The Fish
for 31 March 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 
Suck Staff
 

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief

 

Terry Colon
Terry Colon
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[the fixin' pixie... ]
Emily Hobson
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and Drink Taster

 

Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor

 

[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
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[Copy Edit]
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Suck Alumni Text
 

Carl Steadman
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Ana Marie Cox
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Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
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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

Err Travel

Nice piece, and thanks for
reminding me why I opted for
feet-on-the-ground and
Times-Square-Only-
on-Summer-Vacation living.

As a former New Yorker,
happily relocated to San
Francisco, I can envision the
staff at the NY Times not only
writing the piece before the
interviews were conducted,
but also sending out a clutch
of interns to pre-interview
the folks in O'Hare to make
sure that the "real reporter"
would hear what was expected.
Of course, the Times would
never break the results before
hand: It is an honorable
paper. Still, one is left to
wonder what it was that
prompted the story in the
first place: If nothing else,
reporters for the Times are
roving, even if on
pre-appointed rounds.

On the other hand, what needs
to be noted is that the
business folks who are
loosing their lives to the
global order should realize
that if some portion of their
travel budgets were spent
finding ways to avoid travel,
we'd all have a happier
world. The sort of business
that requires more time in
the air than air time (as in
teleconferencing) is
uselessly sacrificing not
only the planet's resources,
but its own human and
financial resources. My
mother spends only a weekend
or so in the air every month.
She visits licensees of her
company's product in order to
- get this - check to see if
the colors are right on a
given article of clothing.
Surely a scanner and some
decent monitors purchased
from the travel account might
make this easier! Of course,
if she didn't travel so much,
I wouldn't get to see her
once in a while, living 3,000
miles away, but the lack of
stress might be better on
her. That lack of stress
might also work better for
the many other families
affected by this method of
doing business - a method
that hasn't changed since
Columbus thought that
chocolate would be a nice way
to make up for the lack of
gold in the new world.

Issues of class aside for a
moment, if all those
traveling sales folks stayed
home to earn and spend their
bread, wouldn't local
economies benefit more from
the system? And wouldn't
"downtown" find all that
stay-home money a better tax
base than the current need to
build air strip cities so
that harried business folks
can find none of the comforts
of home right next to the
terminal?
Yours,

Bill

The sagging little irony here
is that it seems like quite a
few of the business travelers
losing their lives to the
"global order" are going out
of their way to do it; more
than a few of the folks in
the NYT story, and pretty
much all of the business
travelers I know personally,
wear their anomie as a badge
of honor: Hey, uh, you'll
have to forgive me if I'm a
little distant, today, but,
uh, you know, I've just been
in Hong Kong. Boy, I sure do
hate all that darn
globehopping!"

And the whole discussion about
local economies is way too
long to even start. Although
we do encourage others to
follow the Suck example and
support your neighborhood
bar.

Oh, oh, OK: The thing about
the color swatches gives me
just an excellent opportunity
to tell one of my favorite
stories from recent weeks.
(Exciting!) A friend in Los
Angeles worked as a temp in a
Disney office for a week,
assisting a licensing exec
who was trying to choose
colors for, I think, a doll's
dress, something of that
nature. Not important. But!
My friend's job, for a week,
was to make color photocopies
of cloth swatches, one giant
stack after another, for
review by other Disney execs
out-of-town.

Hey, fax me another look at
that Ginger-Peach - I thought
it had some promise....

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon


Especially like the quote
about living in a parallel
universe where nobody knows
you. Seems to me it's more
parallel than he thinks since
it would be likely that
nobody knows him in the
universe he calls home.

Liked the notion of tossing
off other cultures as "got
that one licked." Reminded me
of the Japanese execs who
came over to set up
co-manufacturing plants with
American auto makers. They
would wear cowboy hats and
say, "We are gonna be big
winners, buddy!" to everyone
with a TV camera. What a
crock. They struck me then,
and now, as jazzed-up,
well-coached Willy Lomans.
Too bad they and their
other-national (including
American) counterparts are
wandering the globe with
pockets stuffed with hard
currency. Makes it all seem
so real, don't it! Gosh,
maybe I need that MBA after
all? Naaaaaah. I'll just
stick to freelance
copywriting, the most
delectable bottom-feeding I
can find. And writing poetry.
An exercise with no place in
the world of commerce. To
those who observe "There is
no money in poetry" I offer
"And there is no poetry in
money." It is a wisdom that
has comforted me many times.

Question: why are the ceilings
of airport terminals so high?

Sincerely,

Jack

To those who observe "There is
no money in poetry," I offer,
"If I write a check for the
rent, can you maybe hold onto
it for a few days?" It is a
wisdom that has angered my
landlord many times.

Airport ceilings are that high
to prevent prisoners from
breaking out through the
ventilator shafts. We're
gonna be big winners, buddy!

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon


Just a momentary thought on
your response to the Times
article....

As a former wannabe business
traveler, I can both
understand and appreciate
your disdain of the seemingly
willful malaise and
existential crisis the Times
report brought you through,
but I think you summed things
up just right. We are living
on the whole world rather
than in it. I used to travel
to enjoy a new place, now I
travel to get through a place
with the least disturbance to
my old life. When I first
started business travel, I
would schedule a few extra
days in a new place; now I'm
lucky to get in a few extra
hours and some sleep.

I don't know what to say about
it except that, while in the
industrial age work took people
from their families 9 to 5, in
this information age they seem
to be gone weeks at a time.
It's bad enough to have large
chunks of your days stolen by
the industrial beast, but
large chunks of your life? My
former boss gets postcards at
the office from her two kids.
Wow. Yeah, you can opt out,
but what can I opt into?
Stuffing envelopes?

Granted, there will always be
workaholics, and as the
technology is developed to
make a person appear in the
room when they're
geographically hundreds or
thousands of miles away,
maybe some of this angst and
existentialism will
evaporate. But, I think that
we need to be self-reflective
about this - as global
business develops - or it
could at once be everyone's
greatest fantasy and the
greatest atrocity known to
man.

Thanks for your reaction to
the articles and good luck
with your writing....

Gia Medeiros

I know what you mean. I, too,
used to travel to enjoy a new
place, but now travel mostly
to escape from the
authorities. Not so bad, once
you get used to the truckstop
food and the endless cries of
"There he is - the one we
seen in the newspaper!"

Pretty sad that your ex-boss
communicates with the kiddos
by postcards (geez, email is
so much quicker). Have you
seen the AT&T ad that goes
on, warmly, about how parents
will one day be able to tuck
their children in at night
... from exciting airport
videophones?

Ahh, that makes me feel good.
Love you, mom, despite the
pixel distortion around your
edges.

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon








	 



Err Travel

I got a chuckle out of "Err
Travel," especially the bit
about the salesman who has
been coming to the Wal-Mart
home office for 10 years and
has never seen the town
square.

It just so happens that my
law office is on the square
in Bentonville, and to be
quite honest, I don't
particularly give a damn if
the guy sees the square or
not (unless he needs legal
assistance and wants to float
me gobs of dough). Why? Well,
it just so happens that the
former ice cream shop is now
the Sam Walton Museum. Every
tourist has to come see this
museum; in the process, the
downtown area becomes
unbearingly congested with
buses, cameras, and people
wandering around
higgledy-piggledy. It's a bit
insane. Frankly, it's
downright irritating, and it
detracts from what would
otherwise be a pretty nice
little town square. Tourist
attraction and town square.
Can they coexist? Should
they?

So, if the guy in the story
wanted to see the square, he
should've already done so. I
don't care to be irritated
any more than I already am.

Brian Burke
<gingerman@hotmail.com>

The Sam Walton Museum? Why
hasn't anyone told me about
this before? I would have
been there a long, long time
ago.

I'm wondering what this
"museum" could possibly be
like. And it hurts.

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon


Sure 'nuff, a "theme issue"
like the Times mag you
mention is bound to be its
own little ecosystem of
self-fulfilling back-patting.
And is it just me or has the
NY Times mag followed the
(Tina's) New Yorker's lead in
becoming a themed
extravaganza ... like we all
want to read a Very Special
Issue jam-packed with stories
about California, or
Headaches, or different kinds
of onions, or whatever ("Oh,
look, honey! William Safire's
column is on the derivation
of the phrase 'green onion'
and there's an interview with
Paul Prudhomme!") Sigh.
Anyhow, thanks for the witty
writing to brighten my
otherwise dull work day.

:-) Mim (who moved to
Portland, Oregon, from NYC 3
years ago but can't cut the
cord completely and pays thru
the nose for Times delivery)

Over on the other coast, the
LA Times Sunday magazine once
did an entire theme issue on
the leading personalities ...
of the television business.
Long profile on Aaron
Spelling, things like that.
So it could be worse.

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon


Since I'm not a writer by
trade, I probably won't be
able to eloquently express
myself, so just a humble
"Nice writing" will have to
do.

Content will be what
differentiates content
providers and the following
is an example of why you will
be around.

"We are, it seems, living on
the whole world rather than
in it, skipping off other
cultures like stones off of
water and thinking that we've
mastered them."

Dale Dunning
<dunnind@wpmail.phscare.org>

Thanks for the kind thought.
When The Man comes to pull
the plug, we will hold him
off with a shouted: "But
we've got the content, man!"

Hope it works.

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon


	

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