The Fish
for 30 March 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

Follow the Money

Dear Sainted One:

The Net is a pretty good
place to buy books, and
impulse purchases of books is
a good thing. In my case, it
actually encourages the
purchase of fairly serious
books: I read articles, think
I'd like to know more, but
have never really gotten
around to tracking down the
original source and don't
know if even a good bookstore
would carry it. Now I just
click. The resulting pile
provides a good opportunity
for the cat to knock things
down. But they do get read.
Mostly. Often on airplanes.
But they do eventually get

It's also an unbelievably
good way to buy rare,
scholarly, used, and
out-of-print books. Put a
request into several
different search engines,
typically run by the
e-bookstores, and back comes
a list of people offering the
book, at a range of prices
and conditions. For an
academic, it's heaven.

But it's not a very
profitable business. How much
can the middleman make in the
sale of used trees? Not much.
Check the stock prices for
Federal Express (FDX) and its
revenue stream; compare to
similar delivery services -
out in the real world, nobody
thinks enough stuff is really
going to be delivered to
matter all that much. The
stock is at an all-time high,
but it's up maybe 60 percent
from when all this e-commerce
stuff started. This is God's
(or the market's; choose your
faith) way of telling you
what is a bubble and what

Yes, there really is money to
be made here. And, in fact,
when we get the bugs worked
out and start delivering
music and books as bits and
not trees, there will still
be money to be made. And
probably the bulk of the
money will be made by a few
large, sophisticated, and
highly trusted venues. Which
is why Amazon does need to
keep its name in front of us,
and why it so stupidly
sacrificed the public's faith
for a few co-op dollars. But
whatever. It's not going to
support the current pricing.
Again, just look at the
pricing now happening in the
used-book market; true
universal frictionless
competition drives prices

So relax. You're not missing
any important boats. When it
all comes tumbling down, a
serious smartass can always
make a living.

PS You may want to take
this forecast with a grain of
salt. I am, after all, the
guy who correctly diagnosed
that Dell had a winning formula
back in 1983 and was talked
out of buying the stock by
someone who - I sincerely
hope - is roasting merrily
in purgatory right now.

Alan Kornheiser

I agree that the Web
revolutionizes book
purchasing, of both new and
used titles, and I use it
regularly for such purposes.
But while this piece, like
most everything I write, was
mostly written "for
entertainment purposes only,"
I do think books are perhaps
not the best commodity on
which to judge the overall
efficacy of e-commerce.

And even though Amazon's
future may be bright, I think
its stock is priced too high
for me to make much of a
killing off it; I'd probably
be able to afford 50 shares
or so. Thus, I'm looking for
the Next Big Thing, before it
gets too big. If I find it,
I'll be sure to pass it along
to you.



Fish With Letter Icon

St. Huck,

Here's an observation along
the same lines of your recent
article. The credit card
population, comprised of
those who obviously already
have a spending problem, is
the target of an advertising
campaign via - of all
things - their credit card
bill. Hell, we've already
spent money, why not spend
more? It's sick.

I loved the article. Keep up
the good work!

Jennifer Monk

Back in 1996, I tried to
convince the Web development
company I was then working
for that we should pitch Visa
on creating a personalizable
portal site - the ads and
content people got would be
based on their purchases. As
usual, no one listened to me.

Bitter and broke,


Fish With Letter Icon

I was reading your Follow the
Money column and it reminded
me of the other night when I
was trying to explain one of
the reasons Paul Verhoeven's
Starship Troopers sucked so
bad. (This in addition to the
acting, the directing, the
screenwriting, the unbridled
joy in Fascism, and the
horrific thought that someone
gave the director of
Showgirls more money.) The
news broadcasts in ST are
obviously supposed to be
similar to the comic ones in
RoboCop (also directed by
Verhoeven), but since we've
all given up thinking the
media is honest, accurate, or
driven by anything other than
greed, it just doesn't seem
sarcastic any more. We all
assume the media is heavily
censored and biased. When we
see someone trying to parody
it, we roll our eyes and say,
"Yeah, that's how they
getcha," and go back to Nick
at Nite. Mind you, I do spend
my free time reading Suck and
not protesting or changing
the world or some shit, so
maybe you shouldn't listen to

Yer loyal pal,


What was that you said? I
kind of tuned out after the
Showgirls slight.


Fish With Letter Icon

You know, the whole Amazon
cross-marketing idea you have
there is a pretty damn good
one, and if I were you, I'd
try selling Amazon on it before
someone else does. Capitalism
may be wasteful and annoying,
but why not actually be rich
instead of whining about all
the people who are?

All you need is a good
contact in the Amazon
marketing department,
preferably a senior VP or
whatnot and a couple of
minutes to talk it over. I'd
say make him sign a
confidentiality agreement
that states if Amazon does it,
it owes you money, but since
you've already "leaked" it on
Suck, you probably shot that
out the window.

Good luck making your money
for nothing!


"Leaked"? Andrew, I've been
pissing away million-dollar
ideas on Suck for over three
years now, all because I'm
too lazy to write a business
plan. But I still cherish the
notion that one day Bill
Gross will rescue me from all

Turning whine into fodder,


Fish With Letter Icon

It may not be that simple.
For years, I have been
wondering why people pay
money to companies to wear
their logo (Nike, Tommy
Hilfiger, Fubu, etc.). As an
entrepreneur, I announced
several years ago that I
would gladly wear the
T-shirts and other clothing
items of any company that
sent them to me free. Well,
no one has beaten a path to
my door. And, as for my plan
to get Coca-Cola to buy me a
car if I have it painted with
its corporate logo, nothing
doing either. I would gladly
drive a car with all kinds of
ads on it, if it were given
to me free. After all, I only
use it outdoors, guaranteeing
maximum exposure. I'm not
sure I have a real point, but
if you would like to
advertise yours, I'm sure we
could come to some kind of
agreement. This space
available for advertisements,

Mathieu Weill

If you promise to sing the
Suck jingle nonstop while
wearing your Suck T-shirt, we
might give you one free. No
guarantees, though; you've
got to have the right look
and the right voice.


Fish With Letter Icon

Actually, Huck, I think most
of us who signed up for a
free PC are planning to
reformat the thing's disks in
direct violation of the
agreement and turn it into a
Web server for our shapely if
unlikely girlfriends'
softcore exhibitionism sites,
with a "we ripped off FREEPC"
banner and everything.

Given that possession is
nine-tenths of the law, I
say: Always take something
for nothing if you can screw
them out of their upside.


Do you think it's that easy
or are there ways they're
able to prevent, or at least
discourage, you from doing

In any case, please send me
the URL when you get those
pix of your girlfriend up.


Fish With Letter Icon

Sex Crazy



Yes, yes, of course. But the
quote marks - not to mention
the exclamation point! -
worry me. Is this ironic
discourse or the real McCoy?

Cracking my knuckles and
jumping for joy,

Mr. M.

Fish With Letter Icon

The story about sex on TV is
interesting, and the
thing was a good one, but the
mean-spiritedness toward
Monica L. is frankly
unattractive. "Rearward like
a cow in estrus,"
"presidential ashtray and
autosuck device" - that's
just slightly advanced
frat-boy humor. It's ugly, and
it's not even funny.

Gloria Fisk

Hmm, didn't I cover the
inherent ugliness of much
so-called comedy a while
? And Mr. M. wonders, Ms.
Fisk - if that is your real
name - how you can be
offended by his scientific
description of Monica L. but
not by the gratuitous
flogging of the Luvvly
Linder? Mr. M., FWIW, does
not approve of frats, boys,
or the advancement of either.
But let him be clear in the
third person: Monica L.'s
description of how,
Circe-like, she beguiled That
Man in the White House
precisely tracks along
well-observed mammalian
mating patterns.


Mr. M.

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Double-entendre

"... rehashing the tired
adage that inevitably infects
all writing about the boob
tube ..."

Really, now it's a boob of a
different color, isn't it?
Maybe that's the key. Our
late-baby boomer TV producers
grew up with fathers
who swilled beer on Saturday
afternoons and thought their kids
should be helping them
repair the car rather than
watching Davy Crockett.
They'd yell, "Quit watching the
boob tube and hand me a
quarter-inch socket." Which,
of course, impressed
youngsters who were just
beginning to realize the
value of their own
quarter-inch sockets. Thus,
we have the double-entendre
excerpted from your article
(and HBO's recent movie,
Breast Men). Keep it coming.

Tim Wagner

By any chance, were you the
inspiration for "The Cat's in
the Cradle"? Just wondering.
Comrade Wagner gets at some
uncomfortable truths - the
sort of truths that led to
all the major witnesses of
the JFK assassination and the
principals of the movie
Poltergeist getting killed or worse
(in the latter category is
Craig T. Nelson, who suffered
the crime of being tailed by
Jerry Van Dyke for years).
Tread softy, Timmy: You're on
dangerous ground, and Lassie
has been cancelled.

Whisperingly, Mr. M.

Fish With Letter Icon

the complusory summer sex
issue ... aka the tv-sex ...
gliding the lily livered
there, eh ...

is bbad. personally, i
perferr blood to casual sex.
humor is low, low low. on the

pat donovan

What part of "gilding" don't
you understand, Mr. Donovan
- if that is your real name?
And what kind of crazy world
are you living in where blood
and casual sex constitute
mutually exclusive

Mr. M.

Fish With Letter Icon

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