The Fish
for 12 February 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


[the fixin' pixie... ]
Emily Hobson
Production Manager


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager


[Copy Edit]
Copy Edit

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman


Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch


Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor


T. Jay Fowler

Production Manager

& Ass Kicker


[yes, it's a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
Erin Coull
Production Manager


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager


Hi there.
You wrote (in today's Suck):
"And not because it was the
only car besides Chitty
Chitty Bang Bang to star in
its own film." The Trabant
(an East German car no longer
in production) was featured
in a 1991 German language
film Go Trabi Go.

Tom Ace <>

Hi Tom.

Thanks for your note. The
Trabant is another classic
old four-banger. I'm
surprised we haven't seen
more of them in this country
since the end of communism.
Um, I guess I'm not,
considering the fact that
East Germany's working class
is preoccupied with beating
up foreigners just now.

Probably, the most we'll ever
get to see of the lovable
little wreck is in Levi's
commercials and on U2

Thanks again,
E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

I'm just waiting for the
VW-sponsored Phish/Widespread
Panic/Rusted Root/any other
patchouli-wearing stinky band
tour! I'm laughing my ass off
as the baby boomers' precious
little Bug is turned into a
symbol of new hip

Ironclad Bastard

Dear Mr. Bastard,

Thanks for your note. I love
the idea of a stinky band
tour, and you may have struck
on another ingenious design
element of the Bug: It's one
of the few cars you can
actually drive with your head
out the window.

With a 100,000 new bugs on
the road, "head-on collision"
may take on a whole new

Best wishes,
E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

Believe It or Not

Subject: Isn't she ironic?

I saw Wag the Dog in a fairly
normal (i.e., not terminally
hip) Sony multiplex in NYC.
The theater was packed;
absolute sell out. And the
audience loved it, laughing
at all the jokes and in all
the right places.

This was the same audience
that also laughed
enthusiastically at the
hip-hop singing grandmother
in the trailer for "The
Wedding Singer" that ran
during the interminable wait
before the movie. This was,
in other words, a pretty
typical American movie

In short, average America was
cheerfully laughing in a
superior way at the idea that
average America was composed
of mindless morons. We are
all now hipper than thou ...
and who is left to be thou, I

I rather liked the movie, but
I left with a sour taste in
my mouth. Thanks for helping
me understand why.

Alan Kornheiser
The Doctor Is
Tired of Being IN


And then there's this: The
movie begins - remember? -
with that great thing about
why the dog wags the tail,
and notes that, if the tail
was smarter, the tail would
wag the dog. So that the
movie is a nice bit of
Hollywood fretting that it's
smarter than everybody else,
and oh goodness me what could
it mean? Love that arrogance.

But yes, yes, yes: Everybody
else is a fool, pal, except
you and me. That'll be $7,

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon

"The Beetle is especially
stalwart in the second and
third worlds, not so much
because it doesn't break
down, or even because it's
easy to repair, but because
one person can simultaneously
push it and steer it - a
lesson American baby boomers
learned when they were too
stoned to notice the funny
little fuel gauge had gone
empty." - WRONG!!!

Take it from a genuine
boomer, kiddo, the '60s VW
had a small auxillary gas
tank the driver activated by
turning a handle. It was good
for another 50 miles or so.
You waited until you ran out
of gas in your main tank,
turned the handle, and then
stopped at the next gas
station if you knew what was
good for you. What a stoned
hippie might forget to do was
or she got to that gas
station. If so, the next
time, the auxiliary tank was
drained completely too,
before you'd hear that
telltale sputtering. You'd
reach down to flip the handle
GAS!!! THEN you got out to
push. But yeah, we'd forget
to reset the auxiliary tank
valve handle 'cause we were
really, really high on
excellent stuff you kids
could not possibly imagine
getting these days, and also
completely addled from
constantly having intense
multiple partner orgiastic
sex all the time, and
although the Internet is
really cool, let's face it,
if you had a choice between
living in a time with Web
browsers or one with drugs
and action like what I just
described, which would YOU
choose? That's why boomers
are so damn smug - we got

Walter Bauer

It's like a breath of fresh
air hearing about those heady
days before the insidious
rise of methamphetamine,
lycra, and carpal tunnel.

Actually, I remember my 1972
Beetle convertible had a
remarkable fuel gauge. A full
tank was "1/1." Half a tank
was "1/2," and empty was

In this case, that old
argument became somewhat
muddled. The fact that the
car also had a spectacularly
dangerous gas heater was
related only in the sense
that its fumes made me not
care about anything at all.
Just like a hippie!

So, you see, we have more in
common than you thought.

Best wishes for your
continued health and active
E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Sir,

I am glad you're addressing
the problem. Ten years as a
mechanical engineer and auto
hobbyist of the baling-wire
school has shown me that
selling the appearance is
what they do in the
transportation industry, from
Cal Worthington up to DBAG.
Recessions are the only way
to get qualitatively decent
designs onto the market ('60
Falcon, '84 Civic).
Rush's "Red Barchetta"
suggests the "motor law" is
what it'll take to improve
transport efficiency during a
long economic boom. In the
Bay Area, you're enjoying a
ridiculously high supply of
money, which just fled from
Hong Kong, fulfilling the
human-interest economist's
wet dream of "full
employment." It will last for
several years.

Since VW (Kraft durch Freude)
was one of the only others to
adopt the DRL's, and since
the general mommy has
realized that people with
above-average visual acuity
are really pissed off by the
things, and that yellow is
actually a gentler color for
the things than white
(although they haven't
figured out that you could
have computer intelligence
that only turns 'em on when
the driver's driving like an
asshole or falling asleep),
are you suggesting a VW
trademark DRL color? Most of
the elder bug people I know
who now use shitb' Hondas
(check out that the CRV and
hatchback have the same
wheelbase and are within a
few inches of width) seem too
guilt-ridden to have been
involved in getting high, so
I doubt the connection you
draw. Of course they could be

Ken Kesey suggests
steel-belted radials should
last forever, since they are
impractical to grind up, but
your prominently located
analogy of the radial being
wrapped around the car is
awkward. A 900 Saab's seat
will fail under a fat person
in a fashion that suggests a
commode. Indoor potties are
good. That the real Chitty
was a German-airplane-engined
top-speed specialist only
suggests what right-thinking
ecologists ought to be doing
with their lengths of steel
tubing, their welder, their
series-one Civic with the
warped head, and their old
Dodge. A Bug, by contrast,
may be rebuilt in its
original conformation due to
plentiful parts, but let's not
delude ourselves regarding
its airy engineering. Below
45 degrees latitude, you
(when inevitably rebuilding
the engine) jet the carb to
make it gasoline-cooled.

Peter Robert

Hi Robert,

And thanks for your comments,
which are as vexing as a
vacuum leak.

I personally think you're a
genius to cull valuable
political insights from
mid-'80s Rush albums, but you
might want to switch to
unleaded for, you know, your
personal use.

On the other hand, you could
put a quart of 10W-40 in your
windshield-wiper fluid
reservoir and port that
directly into your carb,
making a dandy, on-demand
Johnny Quest smokescreen
whenever you go to wash your

But it certainly won't pass
emissions in California.

Best regards,
E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

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