The Fish
for 23 March 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
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Crop the Presses

Subject: Down Croppie, lie
down! (Suck, 9 March 1999)

I was surprised to see Hunter
S. Thompson's Fear and
Loathing on the Campaign
clocking in at No. 100.
I'm sure it was fun to read
back in the day, but like so
many things from that period
- Rod McKuen, The Dancing Wu
Li Masters,
anything by Tom
Wolfe before the rocket men
book, old Doonesbury strips -
they don't age well. Personally,
I'd rate Thompson's book
on the Hell's Angels as superior

The other issue I have with
NYU's top 100 pieces of
journalism is that it
short-shrifts on-the-spot
reporting. There weren't any
mentions of radio broadcasts
in the top 100. What about
Herb Morrison's "Oh, the
humanity" broadcast of the
Hindenburg disaster? And more
recently, George Holliday's
amateur videotape of the
Rodney King beating, which
directly led to the LA riots
- wasn't this just as
important as anything that
Tom Wolfe has ever written?

I'm tired of organizations
and cliques trying to
establish cred by writing a
list. That is intellectually
lazy. What would be far and
away more interesting is if
these special interest groups
said, "This is what we know,
and this is where we learned

Simon Adkins

Actually, there were two
radio broadcasts on the list,
both by Edward Murrow. But
you're right about the
amateur videotape - as the
precursor to all the "World's
Most" shows dominating the
airwaves currently, it should
have been recognized.



Fish With Letter Icon

Good article, but a question
arises: Are there specific
articles by "CEOs, nurses,
feminists, homosexuals,
chemists, chip fabricators,
priests, sitcom stars, tree
huggers, and ESPN
enthusiasts" that you believe
should have been included in
this top 100 list? Or are you
simply objecting that "only
15 were created by women;
minorities were similarly

If the latter, this seems an
odd argument; since
journalism has been
traditionally dominated by
white men (but lesser
so today), it's not
surprising they ended up
writing most of the articles
and even most of the "top"

This doesn't mean that
there's no disparity, but are
you suggesting they should
have included journalism
pieces by ethnicity and
gender as opposed to their
own guidelines (however
insulated and elitist those
guidelines may have been)?

Shawn Metcalf

No. When I talk about "CEOs,
nurses," etc., I'm referring
to readers, not authors. That
is - wouldn't all these
people with an interest in
the topics that the list
ignores be upset? If the list
were about "best" journalism,
then subject matter would
perhaps be inconsequential -
perhaps through some quirk of
fate all of the most
technically accomplished,
diligently investigated, and
formally innovative
journalism has been done
while covering war and
politics. But since it's
about "top" journalism, to me
that implies that part of
what is being measured is the
cultural importance of a
given story and the impact on
the culture that that story
had. And, thus, the list's
failure to include journalism
about so many important
subject categories is one of
its flaws - and that has
nothing to do with the ethnicity
and gender of its authors or
whether or not any of them
were ever sitcom stars.


Fish With Letter Icon

Uh ... whatever. You guys had
been on a roll lately, but I
think today's column was the
end of the line for that
particular groove. The only
thing more tedious and tired
than the media analyzing
itself is the new media
analyzing the old media
analyzing itself (and
inevitably criticizing them
for doing a shitty job of


Other stuff that's tedious:
letters that begin "Uh ...
whatever." Also, ones that
include the phrase, "The only
thing more tedious and tired



Fish With Letter Icon
Generation Hex

Although I'm sure you're all
sick and tired of getting
email about this Gen X poetry
thing, I would really like to
put my 2 cents in.

Yes, it is shallow and
egotistical of the boomers to
call Gen X post-boomer; just
like it's shallow and
egotistical of Gen X to think
it is the only generation
that has to deal with being

I've got news for you Xers, the
boomers are nothing compared
to the hype X receives. I'm
20 years old, I barely
remember Schoolhouse Rock, I
never had to wear bell
bottoms as a child, and I
thought that movie Reality
was awful. Many people
my age think they are Gen X,
but the truth is they
aren't. I don't identify with
Gen X at all. Don't get me
wrong, some of my best
friends are Gen X, but I am
definitely not.

However, every time some new
Gen X thing hits the streets,
I have to hear about it
constantly. After all, most
people think I'm a member. At
least the post-boomers are
identified as a separate
generation. My generation
seems doomed to be known as
Gen X's younger brothers and

Liz Cantrell

Jeez, Liz, you might as well
be starving to death in
Tzarist Russia for all the
hardship you're going
through. Is there anything we
can do to help?

Yr pal,

an elderly man on a fixed

Fish With Letter Icon


The following is a letter I
wrote to Marlow Peerse Weaver
after reading the recent
interview you published with
him. The perception of young
poets has really started (as
I state in the email) to piss
me off. I started writing it
as a defense, and it sort of
turned into a manifesto, so I
thought I'd send it to you
guys too to see if you'd
publish it and find out what kind of
reaction it would get. Thanks
for providing the impetus.

Dear Sir,

I just read an interview with
you in some online journal,
and I would like to tell you
something about Gen X poetry.
I am (by birth, not by any
willing association) a member
of Generation X, and I am a
poet. I do not do improvised,
spontaneous poetry. Though I
do write free verse, I have
been experimenting recently
with metrical forms such as
the sonnet and the
villanelle. I study people
like Galway Kinnel, Robert
Lowell, Lord Tennyson, and
Homer. I am a serious (though
not especially good) poet,
not one of these
therefore-cool poets. Hell, I
actually try to use imagery.

But thanks to people like you
who promulgate this Gen X
crap, no one takes me (or
other people my age)
seriously. Whenever I try to
discuss the writing of poetry
with almost anyone, from my
professors to actual poets, I
get a look that makes me feel
embarrassed to have brought
up the subject. I am sick of
this poetry slam stereotype
that seems to be attached to
anyone in my generation.

What I would like to see is a
book of modern poetry done
by people under the age of
30 that is actually quality
verse. I personally know a
few people (and I'm sure that
my little circle of friends
isn't the extent of us) that
try to write real poetry, not
this soulless, unpoetic
garbage that most members of
my generation turn out.

I realize that I sound as if
I am whining and as if I feel
misunderstood (typical of my
generation, in your view, I
suppose), but I think there
is an honest movement of
poetics among some Gen Xers.
In fact, there are several
people I have spoken to who
agree with this. As a whole,
we are tired of being
labeled performance poets
simply because we were born
in the '70s and write

If you feel I am being
unfair, please contact me and
defend yourself. I would very
much like to hear your side
of the story. I would also
very much like for people to
recognize that just because I
am 20 years old doesn't mean
I'm excluded from being a
serious poet.


Joshua Tabor Williams

Why so defensive? If I want
to write a book about
peaches, should plums be
offended that the peaches are
getting more press and now
everyone thinks a plum is a

I like peaches better anyway,
come to think of it.

How's that for imagery,


Fish With Letter Icon

House Divided

The prez has driven the
Republican Party as well as
the national press stark
raving mad ... and it was a
short drive.


But a scenic route, yes?

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: You're My Jesus

OK, just kidding.

I liked the comparison with
elections in Iran -
entertaining and informative.

'Course, here in the US of A,
"power" means one thing:
money. And that's where the
fringe right kicks ass.
Nothing shakes bucks out of
the trees like fear-mongering
politicos and televangelism.
Thus, a minority viewpoint
can gain disproportionate
attention from party
leadership by quite
literally buying its way in
- a much more effective
method than Stalinist
"nullifications." And with
the cost of "free" elections
skyrocketing ($2 million for
a Senate seat, and that's the
ante, not the table limit),
hate-peddlers like Ralph Reed
and Pat Robertson will
continue to sit on the dias
with the Righteous Pillars of
Upstanding Moral Rectitude
that make up the GOP.

Me, I'm a Federalist. We
haven't had a candidate
since ... oh ... well, not
since John Quincy disgraced
his father and joined the
Whigs, the rapscallion. It's been
a long, dry spell for us. But
if Bob Tilton can buy us a
spot on cable TV, we're
willing to reconsider our
long-held positions on the
gold standard and free trade
with France.

P.S. Check out the reader
reviews (before they get
deleted) at:

Rob Seulowitz

Well, sure, but nothing
shakes money out of a tree,
either, like self-interest.
I'm pretty sure the
Republican Party could do
pretty well with corporate
contributions and cash from
folks who want to pay lower
taxes without the sweaty
coins from the collection
plate. Money is power, but
power usually means a chance
to make more money.

Whigging out,

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon

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