are
you feeling OK? You don't
seem like yourself today.

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Right to Kill

Fine ruminations on the
Unabomber, et al. Just one
question: Do you think the
crisis in authority stems
more from a diffusion of its
sources, or the diffusion of
a coherent public sphere in
which authority makes any
sort of sense in the first
place? In the end, I suppose
they amount to the same
thing, but it occurs to me
that perhaps the Unabomber is
so feverishly politicized
precisely because of his
isolation. No one thought,
for example, to accord such
seriousness to Karl Armstrong
and the "Days of Rage"
Weathermen set in the early
'70s - even though their, uh,
interventions were ostensibly
part of something like a
political movement, and
directed at a target (The War
Machine) about which there
was much more moral consensus
than the objects of
Kaczynski's perverted
imaginings. Isn't there some
sense in which the
Unabomber's authority, such
as it is, mirrors the
ur-American notion of the
unencumbered self, thrown
athwart the brute,
indifferent tides of history,
determined to make the world
anew, even if it means
destroying it in the process?

Just a thought,

Chris Lehmann <lehmann@newsday.com>

No, there isn't.

Have you noticed your name
rhymes with semen?

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

That was an uninformed and
completely gratuitous slap at
anarchists and l'anarchisme
today. It is the state who
uses bombs these days, not
anarchists. Noam Chomsky
(anarchist) does not publish
"rants." Neither does Doug
Dowd (anarchist author of 10
books). Neither do I - author
of 80 articles, editor of 3
books.

And, baby, we're real
anarchists (albeit old ones -
Doug's 79, Noam's 69 [I
think], and I'm 55.)

You also manage delicately to
sidestep (à la the
finest of
corporate-capitalist media)
the fact that Ted K is nuts -
delusional. But that
admission would screw up the
tenor of your piece, no?

Michael Slaughter

Have you noticed your last
name is slaughter?

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Subject: Unabomber

Sucksters,
I am slightly puzzled when
the press, TV, and even you
say that the Unabomber is
making a statement. Blowing
up people with bombs via the
USPS is quite rude (write Ann
Landers if you don't believe
me) and actually makes the
point that Teddy the K was
not enough of a true American
to blast the victims with a
firearm like 99.99 percent of
the other wackos in this
country.

The Kaz will probably make
good movie-of-the-week
material but he lacks both
the sex-appeal angle ("He
blew up people via the mail
for the woman he loved -
played by Susan Lucci") or
the quick savagery of Whitman
in the clock tower ("In this
scene you, playing Ted, put a
box in the mailbox and that
will be the end of Part I").
Gee, there isn't even the
Dahmer-like jokes for the
K-man. TK was well educated
and had little excuse whereas
Princess Di was daft
enough to marry into the
British royal family and
probably daft enough to get
into a car with a drunken
driver. You should just have
the mental image of a
nut-loaf math nerd not liking
the world around him and
trying to make the world
better by blowing up people
he didn't know.

Kasy-baby will get some haute
enviro-couture folks on his
side, and I hope they send
them their mail addresses.
And if he won't correspond
with them, strap him to a
Kennedy/congressman and send
him down the ski slopes!

D. M. Stokes <dstokes@amhrt.org>

Daft? Nut-loaf math nerd? The
Kaz? Kasy-baby?

You should write some kind of
media column for Paper
magazine.

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

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