The Fish
for 14 July 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 Rhythm Guitar


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

Lump Sums

So I don't get it. Where was
all that griping about
tobacco companies and Ted
Turner and the IMF and big
business in general aimed?
There were various points you
were making but I didn't see
a central focus or whatever.
What I'm trying to say here
is what are we supposed to
think? OK, we can agree
with each of these little
ideas and agree overall that
having lots of money is bad,
but is this anything new?
I've felt that way for
a while. What can I learn from
this edition of Suck?

Kinda Embarrassed

You can learn that you never
get satisfactory answers
when you really need them.

Fish With Letter Icon

OK, so what's your point?
People give too much money
away, and you're pissed
because they're not giving it
to you? Organizations are
asking for too much money,
and you're wishing you could
catch Ted Turner's contagious
over-cashed infection? You
want to give your share away
too, right?

I'm trying to see through
"Goddamn, those
money-grubbing Girl Scouts"
to an actual message, however
thin it may be. But really
all I'm seeing is a whiner
who wishes he could get the
"State Troopers are your
first line of defense"
sticker without paying off
the local lawman.


Look Ss, I'm sorry if you
never realized that a
tax-deductible donation is
still a donation. You give,
girl, but I recommend the
Jerry Lewis Telethon over
whatever booster club bilge
you've been blindly
supporting. I'll bet you have
a lot of cool stickers in the
back window of your truck -
trade me a Nature Conservancy
for the Spice Girls?

What I wish to suggest is
that people give too much
money away to other monied
people (and institutions),
while the Piggly Wiggly continues to
report stolen shopping carts
daily. Meanwhile,
donation-driven crisis
signals create a feeling of
hopelessness back on Main
Street, and simple social
problems start to seem
insurmountable. It's all
hype. You don't need a
nonprofit sector to help out
a fellow American who's down
on their luck, and there's no
reason a welfare big brother
deserves better treatment
than a welfare mother.


P. S. New York City doesn't
have State Troopers, that's
why you're funny.

Fish With Letter Icon

Good Lord! This article was
hands-down the most bitter
and negative Suck I've read
to date. Full marks.

Speaking of tax-funded
ballparks ... check out
Seattle for a measure of the
power of New Money®. Not
only did a certain
ex-Microsoft employee demand
that the city build his
football team a new stadium,
he managed to buy himself an
election in order to get the
tax hike approved! The free
market operating at it's
highest level of application,
I say. Meanwhile, the city of
Seattle has recently
implemented a generic
"homeless law," where
basically standing in a
public place without
appearing to have a purpose
is a crime if the Seattle
Police decide you're
"undesirable." But other than
that, things are great here
in the Northwest. We continue
to pursue our Master
Plan®: spreading the viruses
of Barnes & Noble,
Starbucks, and Microsoft. Up
with mediocrity!!

Jonathan Grant

Thanks, but it was intended
to be the most
well-intentioned and
kind-hearted Suck ever
written, wagging a finger at
institutions that feed
themselves instead of the
truly needy. The unstated
goal was to create in the
readership an imperative
generosity toward fish and
fowl, and people who stink
worse than both. If you found
it depressing, you must be
among the tiny minority of
Suck readers not working at
home, and therefore part of
the problem.

As far as the Pacific
Northwest goes, I'm not
surprised to hear that
Seattle is following every
trend on the books. But I
thought standing around
slack-jawed was considered a
civic duty.

DJ Abraham L.

Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Abe:

Apropos of the beggars we
meet and greet, let me share
a great line from a Tom
Stoppard play, Indian Ink.
Set in the time of the Raj, a
young English person is
horrified by the beggars he
sees everywhere on the
streets and asks his Indian
friend how he bears it. His
friend is bemused: You pass,
he notes, many restaurants
and shoe repair shops on the
street as well and they don't
annoy you. When you see a
beggar, he suggests, think
"do I need a beggar today?"
If you do, give him money; if
not, don't worry about it.

Thus, when George
Steinbrenner begs New York
City for a billion dollars
for his new stadium, don't be
annoyed. Just ask - do I need
a beggar today?

"I used to be disgusted/Now I
try to be amused...."

Alan Kornheiser


Very amusing parable, except,
when applied to
excavations, the question is
whether the beggar really
wants you or not.

DJ Abe Lincoln

Fish With Letter Icon

Nerve Damage

I'm sure you've seen by now
that CNN has retracted its
report on Operation Tailwind,
following the report it
received from Floyd Abrams. I
remembered the messages you
sent after we wrote about
their report, and - for
whatever it's worth - wanted
to say that I'd seen the
retraction. Not much to say
about it, except the obvious:
It's an awful thought that a
news organization with such a
broad reach would be so
reckless with such a damaging
story. Nothing to do about it
but be much more skeptical
about the news in the future,
which is a sorry thought.

Also, to see the producers
involved in the story fired
or forced to resign, while
Peter Arnett receives a
"reprimand" - that one's
awfully hard to understand.
How can he do credible
reporting now?

Not many institutions worth
trusting, it seems.

In any case, I was wrong. Be

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon

Ke aloha no!

I was surprised, but pleased,
to hear from you.

I agree on firing Arnett. The
thing that leapt out from
Abrams' report was the
significance attributed to
gas masks. If you're going to
be exposed to
organophosphates you need
skin protection, too. An old
hand like Arnett ought to
have picked up on that.

I was talking to my editor at
The Maui News about Patricia
Smith, the Boston Globe
faker, a couple days ago and
said if I had been editor I
would not have allowed her a
farewell column. He said, "I
wouldn't have let her resign.
That's a firing offense."

Since I have been fired for a
sin as venial as insulting
chiropractors, I can only
agree with him. The big
issue, to me, is information
overload, but in a different
sense from what is usually
thought. Reporters are
required to know enough to
draw conclusions about such
recondite questions as when
to ignore prostate cancer or
how often women should have
mammograms - if only to
decide whether a story is
there or not.

We can't manage it, of
course, but when I started in
the business more than 30
years ago, that level of
knowledge wasn't expected.
Nothing stresses me more than
to be told to write a
deadline piece involving
(real example) the
fishing-permit policy of
Kiribati. You cannot be an
expert on everything.

My objection is that too many
younger reporters aren't
expert on anything. Nor were
us older guys. The difference
is, we knew it. Some were
proud of it.

I was astounded to learn that
CNN worked eight months on
its story and prepared a
150-page briefing book. It's
a luxury when I have eight
days to work on a takeout
story (one that is supposed
to present the background,
current problems, and future
options complete). If I ever
had eight months to report on
war gases, I can promise you
I'd know them backward and
forward by the end of the
first month.

A second point. Garrison
Keillor once said, "Let's
face it, folks, television is
an experiment that failed."

The supposed watchword of the
tough reporter - "If your
mother says she loves you,
check it out" - is phony as
hell. I've never known
anybody who worked that way.
The trick is to know which
unsupported statements are
plausible and can be
accepted, and which others
need more careful handling. I
don't mind if a reporter goes
at a story with an agenda -
as April Oliver did, and as I
do all the time - but I've
been grateful many times to
have an editor who doesn't
give a rat's ass for my
agenda. I've had stories
spiked, stories returned for
a complete re-reporting.


Fish With Letter Icon

Señor Beers,

Advance apologies for being
obtuse, but what was the
point of the "Nerve Damage"
piece? It's no news that all
the infotainment engines like
CNN pursue new markets at the
expense of journalism. It's
no surprise that LBJ's and
Nixon's administrations were
duplicitous and bloody. Who
hasn't heard the one about
government and industry
acting in collusion to
defraud and exploit

Can one honestly censure the
Swiss for being stingy and
wary of a political solution?
They're neutrals, for pete's
sake. Do you ever expect
anything but half-ass
apologies from anyone who
remains consistently neutral
in the face of every
conflict? The Swiss have been
accessories to every major
government swindle for
generations. Shame on you for
only bringing the Swiss to
task because the Nazis were
involved. How bout going to
bat for those railroaded in
banana republics?

Schanberg is wrong even if he
did get a Pulitzer - "We
Americans" aren't the
"ultimate innocents." He, and
morally dishonest and
disingenuous liberals like him,
who believe in Big
Government, are ...

I hope we never forget what
happened in Vietnam. Those
with consciences ought to
know better than to trust
those without: LBJ, Nixon,
and their assorted cabinet
pols - didn't most of them find a way
to avoid doing their duty
when their country was at
war? Not that war is
justifiable - but it shows
that the signs were always
there. Every political cause
is a con - and always will

Chant the "don't trust the
media, don't trust the
government" mantra every
other day (get well Terry!),
just try and have a point.
Particularly a funny one.
Nothing cuts nationalistic
self-loathing like proof that
more of our blunders are
silly more than they
are violent. Do more
stuff about monkeys too.
Monkeys are funny. Especially
monkeys in jockey costumes
riding pigs or greyhounds.

metaphors be with you,


Monkeys in jockey costumes
riding pigs: gotcha. Thanks
for the tip!

Fish With Letter Icon

You Americans Are So ...

I saw your pages today for
the first time - interesting
... you have made the
American dream complete:
Where the regular, consuming
and beer-drinking fellow is
the hero, and his values are
not questioned, as it would
be a crime next to treason
... the trend in the States
nowadays seems to a European
to be favoring individuality
above all, having created a
new, regular, next-door pal
as the model of an
end-of-the-century standard
American. Today it seems like
wit, sarcasm, criticism,
society-sensitivity, and "I'm
not like the next guy" are
the new standards. I don't
know how it is once you get
there - the States, I mean -
but that certainly is the
idea the Americans are
giving, the image. Perhaps
because the material we get
is originated in big cities
like New York or LA.... New
order, mildish anarchy on the
Net, and pirate-like
publishings are soooo popular
... but after all, what is
America but a dream come
true, the biggest, always
popular consensus under the
sun, a free country. Here in
Scandinavia we don't have to
be so sarcastic to be
considered intelligent and
our criticism toward
society is perhaps more
openly expressed. Our
"undergroundish" pages on the
Web concentrate more on other
things. Summa summarum, I
subscribed to your THING
today, and expect many more
stimulating subjects to
arise. Keep up the

Irene Telaranta

In Scandinavia, you have to
chip your way through a wall
of solid ice every morning
just to go to the corner
store for some lox! We have
no doubt that you're a
well-read group whose
criticisms toward society
are more openly expressed! We
Americans have hot dogs to
eat and ice-cold cheap beer
to drink and pools to do the
Nestea plunge into -
criticizing society just
slips our minds for days on

Just like the guy next door,
only uglier,


Fish With Letter Icon

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