The Fish
for 18 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
Co-Founder

 

Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor

 

Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch
Suckgineer

 

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

I Am the Cheese

Dear Vicki:

Your valiant defense of
corporate-sponsored
entertainment was cute if a
bit misguided. Your entire
argument may be quickly laid
to rest by Mark Crispin
Miller's opening sentences in
that hated issue of The
Nation
: "Say out loud that
something's missing from the
culture of TV, and you will
surely hear some version of
the following: But look at
all those channels! It's a
naïve response, since it
mistakes mere quantity (so
many units there on sale!)
for true diversity of
stories, arguments,
approaches, voices."

I realize that the magazine's
"National Entertainment
State" issue may have lacked
the requisite irony (which
passes for intelligence here
in the Naughty '90s) to gain
Suck's approval, but news is
being disseminated by fewer
and fewer sources, even as
the number of outlets grows.
This is not a good thing for
anyone except the
corporations and governments
that wish to keep the status
quo of unquestioned, sedate
mass consumption.

Dave T.
<23skiddoo@thedoghousemail.com>

Miller's opening sentence -
to which my entire article
was a response - was not
backed up by anything other
than the writer's own
confidence that a clever turn
of phrase would convince an
audience of the converted
(having practiced this method
often, I know it when I see
it). While I'm still looking
for unquestioned, sedate mass
consumption, kneejerk
commentary seems to be
growing as luxuriantly as
ever.

As I recall, it was on CNN
that I learned that the
United States used chemical
weapons against its own
people
in Vietnam (a war
crime, which a few months ago
William Cohen was using as
one of the justifications for
a new war against Iraq). Are
we supposed to dismiss this
story because CNN is owned by
Time Warner? Should I ignore
ESPN's responsible
documentary on that holy
grail of corporate octopus
stories - conditions in
Southeast Asian sneaker
factories - because ESPN is
owned by Disney?

Feel free to respond with
your own catalog of Stories
the Cable Stations Won't
Touch. But I can't compare
television with the General
Accounting Office. I can only
compare it with television,
and anybody who thinks
television doesn't offer a
greater variety of subject
matter and opinion than it
ever has in the past needs to
switch to a new brand of
crack.

Vicki

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Vicki,

You're an excellent writer
and I'm a computer programmer
whose Strunk and White is at
home. So I apologize for my
errors, grammatical and
otherwise. That being
said ...

I realize that Suck exists to
make fun of things, but to
paraphrase June Cleaver,
"Dear, I think you're being a
little hard on The Nation."
Do you really consider it
such a boon that you can find
all of the Mary Higgins Clark
novels at Barnes & Noble?
Why even bother with a
bookstore? Grocery stores
carry Mary Higgins Clark and
you can pick up a People to
see who the sexiest 50 people
alive are while you're at it.
Hey, it's just like being in
the The Truman Show, isn't
it? I couldn't get Beckett's
Endgame at Barnes & Noble
but by golly they had plenty
of Stephen King. That makes
me a cultural elite, wanting
to find real literature at a
bookstore instead of
adolescent tripe?

I guess what really bothers
me is the head-up-the-ass
free marketeer philosophy
that everything will be OK
if we just let huge
corporations take care of
things for us. Just because
corporate profits are at such
sickening levels that a few
tiny crumbs have managed to
fall the way of liberal arts
majors doesn't mean it's time
to break out the rose-colored
glasses and spend a few years
watching old movies on cable
(which has become so
cross-cultural that you saw
NASCAR and an American movie
and Pat Robertson? Wow).
That money's coming out of
the middle class, my dear
(the parts of it not in the
form of natural resources gbr>that they siphon out of the
third-world poor without so
much as a thank you) and note
that American debt is higher
than at any other time in the
history of the US. How are
your credit card balances? My
parents owned a house at 23,
whereas I'm still paying off
my education at 28.

Call me Chicken Little for
thinking that it's not in a
corporate parent's best
interest (or better yet, it
won't increase their bottom
line) for news shows to
report certain things or,
hell, let's face it - books
to encourage certain ways of
thought. In fact, mightn't it
be in their best interest to
make the public complacent
and ignorant? Dumb people
still need cable and Mary
Higgins Clark and Starbucks,
but they'll be just fine
without access to original
thought. Goodness, they might
even hurt themselves with it!

Ta,

Nate Bamford
<nbamford@qmsoft.com>

Not that it's any of your
GDB, Nate, but I pay my
credit card balance in full
every month, a fact I trumpet
shamelessly to people who
blame Viacom for their own
inability to pay back their
student loans.

I also don't think it's very
gallant of you to insult poor
Mary Higgins Clark, who I'm
sure is a very nice lady in
addition to being a
bestselling author. My point
was that mom-and-pop
bookstores can barely stock
her collected works or much
of anything else
.

If you click here you can get
a copy of Endgame and Act Without
Words
at a savings of
US$1.79, but here's a tip -
get it from your local public
library and you'll have more
money to pay that credit card
debt.

Vicki

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Vicki:

"As we thump the remote
control in search of new ways
to amuse ourselves to
death ..."

Nice! When you started out
with a reference to a "New
York University media kvetch
meister," I thought: "Who
could that be but Neil
Postman?"

Your answer: Mark Crispin
Miller - someone I have never
heard of before now. (He has
kind of a cool name, though -
"Crispin," M. C. M., etc.)

So I'm hoping that the "amuse
ourselves to death" line near
the end of your article was a
sort-of-subtle kudo to the
real New York University
(CUNY?) media kvetch meister,
Neil Postman, instead of this
phoney Miller guy.

Tom Laramee
<toml@starwave.com>

Mark Crispin Miller wrote a
good book called Boxed In
about 10 years back (on
whose fetid leavings The
Baffler
crowd has been dining
ever since); but lately he's
taken to the sort of
big-picture maundering of
which that Nation article was
a particularly sad specimen.
Good for his career, I
suppose, but if we're serious
about overthrowing the
captains of consciousness
(and I'm not saying we
shouldn't be), thumbsucker
articles in the usual outlets
ain't the way to do it.

You're right, though. Neil
Postman is the O. G. of Kill
Your TV, and these new guys
have no more claim to being
NYU's official TV Curmudgeon
than I have to being Lord of
the Dance.

Vicki

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

What do you think of Neil
Postman's book, dear? I'm
dying to know.

AM
<murphy_a@cc.denison.edu>

Is that the one where he
talks about the
Lincoln-Douglass debates?
There's one book where
Postman cites the
Lincoln-Douglass debates -
which went on for hours and
contained much substantive
discussion - as an example of
the kind of serious dialog
that our debased age can't
perform. Like many of
Postman's observations, it
could stand for a little
perspective - i.e., the
reason the debates were
substantive was that the
country had not yet decided
whether or not slavery was a
bad thing.

All in all, I'll take life in
1998.

Vicki

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Gear & Clothing in Las Vegas

Incredible. Thank you. But I
give up ... who's Pretzel?

<jsaltz@cei.ne>

"Who's Pretzel?"
Like she told the LizardMan -
only the most provocative
writer of her generation.
Really, John, you oughta know
this shit:
http://www.booksmith.com/bitch.html.

Word,
Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I was entertained.

But I couldn't understand a
word of it.

<harold.williams@aalas.org>

Just get yourself scrips to
XXL, Strength, and Stress,
and you'll be comprehending
that shit in no time.

Best,
Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Subject: Re: St. Huck = Po
Bronson?

Is St. Huck the psuedomane
for Po Bronson?

I seem to remember "Huck"
being the nickname of Po
Bronson at Stanford.

Just wondering ... in any
case I've been enjoying St.
Huck's work in Suck over the
years, always a crackup ...
keep it coming.

<dnorthway@ svic.com>

Would the multiply blessed
Bronson really have any cause
to be as chronically bitter
and envious as me? Also, I
went to Berkeley....

Regards,
Huck

("Psuedomane"? Is that like an
antihistamine ... or an
antidote?)

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

mmmm, hit me with some more
of those steadman fonts ...
quel imagery of the big bad
american media schlock
industry.... such inspiration
to us all to rise to the
heights of magazine glory, is
it not?

yours in eternal slavery....

katie hull
<scarlet@eisa.net.au>

The heights of ... magazine
glory?

That's not inspiration,
that's hallucination.

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

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