The Fish
for 10 September 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

Summary Judgment

How dare you include Wishbone
in the same clause as
Dummies, Idiots, and Slate?
No fan of Cliffs Notes, I
find Wishbone to be
absolutely necessary to an
education in post-educational
academia: Wishbone is not a
shortcut to avoid reading the
classics you're best off
experiencing for yourself;
it's a shortcut to avoid
reading the classics best
left digested. Who has the
time to wade through reams of
Dickens or Dumas when a
proper student of literature
cannot, only enroll in classes
that wade through reams of
Rushdie or Pynchon? It's not
like the dog takes on
Spinoza: Years hence,
Wishbone will be presenting
the 20th-century classics of
great literature, Gone with
the Wind
and Bonfire of the
I'll substitute a
talking dog (far smarter,
you'll note, than his human
masters actually stupid
enough to bother reading the
books the canine romps
through) for the most banal
of canonical texts any day.
If only for the absolutely
hilarious love scenes.


Anthony Sarmiento

Anthony -

Perhaps I should have used
"Where in the World of
PostModern webzines is
Carmen Sandiego?" Or
Schoolhouse Rock takes on
lying, adulterous presidents
in a musical ditty?

R. Satyricon

Fish With Letter Icon

Correct me if I'm wrong, but
are you not, in a few short
paragraphs, summarizing and
condensing a complex cultural
phenomenon? Moreover, you
have chosen to make public
your opinions via a medium
notorious for its
non-linearity and the
concomitant 3-second
attention span of its
readers. If I were to truly
ponder your ideas, I would
have to print out and read
more carefully your Web page,
read and assimilate others'
views, and finally, god
forbid, generate my own

Finally, who doesn't love
cocktail party chitchat?
Moreover, if it is done with
a heavy dose of irony and
self-consciousness, who
cares? No one really believes
in being a well-educated and
carefully opinionate
individual, do they?

Esther Parker

OK, OK, everyone loves to
point out the paradox of
briefly summarizing the
practice of briefly
summarizing. But there are a
couple of differences between
Suck writers and Library of
Contemporary Thought writers:

1. Pete Hamill gets paid real
money, not the Suck Company
Store scrip that writers like
me get.

2. Seymour Hersh gets
interviewed by Salon, while
Salon just insults Suck every
now and then.

3. Edwin Schlossberg ... OK,
there's no difference between
Suck writers and Edwin

Furthermore, if it's OK to
opinionate with a heavy dose
of irony and
self-consciousness, then
what's the problem here?

R. Satyricon

Fish With Letter Icon


After catching a chronic case
of "a life" I have not been
reading Suck very much
lately. Then I hear on Howard
Stern something about Monica,
Clinton, and a cigar.
Intrigued I pop those words
into my search engine and get
back ... nothing. At least
nothing relevant. What to do,
who would have such info? The
answer hit me so hard I
almost blinked - Suck. Sure
enough, there in Tuesday's
column was a link to
Clinton's cigar fetish. I
promise next time I'll start
with Suck and work backwards.

Bradley Messmer

Bradley -

Thanks for writing. Suck is
one step ahead of you! As
part of the dissolution of
the Wired empire, Suck will
be establishing itself as the
newest "portal" to the
"information superhighway."
Look out, Yahoo!

P.S. Sorry to tell you, but
having a "life" and listening
to Howard Stern are mutually

R. Satyricon

Fish With Letter Icon

It is more and more evident
that elements of society
don't want to think for
themselves. Given the above,
if Ballantyne doesn't do it -
somebody else will. As sad as
it is, God forbid that an
opportunity to make money
would be passed up.

Ted Sturk

Ted -

Your response begs the
question: What kind of
society would we be if
everybody thought for
themselves? I'm not sure I
want the readers of LOCT to
think for themselves - after
all, that's what got them to
buy LOCT books in the first
place. And thinking for
themselves has led to the
creation and marketing of all
sorts of awful by-products,
like edible underwear,
self-help books, and New

R. Satyricon

Fish With Letter Icon

I wonder if your comments
couldn't somehow be condensed
into one, two, or possibly
three well-thought-out
sentences, instead of the
over 100
sentences? Give it a try.
Maybe you could put some of
those condensed thoughts in a
new version of Cliffs. Go for
it. Of course it's clear that
you buy ink by the barrel,
and I'd hate to see it go to
waste - why not bathe in it?

Roy Waite

In fact, my comments can NOT
be condensed into one, two,
or three well-thought-out
sentences. Or even four or
five. If I were to do so, I
would not be writing columns
or articles, but missives,
jabs, or small, angry

Thanks for counting up the
number of sentences in my
article, though. I couldn't
help but notice that your
letter had five sentences. If
you used more em-dashes, you
could probably get that down
to three; a semicolon here, a
colon there, add some
parentheses, and we're
talking one bitchin'
sentence. It's a hectic world
out there, and we all do our
best in our allotted space,
I'm sure.

R. Satyricon

Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Satyricon,

Your string to the
panning by Richard Howard has
presented me with a couple of
problems that are only worth
addressing on company time.
In this case,'s
company time.

First, I think you've assumed
the best about both
high-school grads and lowly
corporate grubbers. I have
yet to meet any readers here.
Most of them don't have the
time, and even if they did,
would have to pick books with
just the right kind of
(non)cultural-currency that
your e-rag so wonderfully
picks apart. Also, it would
appear to me that our
homepage more closely
resembles a B. Dalton's
storefront pushing yet more
mindless crap than any
bookstore with "street-cred."
The fact that this alt-lit
coolness is associated with
this place is mind-boggling.
This place is like any other
company with hundreds of
young and easily duped
employees, except we have
looser dress codes. How edgy.

Second, Howard's article had
some glaring inconsistencies,
which is too bad, because
this place is wholly
deserving of a good
dressing-down. I don't know
if the Weekly carries all the
letters online, but the
pro-Am letters came flooding
in. Howard insinuates that
temps here make $10. Not
quite. The warehouse starts
at $7 (you get more if you
work graveyard) and most
departments make $8. A world
of difference in terms of
shit wages. Given what it
takes to live in a city, I
could probably save up enough
money to buy one share of
stock every other month or
so. As for those elusive
options, they don't dangle
those until you get hired on
full-time. They'd rather pay
the extra couple of grand to
the temp-service to keep you
bitched out until they can
look into their crystal balls
to tell if you're
options-worthy. On the other
hand, lots of companies do
this kind of thing, and
Howard seems to assume that
Amazon owed him something and
tricked him into thinking his
work environment was going to
be peaches and cream. UNIX
sucks, my back hurts, too (I
stand up to alleviate it,
duh) and there isn't a person
with a GED too brain-dead to
do what we do here. Hey, I
excelled in college toward a
liberal-arts degree, where's
my pony? Sour grapes, indeed.
Howard's incessant
lamentations betray an almost
narcissistic sense of talent.
The truly bookworthy work for
publishers, not in retail.
Believe me, this place has
more in common with The Gap
than Penguin Classics.

I could go on, but there's
work to do and I want to make
this perfectly clear: is muscling into
the world the Starbucks way -
branding a soulless company
to appeal to yuppie and
soon-to-be Gen-X yuppies
through tireless ads, shoddy
promotional merch, "low"
prices, and hiring anyone so
terminally worried about
staying hip that they won't
think twice about working for
a company whose practices are
no different from any other,
all the while deluding
themselves and the
ever-shrinking book-buying
public into a false sense of
literacy. Needless to say,
they could fire my sorry
temp-ass for even reading,
much less writing to, your
mag while at work, so please
keep on suckin', your work is
truly inspiring to the
cubicle-bound like me who
ought to know better.

<Name Withheld to Protect The Temp Worker>

I hope that can't
measure keystrokes, or you
might be doing word
processing for Slate in the
near future.

That said, I think you're
making an assumption about
Penguin Classics. The
venerable orange-covered
tomes are published by the
same flightless bird (former
publisher of every mega-novel
by Stephen King) that not too
long ago bought/merged with
Tom Clancy's Putnam Berkeley
(see Suck 21 March '98), once
again demonstrating that the
book business is basically a
world of corporate grubbers,
lowly and otherwise. In fact,
I know of a New York
publisher where Howard's
article made the rounds, to
much oohing and aahing and
not a few "could we make a
book out of this?" comments.
If you're going to piss on
the hand that fed you, no
matter how badly, at least
try to get a New Yorker
article out of it, right?

Good luck in your ass-killing
cubicle, but beware what you
wish for, you just might get

R. Satyricon

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Show Of Respect?


As I surf your site for the
first time in ... a long
time, I find myself drawn
into the well of ... Funny
art. *shuddering* I found the
button site ... I found the
T-shirt page! I've got a
great idea!!! You kids can
buy me a computer ... I will
then devote an ENTIRE Web
Not just the buttons you
release, but the REJECT
buttons, as well! Prototype
buttons, unfinished buttons,
OFFENSIVE buttons!!! And not
just the buttons YOU make,
CONTRIBUTIONS! And to top it
all off, I'll MAKE MY OWN
BUTTONS!! YEAH!! I'll do the
BEST damn job I can do with a
PIRATED graphics program and


BTW: If you send me a shirt,
I'll wear it every day. Heck,
send me two, I'LL WEAR 'EM

You're hilarious. Keep
writing to us, please. Our
readers are praying that
you'll return very soon with
more non-stop funnies.

The computer and the teal
T-shirts are in the mail,

Fish With Letter Icon

You're Dangerous, 'Cause
You're Honest

Subject: Suck and the state
of the world

Suck has confirmed the one
thing in life that I have
always known but never been
able to clarify in my feeble,
wrinkled, fatty brain.

People suck.

Monica Lewinsky sucks.

The Unabomber doesn't suck,
but he blows. Close enough.

J. Edgar Hoover sucked,
partially because of his
name, partially because of
his fetish.

Clinton asks people to suck
him. Again, close enough.

If Tipper Gore sucked, Al
would be a happier and more
interesting man.

Right-wing conspiracy
theorists suck, just because
if they were a little dumber
they would be in
telemarketing instead of on

So, basically, life
completely boils down to
things that squirt and things
that suck. That is the true
meaning of life.

peSUCKte Pete Ruckelshaus

Thanks for sharing the true
meaning of life with us.
You're a suck-ass little
squirt aren't you?

Off to buy a Squirt and suck
on it,


Fish With Letter Icon
Idiotgate '98

"Like Ignatius' soiled bed
sheet in A Confederacy of
our crazed obsessions
bear the stains of our humane
intimacy with the world."

Yeah! Right on. I haven't
finished reading it yet, but
I've been enjoying every word
of that novel. Ignatius is
still a hot dog vendor up to
the point I've read. I would
have finished it already but
I have to take 5-minute laugh
breaks between each page.
That book should be required
reading for every American
citizen. You want in? OK.
But first you have to read
this book.

Good article by the way. Keep
keepin' it real. I'd write
more, but my valve is acting
up again.



Thanks, Scott. Hope you're
still as enthusiastic about
the book when you find out
what's on that bed sheet. I
don't want to give it away,
but ... let's just say Monica
Lewinsky has a similar, er,
blot on the escutcheon.

Also, would you even let in
Canadians who read Confederacy of

Pylorically yours,


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: viva fatties!

Dear Suck,

As a graduate of the
University of Wisconsin (BS
May '94, with honors)
majoring in Spanish, I am
quite disturbed by the
gordita discussion that was
continued by Shai Bing.

The fact of the matter is
that a gordita can mean
either a special taco or it
may mean a fat girl.

By pure chance a young
Mexican woman started
chatting with me on ICQ last
Friday, and I took the effort
to question her about
gorditas precisely because of
my concern for this issue.

I lived in Mexico for 11
weeks in the summer of '95.
While I was there I first
learned the word "gordita" in
the context of a fat female.
Shai Bing would do well to
consider that in a Mexican
context it's not as bad to be
fat as it is here. The stigma
that we seem to attach to
being fat here does not
really exist there. It's not
really considered an insult
to call someone a gordita (I
believe I would qualify as a
gordito myself), and a person
would not necessarily take
offense at being called one.
The -ito/-ita suffix is a
diminutive modifier, and is
often used for cutesy pet
names. On the other hand,
calling someone a gordote or a
gordota would almost
certainly be an insult; a
rough translation would be
"big fatty" or "big fatso."

I have heard of gorditas as
tacos although I never
encountered them in Mexico.
This may have been because I
traveled mainly in southern
Mexico; I don't know.
However, I do remember
reading a review of a Mexican
immigrant's new restaurant in
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (home
of the annual Beaver Fest),
where she talked about
serving gorditas. When I
asked my Mexican temporary
ICQ pal about the gorditas as
tacos, she explained pretty
much what I remember reading.
They are tacos that are
folded shut ( I imagine in a
half circle taco shape, not
rolled like a burrito) and
pan fried. Sounds yummy.

It should come as no surprise
that Taco Bell gorditas are
neither exquisite nor
authentic. Every city that
isn't totally small and
insignificant has a real
Mexican restaurant staffed by
real Mexicans serving real
food that you would get in a
restaurant in Mexico. If you
don't like Taco Bell, don't
eat there.

As far as fatties go, when in
Mexico, be on the lookout for
the kind of fatty that you
can smoke (don't take it over
the border - just enjoy it
while you're there). I
believe the verb for "to
roll" in this context is

Chupar es bueno,


Jokes about fat women, tacos,
beavers, and fat joints? You
really wanted your letter
published, didn't you? You
obviously bothered to read
the minutiae of our policy

"43a. All letters containing
references to beavers, tacos,
bearded clams, fat people,
and drugs will be immediately
published, unedited, in their

Fish With Letter Icon

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