The Fish
for 4 June 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
and Vice President
of Snacks


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

Frequent Fisherman Alan
Kornheiser on the Hot Seat

Dear Mr. Kornheiser:

Noted with sad interest your
characterization of Robert A.
Heinlein as a 'lovable
fascist', in your letter to
Suck of 21 May:

"Perhaps the best advice
comes from the late, lovable
fascist Robert A. Heinlein,
who opined that politics is
simply what people do, that
we do it badly but have no
real choice in the matter,
and that all we can hope for
is a system that gives us a
little breathing room. Works
for me."

Alan Kornheiser

This is a common smear of the
man, often supported by
references to his novel
Starship Troopers (which
actually contains no co-ed
shower scenes, in case you
only saw the movie), which
takes place in the context of
a society that one could with
great strain characterize as
fascist, but in my view [this
smear] is unjustified. He
wrote also of societies that
were democracies, tyrannies,
and anarchies and made them
all come to life.

In his life, he was a
dedicated patriot, but one
greatly distrustful of
government and its power. The
fact that he could describe
the workings of a fascist
state in his fiction does not
make him a fascist.

A capital-C Curmudgeon, maybe
... but that term is one he
may have both deserved and

Glad to see you at least
'grok' some of his thinking,
even if you mischaracterize
the man.

For a statement of his
beliefs (as opposed to his
fiction), see:

fascist adj. relating to or
characteristic of fascism n.
an adherent of fascism or
other right-wing
authoritarian views

fascism n. a political theory
advocating an authoritarian
hierarchical government (as
opposed to democracy or

Parker Smith

Dear Mr. Smith:

Please do not confuse
glibness with ignorance. I'm
an old RAH fan; I owe him, in
no particular order, my
education (graduate degree in
physics, courtesy of The
Rolling Stones), my hobby
(fencing, courtesy of Glory
), and a lifelong love of
speculative fiction. I still
remember writing a book
report about Starship
the year it was
published. (One of the things
that impressed me about the
book was something that,
oddly enough, also impressed
Chip Delany: the pleasant
suburban society the Troopers
are defending truly is a
completely interracial
society, so much so that
nobody even mentions it. Done
as a throwaway on the last
page or so. Cute.)

And, sure enough, there are
plenty of smarts in his
books. Beyond This Horizon
(which I also once mentioned
in remains the
smartest thing ever written
about genetic engineering,
written in 1939!

None of which changes the
truth that RAH's politics
were unpleasant. Oddly
enough, they were
simultaneously incoherent and
aware of being incoherent.
Sure, he loved to play with
ideas. He was smart enough to
see the holes in his own
ideas as well: The pleasant
anarchy of Moon is a Harsh
is satirized as an
unworkable nightmare in a
later book (Friday? some
such). The "Thou art God"
anarchy of his best known
work is itself internally
satirized as workable only
for gods. And so on.

And, yes, fascist is a cheap
slur. The word is from the
Roman fascii, a bundle of
sticks that individually weak
are together strong. (Check
what the eagle holds on the
seal of the US government -
those arrows are themselves
fascii.) RAH didn't like
anybody giving him orders and
didn't think individuals were
so weak they needed to be

But. But. If one carries
rugged individualism too far,
one ends up not too far from
fascism. You find yourself so
sure of your own correctness
that you're willing to shoot
anyone who disagrees with
you. From there, the
distinction between
individualism and fascism
becomes very thin. Some of
his later writing was very
dark, very strange, and very
unpleasant. Consider
Farnham's Freehold, for
example. Consider also the
uniformly unpleasant
parent/child relationships in
all his work.

He knew that, too. Stranger
in a Strange Land
simultaneously a cry for
personal freedom and an
argument for liberal
parliamentary democracy. He
was a firm believer in
government; he just didn't
believe it should apply to

So, shorn of my (smart ass)
glibness, I stand by my
quotes. You'll note that my
quote was approving, after

Alan Kornheiser

Fish With Letter Icon

Frisky Fish in Hot Pants


Daniel Raymur

Please don't confuse glibness
with horniness. We're old
porno fans - we owe it for,
in no particular order, our
existence (dad was a fan),
our hobbies (smut), and a
lifelong love of speculative
screwing. We still remember
sneaking into Porky's the
year it came out. (One of the
things that impressed us
about the book was something
that, oddly enough, also
impressed the horny teenagers
next to us in theater - the
scene where they're peaking
into the girls' locker room.)

But. But. If one carries
horny voyeurism too far, one
ends up not very far from
misogyny. You find yourself
so wrapped up in your own
erectness that you're willing
to shoot anyone who disses
you. From there, the
distinction between sexuality
and misogyny becomes very
thin. Some of those Porky's
sequels were very cheesy,
very degrading, and very

We're firm believers in
government restrictions on
truly harmful smut; we just
don't believe it should apply
to us.

Sucksters (With And Without
Nappy Dugouts)

Fish With Letter Icon

Fishy Sicko

I am embarrassed to admit how
I found your site. I was
actually just taking dirty
words and putting them after
"www." In this case, it
opened quite a treasure
trove. I have to tell you
that I love your site;
especially the cartoons,
since my college degree had
nothing to do with becoming
literate. Your humor is
acerbic, esoteric, and
sometimes I don't have the
slightest fucking idea what
the joke is. Maybe that's
because it's not there, but
who cares?

It looks like you guys are
also in San FagSicko (as I
once heard our fair burg
described by one of those
loving Christians on public
access). I should have
guessed that anyway. Some day
I will have to pinch out some
pennies and buy some of your
schwag to help support your
continued existence.

Well, pardon me for droning
on. If you are still reading,
thanks again, and I'll keep
you guys bookmarked. Tell me
where your office is, and I
might drop by someday with
sandwiches and lemonade at
lunch time.

Parry Tallmadge,
San Francisco, CA

Sandwiches and lemonade - is
that some kind of naughty

Don't stop by.

Dirty, dirty man.

Fish With Letter Icon

Stupid Words, Continued


I always thought "put" was
the most ridiculous-sounding
word in the English language.
Sure, "towellette/towlette"
is silly, but almost anything
ending in "-ette" is. "Put,"
free from any prefix or
suffix baggage, is absolutely
foolish-sounding despite its
brief length and ubiquity.

Tom Castle

"Put" is only foolish after
fervent and unrelenting

We've always found "Castle"
kind of pesky, actually ...

Suckiest Suck Ever

Fish With Letter Icon

C'mon, give Frank a little
credit. He did his thing for
80-something years before he
kicked the bucket. Guys like
Jimmy Page and Keith Richards
haven't been at it for nearly
as long, but they already
look like they're ready for a
pine box. And besides that
satirizing a deathwatch isn't
very clever or funny. I
wouldn't read Suck if I
didn't like it usually, but I
have to say this was the
suckiest Suck that ever
sucked. Please print your
smartass comments below in
the Fish section.

Robert Eanes

Insert your own smartass
comments here.
Send them to, and we'll
publish them!

Then you can tell your
friends you're a "published

Fish With Letter Icon

Another Giant Evil Crackhead

you forgot to mention one
thing in your article how
corrupt YOUR society is its
high crime rate its abundance
of guns its overwhelming
amount of slums and ghettos
its number of dead beat dads
the complete arrogance of
your people all right so
canada does have SOME
problems but you know what is
really wrong with your
country assholes like YOU I
will not be as foolish and
ignorant as you to say that
all americans are assholes
and all are bad people but if
there is something that is
wrong with america and maybe
the world in general it is
people like yourself you know
nothing about canada you are
an outsider so keep your
opinion to yourself i don't
find americans to be that bad
actually i just want to make
known that i think you are a
bigot and it is people like
you that give everyone else a
bad reputation there are even
people like you in canada and
i'm embarrassed that i know
some and are equally as

Alexander Menzies

The sad thing is, we don't
much care what you think.

You know why?

We bet you can guess!

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