The Fish
for 22 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]
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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

Two for the Road

Hey Skinner,

Interesting about that bar-to-
bar parking lot ratio, huh?

I lived in Sicily, Italy, for
a few years, where there is
no drinking age - and there's
no drunk driving problem. Why
no drunk-driving? Ask any
Sicilian, and they'll tell
you Italians don't have
drinking problems. They'll
explain that their culture
doesn't encourage abuse
because (unlike us Yanks)
they don't prohibit their
kids from drinking. Hence,
the kiddies don't use alcohol
to rebel.

I think that explanation
overlooks an important point,
which has more to do with
your park 'n' drink
hypothesis.

Sicilians live in cities
built before there were cars
- and it shows. A Sicilian is
likely to drink at an
establishment within
stumbling distance of his or
her home. No driving means no
drunk driving.

The bottom line is that
you're right. American
cities aren't designed to
encourage responsible
drinking. But what can you
do? Zoning laws in America
have always been just plain
stupid, and I don't see that
changing any time soon, do
you?

Shawn
<Shawn.Dodd@pcorder.com>

I'm sure you'd agree that the
"no drinking age/no
rebellion/no problem"
argument is as old as it is
simple-minded. But I think
you're onto something with
the zoning-law corollary. I
would suggest, too, that
Americans are a binge-and-
purge kind of people.
Drinking to get drunk seems
to be a given - whereas some
of our more enlightened and
worldly friends drink for
other reasons, like, say,
because it tastes good.

And another thing: Why the
hell can't we take a two-hour
nap every afternoon, and let
the damn stock market take
care of itself?

E. L. Skinner

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

There are no bars in
Manhattan with parking lots
and there is plenty of public
transportation here.

<david_a_zweig@smb.com>

You're right, David. Of
course, I'd hoped to avoid
this riposte by adding the
qualifiers "decent and
dignified" - classic
lawyer-speak to cover even a
Suckster's ass.

I do believe New York City is
the only place in the lower
48 where a stumbling drunk
has a hope of getting home by
way of public transportation
- although his/her chances of
getting there in one piece
with wallet/purse in tow
aren't so great.

As we say here in the
American outback: "La."

E. L. Skinner

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Point well made on "Two for
the Road," though hearing you
(at least in passing, if not
the passing lane) buy into
the noble St. Joan image of
MADD was distressing. The
prohibitionist/fascist/matriarchal
wing of society has little need to
pay the bar tabs of lobbyists
when they can get laudatory
free publicity by the
keg-full.

Ralph Ward
<2206@nethawk.com>

We're sorry that people
who've had children killed by
drunk drivers don't have
quite enough of a sense of
humor about themselves to
suit your tastes.

You probably have a sense of
humor about almost everything,
right?

Oh, well ... except for your
name, Ralph. You're probably
a little defensive about your
name.

Fascist!

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Subject: drinking and driving

I once was pulled over for
not having my lights on. I
had been in a bar all day ...
perhaps 10 hours. In my
addled mind, I decided that
they were going to lock me up
and throw away the keys, so
when asked how much I had had
to drink, I replied,
"Buckets."

"Buckets?" The astonished cop
asked.

"That's right," I said, "I
had buckets of vodka."

He was so surprised by my
honesty, he told me to park
my car and take a cab home,
which I did.

I wouldn't recommend this
method to anyone else,
however.

<Name withheld to protect
the guilty>
Toronto, Ontario

You wouldn't recommend being
honest with cops, or you
wouldn't recommend taking a
cab home after drinking
buckets of vodka?

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I Am the Cheese

Your 8 June piece raises many
of the same arguments,
delivered with the same
surprising level of
hostility, that I hear from
my friends when I make the
mistake of criticizing
something on television
(which I try to do only
during the news or a
commercial). Most Americans
don't take notes while
watching TV, but we do take
the medium pretty seriously.
It is a constant topic of
conversation among almost
everyone I know (people who
have what are considered
interests, jobs, and lives).
Yet the suggestion that a
network news piece is
possibly racist - or even
that a scene from some sitcom
really isn't that funny, or
that an ad isn't that cool -
can piss off these otherwise
reasonable folks. I just
don't get why we are so
defensive of our TV, as if it
were some divine pleasure
that will be taken away if we
don't thank God for it daily.

That said, media-ecology
people like Mark Miller often
miss what should be the only
point of serious media
criticism: What does TV mean
to the real world, if
anything? It doesn't really
matter whether comedies and
dramas are of any quality.
However, news and politics, I
think, mean real things to
real people (that is, people
who are not TV characters).
And television has changed
the way people think about
news and politics. Whether
things were better or worse
in the past doesn't matter at
all. As with any change, some
people win, some people lose,
but it's worth thinking about
who wins and who loses, and
why.

As for Starbucks and Borders,
does the ability to buy a
marginally tastier cup of
coffee justify the economic,
aesthetic, and historic toll
of having a Starbucks within
constant eyesight? Was it
that much more difficult to
find the book you were
looking for before Borders?
Does your city or town now
resemble every other city and
town in America? I'm not
certain; I'm just asking.

Dan Weisberg
<weisberg@us.ibm.com>

Condemning (or celebrating -
it may be the same thing) the
shady underpinnings of a TV
commercial or the racism of a
news story is pretty much
what Suck does on a regular
basis. It's what Mark Miller
used to do before he began
his new career as an
all-purpose blowhard. But The
Nation
article in question
doesn't contain a single
shred of content evidence. It
trots out the hackneyed point
that big companies own the
media and assumes that this
in and of itself is a
drop-dead argument.

And your rimshots against
Starbucks and Borders won't
get very far with me. I live
in San Francisco, which is
just like every other city
and town in the country, only
more so. But in Atlantic
City, New Jersey, where I
grew up, the bookstore
selection was utterly
atrocious until the chains
came into the area. We did
have the nonpareil Ireland
Coffees, but they stopped
manufacturing in the area
long before Starbucks arrived
(if Starbucks has in fact
arrived). And I know there
are large sections of the
country where the only coffee
available prior to Starbucks
was Folgers Instant. The
growth of chains may be worth
studying on an area-by-area
basis (and my anecdotally
educated guess is that in
many cases the chains have
actually helped local
independent retailers), but
I'm not such a fool as to sit
in a city and cry on cue when
big business brings a
slightly higher level of
quality to people in the
provinces.

Vicki

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I am puzzled by the "I Am the
Cheese" piece. You seem
recognize that TV is "a vast
wasteland," yet you seem
willing to die in the defense
of obsessive, mindless TV
watching. I watch little TV
myself. I think it is a
chimera of some sort of
electronic/intellectual/
cultural metaphor of
dysentery and some ephemeral
highly addicting drug.

I don't watch it, because 1)
it is largely crap, and 2) I
hate falling into the "I'll
just watch the next show and
then do something else (go to
sleep, get something to eat,
etc.)" [trap]. Yes, if I
watch some TV, I'll start
watching more TV, even when I
can see I'm just wasting my
time on a not very compelling
show. I detect a vaguely
similar undercurrent in "I Am
the Cheese," but with a far
more vigorous defense of the
"I'll just watch another
couple of hours" inertia.

So what's the deal,
Sucksters? TV or not TV?

Heinz Hemken
<zotz@franchiseloan.com>

Wow! You don't watch TV? You
must be, like, way smart or
something!

If, however, I gave the
impression that I'm willing
to die for TV, or for
anything else, I'd like to
correct that immediately. I
am unwilling to die for
anything other than
cigarettes.

Your reasons for not watching
TV sound suspiciously like
the "reality is just a crutch
for people who can't handle
drugs" temperance argument.
Can't watch TV in moderation?
Well, nyah, nyah, you're
missin' all the fun!

Vicki

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

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