The Fish
for 14 October 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 
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I-Can-Change, I-Can-Change

Just wanted to give kudos to
whomever wrote the article on
Marilyn Manson. I am not a
fan of his, but enjoyed the
article and was surprised to
find myself interested in it.
Thanks for holding my
interest ... it's my first
time visiting this site ...
do you change everything
daily?

<CARICKTER1@aol.com>

Yes, we change everything
daily: underwear, hairstyles,
socks, shoes, accessories,
attitudes, friends, lovers,
gripes, grudges, alliances,
perspectives, venues,
sceneries, addresses,
plans.... Everything. We are
ever changing, constantly
shifting everything in every
way. This is often referred
to as being "unpredictable"
or "spontaneous." It's also
sometimes referred to as
being "one moody son of a
bitch." See also: "Mr./Ms.
Flinchy," "squirrelly,"
"shifty," "dodgy,"
"indecisive," "annoying as
fuck," "more restless than a
heifer on an anthill.*"

*Ross Perot, 1992

Dodging,

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Filler: Reunited

Today's was funny, yet
poignant. Maybe I'm wrong,
but if you didn't enjoy high
school that much, why go to
the reunion?

Ted Sturk
<ted@mail.light.on.ca>

Because the times that you
actually did enjoy high
school (although they're
somewhat obscured by the haze
brought on by multiple peach
wine coolers) don't come back
to you until you've committed
to go to the reunion. Then
you spend the week beforehand
thinking about all the little
happy moments you've buried
away beneath the more obvious
alienating, disenchanting,
and depressing times.

Then you go to the reunion,
where you talk to a bunch of
weird adults who you used to
know as children.

But you'll never get the
whole story unless you go
back.

Or unless you never leave.
Take your pick.

Polly

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Polly,

Lets face it: High school
reunions suck. As a warning
to all who plan to return for
one, I list below the
realizations I came to after
attending my 10-year reunion.

1) The people who were
assholes then are assholes
now. If you didn't like them
then, you won't like them
now. What made them assholes
then doesn't change in 10
years (or 20 or 30 for that
matter). The only thing you
can hope for is that they'll
die between now and the next
reunion so you can spend some
time pissing on their grave.

2) Sometimes, the best thing
about adolescence is that it
ends (or so I hear).
Unfortunately, many of those
who attend reunions view
their high-school years as
"The best years of my life."
In other words, they're still
adolescents, and, yes, they
want to behave like it.

3) Those who still live near
the high school are typically
the class losers - those who
were voted Least Likely to
Succeed. At the reunion, in
order to help them get over
their lack of talent, they
will drink way too much, then
steal the microphone and make
a teary-eyed speech about how
much they love everyone, then
knock everyone down like so
many dominoes when you're
lined up for the Class
Picture. Fun, fun, fun, till
someone finally puts a bullet
in their brain.

4) Someone, at some time,
will stand up and announce
that they're an Investment
Banker. This part really
sucks. Especially at the
10-year reunion - I mean, who
can legitimately call
themselves an IB after only
10 years out of high school?
(Someone who's daddy set them
up, that's who, goddammit!!
No, I'm not bitter.)

5) At some point in the
evening, for anyone having
graduated between the years
1976 and 1985, they will play
Barbara Streisand's
"Memories." Or worse, the
female lead from all the
high-school plays will
actually sing it.

There are, fortunately, some
fun parts to the reunion -
these are the parts that make
it bearable:

1) You'll see the former
athletes are all 50 pounds
overweight now.

2) You'll see the high-school
beauty queens are still using
blue eye shadow.

3) If you're lucky, among the
awards the master of
ceremonies will feel
compelled to give out, there
will be: The award for most
children!! Yes! They really
do want to give an award to
someone based on their
fertility and inability to
properly use birth control.
The couple who won at my 10th
had six kids. Amazing. Of
course, I went to Catholic
school, so this really
shouldn't surprise me.

4) You'll get to hear that
the psychopath who used to
terrorize you on the bus was
killed recently in a drug
deal gone bad. Finally, a
reason to cheer for the DEA.

There are some good parts to
reunion - you'll get to see
how the geeks and nerds in
the class (like you) have
actually bloomed into
responsible, successful
adults (all right, maybe just
adults). And you'll get to
see people who you actually
liked and find out how
they're doing. But of course
you'll never see them again,
except at another reunion,
because you have nothing in
common with them anymore.

Reunions are like baited
traps for us humans - the
bait is the illusion of
enjoying the warm glow of the
past. It lures us in, and then
we discover we've fallen into
the pit lined with punji
sticks.

Stop the madness, just say
"No, I won't go."

Randy
FORE Systems.
We're
from Pittsburgh. We build
networks that last. Networks
of Steel.

Speaking of building networks
of steel ... you're building
walls, Randy. Why can't you
open up your little heart and
love a little? What's so
scary about that, huh? Punji
sticks, indeed!

But seriously, after about
six or seven years out of
high school, shouldn't the
resentment you feel toward
the people there have faded
at least a little? I mean,
how many wedgies did you get,
buddy?

Polly

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I will tell my oft-told
reunion story once again. I
love my oft-told reunion
story. I hope you never read
it on a listserv or
something.

I went to my high-school
reunion 18 months ago and a
guy I was good friends with
in junior high (but didn't
really hang around with that
much in high school) comes up
to me. I knew he was doing
Web sites and I knew he had
been fired from his job and
ended up working at Egghead
Computers. So we're talking
and he starts reminiscing
about stories I didn't
remember. Parties we
supposedly went to, things
our gang of friends did at
the beach, etc. I'm starting
to worry about my memory when
he talks about a group of us
going skiing, and I never went
skiing in high school. Then I
realize he's repeating part
of the plot from the movie
Hot Dog. I tell him he's
wrong and explain that the
scene was from Hot Dog, but
he ignores me and keeps
telling these outlandish
stories. A group of us has
gathered around now and he's
telling everyone this story
of me getting busted for pot
possession at band, camp. Now
I was never in the band and I
was a straight-edge kid in
high school. People are
starting to fidget because
they know I wasn't in band
with them, but everyone
eerily smiled and didn't
contradict him. It was
beautiful, the guy was
completely out of his mind.
When he started talking about
his high-powered computer job
I was ecstatic, since I knew
the details from his
ex-co-worker. I later found
out from someone that he
lives in his parents'
basement and mows lawns for
cash.

OK, so beyond that the
evening was basically me
talking to the guy who "came
out" at the prom as we made
fun of the married-with-kids
group. But the lonely, hetero
punk girls always dealt with
high-school society by
hanging out with gay guys;
why can't aging, punk, hetero
guys do the same? I ask you,
who has the right to judge?

Don Smith

<dsmith@health.org>

Wow, I did the same thing as
that crazy guy. But maybe
that's because my first
boyfriend looked exactly like
the movie clerk in Fast Times
at Ridgemont High
who tells
the other guy to play Led
Zeppelin III, side 2 (or IV,
side 3, I can't remember ...
is there such a thing?). I
think he hooks up with Phoebe
Cates eventually. I look
nothing like Phoebe Cates.
But I hear she's mowing lawns
for cash now.

Polly

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Leader of the Packaging

I enjoyed your Marilyn Manson
piece today. Recently, I
heard his transformation
compared to David Bowie's
ability in the mid-'70s to
modify his persona. This is
hard for me to swallow. MM's
logo is a blatant rip-off of
the Throbbing Gristle logo
circa 1976. His "look" is
1983 Alien Sex Fiend. The guy
doesn't have an original
thought, and doesn't let on
to his public that he
doesn't. At least Bowie got
Iggy & Lou out in front and
said, I like these guys. Same
with Luther Vandross with
Philly soul, Eno with the
English/German art rock
thang, and Austin hero Mr.
Vaughn with white-boy blues
for "Let's Dance." MM should
give credit to those he's
ripping off.

Check out the inner cover of
David Bowie's Alladin Sane
gatefold (from 1973). It's in
the Ryko CD re-release as
well. When I saw MM's latest
and greatest, I laughed.

<bolsinga@austin.metrowerks.com>

Actually, I think Manson is
fairly candid in regard to
his musical/theatrical
kleptomania; he frequently
cites Bowie as an influence,
and also the Stooges and some
others. Regarding his logo -
it's also extremely similar,
if not identical, to the logo
used on lots of electrical
equipment where there's a
high shock potential. I
wonder if the manufacturers
of such equipment ripped it
off as well; there are a lot
of secret Throbbing Gristle
fans out there.

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Kornheiser of the Week

Now that's smart. Good
article, just nasty enough.
Alas, and not for the first
time, the inherent
limitations of the Suck.com
style have forced you to
skate along the surface of
what cries out for a far more
detailed examination.
Nobody's fault: Suck won't
pay for a 10,000-word article
and nobody would read it
online anyway, but that's
what's needed: a nice
detailed account of how one
skates on the Zeitgeist
without either falling
through the ice or reaching
solid ground.

The obvious venue for such an
article would be a certain
Chicago-based magazine
(commodifying your descent
from heaven? how's that for
your article's title?), but
they pay even worse than
Suck. Maybe Ad Age or Marketing
Week
are actually better
choices; do it absolutely
straight-faced, as a user's
guide to marketing in the
'90s, and they may run it. Or
even Brill's - spin it as
journalistic criticism, since
there's no doubt that
journalistic coverage has
given the underlying
marketing a free ride from
day one. I'll read it
wherever it is; that was a
fine piece of work. Thanks.

Alan Kornheiser
<ASKORNHEISER@prodigy.net>

Alan,

And yet, thank goodness for
the limitations - if we
didn't have them, then I
might be forced to make good
on my threats to write a
10,000-word piece on the Real
World
....

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

oh yes, we've all come to
appreciate the marketing
savvy of marilyn manson. the
latest ziggy-with-tits
incarnation is infinitely
more appealing than the
previous "what would satan
do?" atmospherics. let's not
forget that david bowie was
as careerist a rocker as rock
has seen. and an insightful
youth marketer if there ever
was one. that stuff doesn't
affect the music, however,
and marilyn manson's new one
is one of the best records
i've heard this year. he has
the tunes to back up the
marketing campaign. besides,
will you be so cynical when
he knocks dave matthews or
creed or third eye blind or
dishwalla or natalie
imbruglia from the charts?
what about the other dog-shit
artists that are ripping off
crapulent bands? at least
marilyn is stealing from the
best, and doing it well. in
this current climate that
might be enough for me.

Matt
<stuart@stuart-mrktg.com>

I like the record too - and,
in fact, I thought Antichrist
Superstar,
in its own way,
was also good, which is why I
think the music press'
current "he's gotten so much
better" angle is a little
mechanical....

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Isn't it ironic that Marilyn
Manson can garner praise for
being exactly what the
Lewinsky scandal is -
titillating bathroom
sensationalism? For a
bastardized offspring of
Alice Cooper and Bananarama
you'd think that said
musicians would have earned
similar odes back in their
own day. (Well, OK, maybe
not Bananarama.) And the
Religious Right never held
any punches when it came to
the Dead Kennedys. But I
suppose The Great Forbidden
wasn't so popular then.

It's rather sad that this
country hungrily devours not
decent music, but hype,
tripe, and taboo. While
Manson may have the
best-selling album in the
country, that doesn't say
much - isn't Michael Bolton
still on the top-selling
charts?

You'll find countless
13-year-olds in chat rooms
across the Internet happily
typing in "I am the god of
fuck" repeatedly, going to
mom to ask if they can dye
their hair, shopping at Hot
Topic, etc. I'll be so happy
when the country gets over
its identity crisis and moves
on.

Perhaps next year it'll be
the Genitorturers.

<nachtgeist@mindspring.com>

Well, I think Alice Cooper
arrived before his opponents
had really developed their
apparatus for fighting such
demons. And the Dead
Kennedys, as simplistic as
their diatribes often were,
were still probably far too
complex to be digested in any
mass way. It's no doubt a lot
easier for a 13-year-old to
grasp the concept underlying
"I am the god of fuck" than
"Holiday in Cambodia." But
I'm actually enjoying all the
various instantiations of the
mallternative nation,
including Manson, and I'm
looking forward to where the
culture goes from here -
maybe the Genitorturers will
indeed provide the soundtrack
as the rebellion envelope
gets pushed from tattoos and
piercing to trepanning,
amputation, and other extreme
body modification techniques.

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

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