The Fish
for 12 March 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 
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Virgin Territory

You make a compelling
argument. However, I must say
it's unfair to dismiss A. C.
Green's opinion of sex simply
because he hasn't tried it
himself. One doesn't need to
try shooting heroin or
striking oneself on the head
with a hammer in order to say
these are bad things.

A. C. Green saw firsthand
what extramarital sex did to
Magic Johnson's life. And if
he has remained steadfast for
so long, I'm sure he has many
other reasons for abstinence
that might be worth listening
to, if only for the reason
that he walks the talk and
doesn't seem condescending
about it.

Courtney Cason
<courtneyx.cason@intel.com>

Dear Courtney,

I'm very much of the opinion
one needs to try heroin (and
hammer smashing) when it
comes to making definitive
statements, especially so
with abstinence. I believe it
was Aristotle who counseled
moderation in all things
(except moderation, of
course). And he should know;
not only did he play point
guard for the Syracuse
Nationals, he never got laid
until he was too old to enjoy
it.

Magic Johnson's official
story - and if the Clinton
presidency proves anything,
it's that the official story
is always absolutely true,
assuming you know what I mean
by "true" - is that he never
cheated on the missus. And
that his HIV is cured. And
that his TV show was a hit.

And before you go down - er,
get down - on extramarital
sex, please remember that
many people get to know their
future spouses through such
endeavors.

Mr. M

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I enjoy your commentary quite
a bit, and the whole Wired
family of stuff is neat.

I'm writing as a result of
your 26 February column on
virginity.

I guess it's a result of
freedom that you and others
are able to promote
promiscuity to all when it is
so clearly damaging and
wrong. But for you to
belittle those who try to
remind the public why
premarital chastity is
correct is sickening.

If you ignore the religious
reasons (and since your
writings are atheistic, I
assume you do), the social
reasons for avoiding
premarital sex are
compelling: Sex crimes are
higher than ever, true
nuclear families are
disappearing rapidly,
abortion (i.e., murder) rates
are ridiculously high,
bastard kids form the
majority of births, STDs are
rampant, etc. We're watching
society destroy itself as a
result of this lifestyle. If
you want to see the end
result, there are plenty of
examples in history to look
at.

If you add the religious
reasons, things get worse. I
can accept that you reject what is
so obviously right and live
life to satisfy your carnal
desires, which will
ultimately lead to eternal
unhappiness. But it is
disturbing when you start to
call what is right wrong and
what is wrong right. Accept
that you promote an evil
lifestyle and be done with
it.

Take care,

Ben Galbraith
<ben@galbraiths.org>

Dear Ben,

The Bible - which, according
to a new ad campaign, was
basically written by Jon
Lovitz - contains numerous
episodes of extramarital,
premarital, and nonmarital
thigh-slapping. Chastity,
like Sonny & Cher, must be
enjoyed within a specific
context. Your brief trot
through sex stats reminds us
that a millennium is
approaching, but the concern
is overstated: Divorce rates,
for instance, started
climbing around 1850 and have
actually leveled off during
the past two decades; kids
are having sex less often
than they were 20 years ago;
and there's no evidence that sex
crimes are on the
rise - except within a
one-block area in inner-city
Washington, D.C.
(though the reporting of
such is clearly more
widespread).

As a technical virgin who has
been married for more than 200
years, I'm not so quick to
call premarital sex evil. But
I am willing to go on the
record suggesting that you would
start to think about murder
if locked in a conference
room, where Wendy Shalit was
doing her Little LuLu bump
and grind about how she's
just a girl who can't say
yes.

And remember, you can't spell
"evil" without an "i".

Mr. M

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

You can attack Shalit all you
want, but I see through it. I
see through everything you
yellow cynics deign to post
on your Web site, allegedly
for our enjoyment and
edification. In this
particular case, you're
trying to justify your sexual
ambitions to yourself by
violating the self-promoting
innocence of the lovely Miss
Shalit.

It was a good article. I'm
giving you a hard time
because I know you like it.

erich von hollander

P.S. Please don't publish my
email address. I hate spam.

Hey erich von stroheim,

I loved you in Grand Illusion and old
Bonanza reruns. I knew you'd
see through it. Hell, I'd be
disappointed if you hadn't.
And I don't need anything
more than my own left hand to
justify my sexual ambitions
to myself. Succumb to Spam -
it's the best part of the
slaughterhouse, all packed
into a nice tin can.

Mr. M

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I am confused as to how
anyone could condemn celibacy
or modesty in the unfunny way
you did. Let me see: Not to
be willing to take the risk
of contracting a sexually
transmitted disease is
considered less appealing (so
to speak) than simply using
the latest gimmick to try to
avoid getting one as best you
can. And making the choice
to hold oneself until you are
married is less appealing
than, say, testing out the
waters until you somehow luck
upon the right person.

I am a 42-year-old nonvirgin,
but as a Christian I have
chosen celibacy - not from the
perspective of someone who
has never tasted of the
apple but from the
perspective of someone who
picked many apples and baked
a pie or two. If I could go
back, I would
choose abstinence. If I
could avoid the price I've
paid for not waiting and for
not staying celibate, I would
gladly start again.

I tip my hat to young men and
women who have once again
found modesty and decency in
a world full of
self-righteous know-it-all
heathens such as yourself. I
feel sorry for the young (or
whatever age) women who might
cross your path in the future
and for those who have
crossed your path in the
past. Try asking some of
those women you slept with
and are no longer involved
with how they really feel
about sharing the most
intimate part of themselves
with someone who is now no
longer a part of their lives.

The Bible says, "The people
perish from lack of
knowledge," and following any
advice you might give, they will
most certainly be put on the
soon-to-be-extinct list.

Sleeping with someone you are
not married to was wrong in
the past, it is wrong today,
and it will continue to be
wrong in the future. The
repercussions on a young
person's life are
irreversible. The fact that
everyone does it does not
make it right and never will.
Criticizing young people for
taking a stand (which is
their right) and attempting
to lead other young people
along an honorable path is
despicable.

I won't comment on the women
in your family, but I wonder
about them. Most certainly, there
is a woman in your life to whom
you might say, "Perhaps it
might be better to wait."
Would you want your daughter
sleeping around or saving
herself? How about your
sister or even your mother?
I'm pretty sure somewhere in
your family tree there is a
female relative waiting for
you in the hereafter, prepared
to slap your face. Hats off
to the virgins of the world!

Jacqui Knight

Jacqui,

Some people choose celibacy
and others have it thrust upon
them (or, more correctly,
fail to have anything thrust
upon them). Was it Aristotle or
Tom Petty who counseled that
the wayyyting is the hardest
part? Regardless, you're
correct that waiting
heightens pleasure; some
brands of cigarettes are, in
fact, alive with pleasure; and
for women - particularly
women who are either sisters,
mothers, or dead - having sex
was wrong in the past, is
wrong in the present, and
will, assuming Al Gore is
elected president in 2000,
continue to be wrong in the
future. For these reasons
alone, I tip my hat (a purple
derby) to you.

Mr. M

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 
Hit & Run

Subject: Gack! No more media
on media!

Dear Sucksters,

The bit on Purple Moon in
today's Hit & Run left me
gagging. I am tired of
listening to self-conscious
journalists slam each other
for not getting the story
right, screwing up their
fact-checking, or trying
to cover up a stupid mistake
(I am referring, of course,
to Suck's obsessing over the
linked or mislinked Purple
Moon articles in The Wall
Street Journal
.) Outside of
journalists, who gives a
damn? So the WSJ screwed up
and tried to cover its
tracks. Big deal! Bashing
the WSJ looks as jealousy-
driven as bashing Wired Digital.
It's an easy and tired
routine.

The big point of the Purple
Moon story is that a market
research-based company that
sought to dominate an
as-yet-untapped market (girls
and computer games) went
belly up because it put
aside innovation for
marketing and created
products that sucked -
probably because of, rather
than in spite of, all of Paul
Allen's money. At any rate,
that's a story any one who
reads Commodify Your Dissent
(Suck's demographic?) could
feel smug about. Hooray! An
example of market-based
failure in a market economy!

All bitching aside, the rest
of today's Hit & Run was
pretty damn funny,
particularly the interview
with the Generation X poetry
impresario. Thanks!

Wesley Hall
<whall@sirius.com>

Wesley,

You have a point, but you're
missing one crucial factor:
We don't care if nobody
except other journalists
cares about this stuff,
because it's precisely by
tweaking those other
journalists that we generate
buzz and cred and get noticed
for the higher-paying jobs we
so covet. I'd also say Suck
has become less obsessed with
minor journalistic
peccadilloes over the years.

And come on - another
reference to The Baffler? Am
I completely alone in my
belief that The Baffler is
worthless? Am I the only one
who noticed their little
mission statement saying, "We
call our research methods
'thinking.' We call our
journalism 'writing'"? Yuck!

Yr pal,

Bartel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Not to be a smartass, but I
was just punching in names
for Web sites and you guys
came up. What the hell is it
about?

<Stky48@aol.com>

What is it with this rash of
people writing in with
variations on the claim, "I
was just typing random
letters in the URL field and
suddenly by happenstance the
letters S-U-C-K formed in a
row, and the next thing I
knew, your site came up!"
Can't you just come out and
say, "Where's the porn?"

Yr pal,

Bartel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Having been in Germany the
past couple of years, my link to
the finger on the pulse of
America is Suck. I just
returned from a few days in
Dublin and was finally able
to see this Ally McBeal show
that has been featured many a
time. I know it goes against
your review-BEFORE-seeing
policy, but my impression of
the show was that everyone
was speaking in Capt. J. T.
Kirk staccato: "I ... I had a
great time ... tonight ...
even ... though you're ...
you're only 15 and all." Do
they always talk like this?

Tom out
Thomas G. Horvath
<thorvath@mpil-schlitz.mpg.de>

How are we supposed to know?
None of us has ever seen it.

Yr pal,

Bartel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Rimbaud? RIMBAUD? You guys
have got to get out more. And
since when does Tim read
medieval French?

Alan

Rimbaud is 19th-century
French and, as far as I
know, still an inspiration
for teenage versifiers
exploring the darker reaches
of adolescent genius. A few
years ago he was even played
by Leonardo DiCaprio, with
Leo at his poetic foxiest!

You may be thinking of
Villon, the "Snows of
Yesteryear" guy.

Yr pal,

tim

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Dear Bartel,

I found a quote I thought you
might enjoy. Germany's
foreign minister Joschka
Fischer was interviewed on
national TV last Tuesday in
Rambouillet and was asked if
the coalition between the
European Union and the United
States was crumbling. He
responded, "I sat next to Ms.
Albright the whole day and
didn't notice any crumbling."
Is it time to consider a
politics-related version of
Ditherati?

Greetings from the olde
worlde,

d.pool
<dh_@gmx.net>

D.,

Madeline Albright is way
cool. Did you catch her at
the Kosovo peace talks,
wearing a cowboy hat and a
smart suit? That's the way
every American statesperson
should dress, if you ask me.
See the current issue of Life
magazine for an action photo
of Clinton teaching her how
to bowl while Hillary, arms
folded, looks on from a
distance. She's a team player and
a compact powerhouse who
doesn't mince words with
despots! In short, Albright
fills my diplomatic pouch!

Yr pal,

Bartel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

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