The Fish
for 22 February 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]
Erica Gies
Merrill Gillaspy

Copy Editors

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


Monte Goode
Monte Goode
Ghost in the Machine


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager

Fantastic Voyage

Your view on history is a bit
hypocritical. Half of your
jokes hinge on the reader's
previous experience with
historical tidbits. Are you
saying that the pursuit of
history is useless or is it
the attitude that we have
toward history? The point of
your article isn't very clear
in its criticism.

But then again, this is Suck,
you know?

Stephen Ingram

To the extent that the
article had a point, it was
to make me look like a
smartypants. But that's
pretty much the point of
every article.

yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon


I think it's part of the
syndrome. The old complaining
that the young are ignorant
and ahistorical is nothing
new. I'm sure that when I'm
old and gray (and watching
the History Channel 12 hours
a day), I'll be able to mock
the young generations for
their lack of knowledge.
Until then I don't have the
12 hours a day to waste.
Besides, if, as every
generation has argued since
the dawn of time, the
subsequent generations are so
much dumber and less
educated, how come we have so
much more cool stuff (like
indoor plumbing) than people
did awhile back? Maybe it's
better that everyone doesn't
study history anyway; we also
need some engineers, doctors,
plumbers, etc. I once saw an
old guy interviewed about the
'20s and '30s, and the
interviewer was asking really
stupid questions like,
"Wasn't life so much more
interesting back then?" What
made it cool was that the old
guy was honest and answered
something to the effect that
what made those times cool
for him was that he was in
his 20s, but objectively the
quality of life kind of
sucked for most people
compared to what we have

What's really ridiculous in
all of this is to call
anything in the last 50 years
history anyway. These days it
seems like we have to
categorize (and make TV
specials) about everything,
but the truth is that
promoting everything to
historical status before
humanity has had some time to
think about it is kind of
silly anyway. If every decade
were as carefully studied as
the '60s, children would have
to be in elementary school
until they turned 60. Just
because someone might have
lived through it (and it
might even have changed his
or her life), doesn't make it
automatically important to
humanity at large. So, to
those people I say, stop
kvetching already and just
admit you are losing your


You've hit on the reason old
people are the only ones with
any historical perspective.
They're the only ones who
have the 12 hours to waste
every day. Even they are
getting worse, though,
because too many of them are
spending their 12 hours
calling John Gibson to say
how irate they are that the
president wasn't convicted.

yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

I take back the remark about
you being NY wannabes.

You still haven't adjusted to
the fact that a GUI proves
literacey (deliberate, sic)
has vanished. If it ever did.
X+Y+Zers have the
intellectual dept (again, sic)
of a puddle. So did flower
children, whose cry of "hot
sex!" (or free love) echoed
over the landscape for a

Till the realities changed.
Social or otherwise. Guns
still rule most of the
planet. Pumping money into
education didn't work very
well. Welfare turned into a
multigeneration lifestyle,
health care into guarrenteeed
good health.

It doesn't take Wiesenberger
stealing US$6 billion in gold
to get buildings blown up, or
the Chicago 8's trial
to convert high-machs into

Just pump out the biased
insight and hope they don't
get too proactive ... aka hacker
attacks for you.... Or the bad
money will not only force out
the good, it'll subvert it.

Pat Donovan

Thanks, Pat. Couldn't have
said it better myself.

yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

First as comedy, then as
farce. So what else is new?

Alan S Kornheiser

I'm still waiting for history
to repeat itself as a
social-problem movie of the

yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

You did not include the
greatest thing about THC - it
is not available in Canada.

Tony Prichard

Are you sure they're not
eligible for History Channel
International? I've always
thought Canada was what
Francis Fukayama had in mind
when he talked about the end
of history. From the French
and Indian War to today, the
closest Canada has come to an
historical event is the
occasional secession threat
from Quebec. Canadians even
rode bicycles onto the beach
at Normandy.

yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

Speaking of historical
perspective, I heard the new
Hollywood craze is for actors
and actresses to leave the
lush lifestyle behind and
build teepees out in the
wilderness and live off the
land without indoor plumbing.
The word's out that the
Indians are going to drive up
in tanks with M60s and make
them relocate to Oklahoma.

Earth White Horse

You heard wrong. The new
roughing-it style involves
limiting yourself to eggwhite
omelettes at Barney
Greengrass in Beverly Hills.
There may be some publicists
driving up in Range Rovers,
but they're just looking for

yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon
Steptoe and Son

Having seen around eight
incomprehensible episodes of
Steptoe and Son, I assure you
that in almost every facet of
television production,
Sanford and Son is highly

1. Production. Steptoe and
is a muddy black and
white, and several scenes
lack the most basic
contrast of American
black-and-white shows. Of
course, I'm watching this on a
home transfer VCR, so it's
not top-notch coming from PAL
to NTSC, but it's really hard
to follow characters around
dark rooms. Similarly, the
sound is muddled, but I might
chalk up that confusion to
ultra-thick accents.

2. Steptoe is not Redd Foxx.
Steptoe is a cranky old
geezer, the likes of which
are as stereotypical as the
foxy grandma or
funky-dressing teenager. Redd
Foxx was not only playing the
cranky old man, he had
timing, visual reactions, and
all kinds of great acting skills
which made him Redd Foxx.

3. Lamont is not mean. The
Steptoe kid is mean and
way too trendy (in a Mod,
Carnaby Street sort of way),
whereas we sympathize with
Lamont's relationship with a
difficult father. On that
same tip, the Sanfords don't
really fight as cruelly. But
the British always go for the
jugular and feign "taking the
piss" - i.e., just having
fun, but in the cruelest
unentertaining way.

4. Steptoe and Son: There
are no neighbor characters
in the episodes I saw,
which were mostly about
working in a dump. Sanford
and Son
has Aunt Esther and

So, while British TV has some
great work, the sad truth of
the matter is it can't do
sitcoms better than the US,
which is the master. In fact,
I can only name one truly funny
British sitcom, Faulty
The rest are most
interesting for cultural
novelty value - like the
truly f*cked Are You Being
or the Keeping Up
view of the
British suburbs. I got dozens
of examples from video
trading friends and was
disappointed by almost all of
them. I DO enjoy its 1960s
and 1970s kids shows, which
are often more thoughtful
than US counterparts: Oddly
enough, there was very little local
animation in the UK at that
time, compared to the
cartoon-conquering Saturday
Morning TV here.

This Sunday I am doing a
video night at a club showing
how the counterculture
influenced post-1968 kids'
TV. It's interesting to see
modern Rave clues, down to
the baggy pants, in the

Don Smith

Thanks for outlining your
tastes so completely for us.
But, um, how many truly funny
American sitcoms can you
name? More than one,
certainly, but more than
five? And who says taking the
piss out of each other isn't
more fun than endlessly
repeating, "Come on, Pop!
Come on, Pop!"

Saying the US is the master
of sitcoms is like saying
we're the master of fried
cheese sticks. It's a dubious
accolade for anyone who
doesn't relish a congealed,
greasy mess.

Which means it's the highest
honor for those of us who
relish anything congealed,
greasy, and messy.

Disappointed but hungry,


Fish With Letter Icon
Fish on Fish

Hey -

I wanted to flesh out your
answer to Alan's question. In
matters of theater, one thing
that is of primary importance
is the sense of immediacy.
Theater has compelled
audiences for centuries
because of the way the
performers onstage "converse"
with the audience across what
Brecht called the "mystic
chasm": that gulf between
actor and audience. It
follows, then, that not only
are all productions of
Hamlet different but that
all performances of a single
run of Hamlet are, in and of
themselves, different. There
is an art to play writing and an
art to acting, but the
complete artwork of theater
does not occur until the
piece is performed.

I imagine that the live
performance of classical
music and dance carries the
same visceral impact of
immediacy. Film and
television are drastically
different. There is never an
illusion of immediacy. There
is never an illusion of
mutability. Each shot has
been set up, every frame of
reality bears the stamp of
having been created, and the
viewer knows that repeating
the presentation will not
cause it to evolve. In fact,
these days we can pause,
reverse, skip ahead, and
otherwise control the way in
which the "art" is presented.

As film is set in stone when
it is finished, it seems more
wrenching when a piece of
film work is remade. But it
seems to me that theater
needs that constant
reinvention, if only to
retest and reevaluate the
vision of the playwright.

Jason Linkins

Nicely put. Know of any good
plays coming out West
sometime soon?

Speaking of which, if anyone
anywhere hasn't seen Danny
Hoch in anything, go see him.

Bored and too reinvented,


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Dead fish floating
in a toilet

Sorry to hear about your
goldfish. I used to try to
keep fish, but slowly and
inevitably their scales would
begin to soften into a mush and
then fall off, except for
an angelfish (imaginatively
named Angel) that lived for
about five years. I have the
feeling he/she was poisoning
the others to get more food.
It was a large fish. Anyway,
my point is, one time I went
to a creek near my house with
a fishbowl and some corn
meal. I put the corn meal in
the bottom of the bowl, then
put the bowl in the creek
with the opening catching the
stream. It also caught about
a thousand minnows. As the
bowl filled, they managed to
displace nearly all the water
in the bowl. Proudly, I took
the fish-packed bowl home and
placed it on the bar. They
all died within the hour.
Fish not only need clean
water but air as well, I
learned. This is not to imply
that you would have done any
of these things to your
beloved goldfish: They're only
related fish stories that
occurred to me.

Mike Widner

I'm not sure who you're
talking to (Emily the
production manager and .alt
tag scribe?), but thanks for
the impromptu fish food for
thought. Sometimes I wonder
whether or not little
children should have pets,
given the fact that so many
of them die in gruesome,
horrible ways. (The pets, not
the little children.) I'll
skip the story about the
mouse I thought might subsist
on zucchini for months. Or
the gerbils whose water
bottle I forgot to refill. Or
the dog that got hit by a car
- nay, a van.

Having pets didn't teach me
responsibility, it taught me
to fear responsibility. It's
kind of like Catholicism,
which doesn't teach purity
and honor so much as it
incites a craving for

Too much information, as
usual. At least now I have an
idea for next week's Filler.

Thanks, man!


Fish With Letter Icon

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