The Fish
for 5 January 1999. 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]
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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

 

Monte Goode
Monte Goode
Ghost in the Machine

 

Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager

In predicting the demise of
Hariette Surovell's career
(of which you obviously know
nothing), you inadvertently
show us (the online
community) your fear of
exposure. Do you treat your
content creators in the same
manner Salon does? Do you
have a problem with someone
standing up for their rights?

Isn't it ironic that in a
medium that gives publishing
power to the masses, sites
such as yours are having a
hard time trying to leverage
their position into some sort
of Goliath. Unfortunately,
your attempt to squash the
creators of content with
threats such as predicting
dark futures for those who
dare to expect fair play does
not wash with us.

Here's our prediction: You
will continue to publish
material that ensures your
position of power, but
(unless you mature) you will
be increasingly shunned by
people who could help you be
successful. Since your talent
lies in maintaining a
somewhat interesting Web
site, pretty soon it will be
an attractive shell with no
substance.

Get a grip and get your facts
straight. I read Surovell's
piece and, contrary to what
you report, she posted two
substantive articles, was
requested to write a third,
and then had a piece accepted
only to be rejected on an
editor's whim. You seem to
imply that she was a wannabe.
Perhaps you should do a
little fact-checking before
posting the incoherent babble
that passes for cogent
commentary on your site. Do
yourselves a favor. Edit it
and repost it. Or just pull
it. You are embarrassing
yourselves.

Robin

Thanks, "Robin." But I can't
help noticing that your email
address is the same one
listed for Hariette Surovell
in the New York Press
article. Just to show you
we're more sporting than
Salon, we'll run your
response, largely unedited,
in our special VIP column
(also known as The Fish).
Your fee for this piece, and
your kill fee should we
change our minds, is $0.00,
but rest assured - your
writing is a bargain at twice
the price.

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Who needs a Salon-busting
article when we have this:

"While it's possible this new
interest in poverty-defying
sugar daddies (and distrust
of the logical ends of the
free market) is an honest
outgrowth of David Remnick's
status as a man of the
people, we suspect
Condé Nast's legions
are more willing than most to
snuggle up to free-spending
Santas." - Suck, Thursday, 10
November

"free market," just tossed
off casually, our new
political code word thrown in
the face of the PC orthodoxy.
i love it. aging baby-boomer
parents want more state
control to enforce (take your
pick of traditional liberal
or conservative causes)?
mention the "free market" and
watch their faces contort in
anger. Libertarianism isn't
just for irreligious
Republicans who don't want to
pay their taxes anymore.
talkin' 'bout my
g-g-generation.

but don't go too far. the
free market is as logical as
Marxist scientific history
was inevitable. mute
acceptance of the Stalinesque
horrors of the "inevitable"
free market is illogical.
what does it matter whether a
dictator or a jumble of
regulation and corporate red
tape withholds food from
entire nations- it's still a
Terror Famine.

it's a myth like all the
others: anybody who has ever
seen the volumes of law books
that regulate the exchange of
goods and services in this
society knows that there is
no such thing as a "free"
market. even the underground
economy has conventions that
regulate its trade. you yearn
for that perfectly rational
mechanism of exchange, like
poor Descartes, searching for
a rational God. but assume
you mean "free market" as in
simply "voluntary exchange,"
a market made up of trade
that is not compelled or
enforced; as in, the opposite
of a command economy.

a "logical ends" becomes
impossible: a free market has
too many combinations and
permutations; it is too
complex. highly complex
systems do not have logical
ends. they have emergent
properties, results that are
more than the sum of their
parts. they are, by their
nature, unpredictable; they
are mathematical enigmas.
deterministic chaos continues
to elude us: they defy human
reason. to ascribe logic to
the market is an error of
logic, and errors of logic
are the stock in trade of
Salon, not of my favorite
revolutionaries, my beloved
sucksters.

let Salon drown itself in PC
newspeak and sophistry. they
are the living fossils of an
old revolution, in denial
that they are part of the
establishment that must be
overthrown. let us put up in
its place an edifice of
truth. An edifice of Suck.

yours loyally,

Jake Bowman

Yeah. Huh. Those ...
f-f-fossils. Jerks.

Um. What?

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Trance Mission

I read your article at
www.suck.com today and found
it interesting.

Speech itself won't turn you
gay or straight. Exposure to
one form of speech or another
will turn a kid (or grown-up)
pro- or anti-gay, something
the Christian Right knows
perfectly well. Dobson,
Sheldon, and company don't
want kids seeing pink
triangles, because those kids
will grow up being gay. Kids
that don't care about fags
grow into adults that don't
care about fags ... and one
more source of revenue for
conservative Christians is
lost.

I guess, in some ways,
evangelicals are right ...
fags recruit. However, they
recruit supporters, not fuck
buddies.

Fags have a different
perspective. A friend of mine
was walking home from a bar
one Saturday night last year.
Three days later, he woke out
of a coma. Turns out some
skater punk smashed him up
with the wheel end of his
skateboard. When they brought
him into the hospital, the
nurses said he didn't look
human. His skull looked like
a hard-boiled egg someone
dropped - the egg looks whole
but the shell has a lot of
cracks.

There's no point in
describing the problem my
friend faces now. The
question is, why did the kid
smash up my friend's face?
Because the fact is, from Tom
Wappel (Canada's answer to
Trent Lott) right down to the
kids next-door, kids grow up
learning it's OK to hate
faggots, including people who
might be faggots. Shepard
isn't the only guy who
learned this lesson the hard
way. In Florida last winter,
a 19-year-old boy from
Ontario was brutally murdered
by a gang of thieves who
mistook him for gay.

When did public opinion about
faggots change? It changed
when faggots stood up and
told people they were tired
of being called faggots.
Speech can change public
opinion. Sooner or later
public opinion is translated
into action. When enough
people stand up and say
"beating up fags is wrong,"
the gay-bashing rate drops.
When enough people stand up
and say, "Gays are out to
destroy families" or "Gays
are on the same level as dogs
and pigs," innocent people
end up beaten, tortured,
raped, and murdered.

Hate speech encourages people
to hate. In some people,
hateful thoughts turn into
hateful actions. It's not a
big leap. Maybe 90 percent of
that action takes place in
the polls; an
anti-discrimination law is
repealed, an anti-gay Senator
is removed from office. Maybe
another 9 percent of people
are encouraged to take a more
direct form of action. They
assist in collecting
signatures for a petition.
There will always be that 1
percent whose actions and
reactions to speech are
extreme. Those are the
protesters who disrupt church
services as a reaction to
homophobia in religion. Or
the hick in Wyoming who
decides nobody's going to
miss one little faggot.

If faggots claim guys like
Lott and the pope cause hate,
it's because we've had
centuries of brutal
oppression to contemplate the
correlation.

Cheers man ... keep writing.

Mike

It seems to me that
"exposure to one form of
speech or another" will "turn
a kid (or grown-up) pro- or
anti-gay," but I really don't
think that public speech
matters all that much,
relative to family and
peer-group messages. I just
don't picture someone raised
with thoughtful, consistent
values of kindness and
acceptance turning around and
swinging a skateboard at
someone's head because the
Christian Coalition takes out
a lot of ads.

I mean, I get what you're
saying, and I don't dismiss
it: Families and peer groups
are influenced by someone,
somewhere; there's a chain of
causation, not a Big Bang out
of nowhere and boom there's
hatred on the planet.

But I wonder if it doesn't
shift responsibility from
individuals to aggregated,
faceless notions - and
politicians, who are
professional aggregated
notions packaged in human
bodies - to blame violence
and intolerance on an
atmosphere of repression.

Repression is a series of
specific, particular actions.
And even if that turns out to
be an oversimplification -
which, sure, it probably is -
it seems to provide a more
useful base from which to
fight.

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Dear AB,

Since you're mostly right
(and the ways in which I
mildly disagree, primarily
focusing on when "just
talking" becomes so
inherently objectionable that
a state may legitimately ban
it, do not lend themselves to
such a truncated forum) let
me just comment on some of
your initial remarks: Where
on earth have we come up with
the idea that just seeing
something briefly, or even
"seeing" something
subliminally, has any effect
at all?

The nice people at Pepsi and
Coke spend hundreds of
millions of dollars yelling
in our faces to drink their
products, and mostly we
ignore them. The Republicans
and the Democrats spend
hundreds of millions of
dollars and mostly we ignore
them too.

If marketing based upon
intensive motivational
research, careful focus-group
analysis, and test marketing
using all the latest bells
and whistles, can't make you
drink Coke, why does anyone
think that flashing the word
"Coke" for 3 milliseconds
under your nose will?
Probably for the same reason
that people think gadgets
emitting ultrasound that they
can't hear will keep animals
and pests they can't see
away. None of this stuff
works; any second-year psych
student can do the tests that
prove it doesn't work. People
believe it anyway. Why?

Because we're afraid. We're
not sure what we're afraid
of, but we know they have bad
juju and are after us, so
we'd better get our own bad
juju and use it against them.
And, unfortunately, there is
more money and power and
prestige to be made selling
and encouraging this sort of
fear and envy than there is
telling people to shut up and
grow up. So it never gets any
better. And that - the
conscious, or even
unconscious, repetition of
meaningless noise, the
continual emphasis on
getting-and-spending - is the
real enemy. What is being
sold doesn't matter; it's
that always something is
being sold.

Pity that we have so much
money with which to advertise
fizzy water and none left to
teach poetry. Otherwise,
people might be encouraged to
read that sweet bugger Auden
and learn that we must love
one another or die.
Truthfully, that is the whole
of the Law; all else is
commentary.

Alan Kornheiser
The Doctor Is
Depressed

Ah, but wait: Auden, it turns
out, was peddling Coke all
along. Want proof? "Sonnets
from China," 18th stanza:

Chilled by the Present, its
gloom and its noise,
On
waking we sigh for an ancient
South,
A warm nude age of
instinctive poise,
A taste of
joy in an innocent mouth...

See it?

Sorry.

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

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