The Fish
for 27 April 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
and
Merrill Gillaspy

Copy Editors









	
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

Worm's-eye View

If you are looking to waste
time reading emails, you can
continue reading.

I covered the Consumer
Electronics Show for Las
Vegas magazine
(no, it's not
free - it's sold all over the
West Coast).

I thought I should sit in on
some of the "conferences" as
part of my duties. I went to
one called "Lazy Interactive
TV" just because the title
was so interesting (I'd never
been to CES before, and the
desperate dealers trying to
find ways to sell their
products are all worried
about this "new medium"
called the Internet).

Anyway, this guy from
Forrester said the following:

"You see, when people watch
TV you might think they are
being lazy. But they aren't.
They are constantly making
decisions with their remote
control; they are
participating. Now what would
happen if we gave them the
option to interact while
purchasing things?

"For instance, what if during
a car commercial they could
click on a button in the
lower corner to see a longer
commercial, one that would
give them a lot more info on
the cars. Because when you
aren't looking for a car,
these commercials mean very
little to you. But what if
you want to buy a car? Then
you are absolutely transfixed
by these commercials." And
then he went into how you
could even buy things by
using your remote.

When this "visionary" began
to take questions, I asked,
"Isn't this basically what
the Internet is? You can go
online and get, say, the
prices of cars any time you
want." He looked kinda pissed
and had no answer, but it was
amusing to see these
"guardians of the established
media" try to come up with
new ways to compete. There is
so much fear. I guess you had
to be there.

<info@delori.com>

Still, there would be some
differences between
interactive TV and the Web -
e.g., broadband media, no
waiting for the TV to boot up
or connect, a remote instead
of a keyboard. All little
things, but they add up and
make TV-surfing far more
appealing to a certain
segment of the market than
Web-surfing will ever be.
Remember, these are the
self-identified "lazy
interactives."

Best,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Subject: Why do you have
links to sites that suck?

Dear Huck,

While I enjoyed reading your
"Worm's-eye View," I
couldn't help but wonder why
you have links to all of
those Web cam sites that
suck. Of course, voyeur that
I am, I had to check them
out.

"lisa!"
<mslisa@io.com>

Three years ago, it seemed
like a brilliant idea. Now
it's a burdensome tradition.

Also, I noticed you have
adopted the naming convention
of various high-tech entities
for your own self-identification
needs and call yourself
"lisa!" How is this
working for you? I ask
because, coincidentally, I
have been thinking of
rebranding myself "Jeffrey!"
even though my name isn't
Jeffrey and I'm not
particularly enthusiastic - I
just think it makes a catchy
byline. Based on your
experiences, do you think I
should do it?

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Huckster,

Thank you for the best single
reference yet. I love that
show. It's giving me the
dream to ditch this social
work stuff and pawn knives on
home shopping, or possibly at
a flea market. Ya gotta start

Eric Meisberger
<xericx@telerama.com>

I don't know - going
professional might take the
joy out of knife collecting,
don't you think? I myself am
going to keep my amateur
status for the time being.
But I guess there are only so
many moderately expensive
knives you can order before
you have to start selling
them back, so who knows? You
might see me at the flea
market pretty soon too.

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Dear Sainted One,

Alas, I think you're behind
the curve on this one. It was
already suggested a couple
years ago that these Web cams
represent the ultimate
security cameras. Stick them
everywhere (well, everywhere
reasonably public) and let
everyone watch them.
Presumably someone will be
watching everywhere sometime,
out of boredom or just to
rest his eyes (as you
suggest, they make fine
screen savers), and you get
the protection of 24-hour
surveillance without Big
Brother watching you. Whether
Big Brother is better or
worse than your bratty
Younger Sister is left as an
exercise for the reader.

Alan Kornheiser
<Askornheiser@prodigy.net>

But that's just another
utilitarian purpose.
Obviously, plenty has been
written about Web cams
already, and I myself wrote
about the potential for
surveillance as entertainment
in one of the first pieces I
ever did for Suck (a
premature eulogy for
America's Most Wanted), back
in the days when Fox's
Busted! specials were still a
gleam in some enterprising
producer's eye.

What I wanted to address in
this piece was the failure of
the Web cam as entertainment
medium, especially given the
amount of coverage
the media has given
entertainment-oriented Web cams
that don't seem to really have much
of a following. That's something I
haven't seen anyone else
write about, so as far as I'm
concerned my place at the
apogee of the curve still
stands.

Best,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Subject: Jennicam mention in
your story

How would you like it if I
blasted you on my Web site
ILuvJenni? You'd probably be
pissed off. Anyway, you are
totally off base on your
highlights within the story
and really should be more
responsible when it comes to
posting facts. I'm not here
to debate with you, don't
even want to acknowledge you,
just wanted to say you are a
scumbag. Have a nice day,
jerks.

<iluvjenni@excite.com>

For the record, we would feel
much more comfortable with
you blasting us on your Web
site than were you to, say,
create an alarmingly devoted,
poorly designed tribute site
to us.

Best,

The Jerks

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


War Stories

Ambrose,

Loved your "War Stories" piece.

The unfortunate bombing of 65
Kosovar refugees by NATO
planes recently highlighted just
how silly we are to believe
what NATO and Ken Bacon tell
us.

After the first reports,
Bacon came out and said,
well, yeah, we were bombing
in the region, but the
civilian deaths were
retribution for bombing a
military convoy - the Serbs
shot 'em. And if they didn't
shoot 'em, well, some
refugees are saying they were
Yugoslavian planes, so that's
a possibility. Ummm, Ken, if
there were any Yugo MIGs
flying sorties these days,
first, we'd know about it and
would have shot them down,
and second, then we're not
really doing our job, are we?
But Bacon knew better. He
just wanted an "out" story in
case the facts got muddled
enough that he could sell it.
It's shameful.

Then the refugees said, yeah,
they were Yugo planes and
helicopters
that bombed us.
Huh? It makes you wonder what
other taller-than-average
tales are being told by the
refugees, who have a
motivation to embellish the
story despite the crap
they're taking from the
Serbs; the Pentagon, who
shied away from any
explanation that suggested
NATO was bombing those we're
supposed to protect; and
NATO.

I'm sure you noticed the news
massage too; the story
changed from one hour to the
next. To listen to a
straight-faced Bacon
consider the idea that Yugo
MIGs did it is just
shameful. If the Serbs
managed to get a MIG in the
air, WHY THE FUCK WOULD THEY
BOMB A REFUGEE CONVOY
ESCORTED BY SERB GROUND
TROOPS?! The lack of logic is
just staggering. I'm no fan
of the Serbs, but I had to
smile when someone suggested
to the Yugo spokesperson that
they were Yugoslavian MIGs
and not NATO planes. He shot
a smiling look at the
questioner, like, hey, do you
think we can fly our planes
up there without getting our
asses shot off? He politely
suggested it was pretty
inconceivable that a Yugo MIG
was responsible.

I'll give Art Bell credit:
He suggested early on in the
bombing that, "In war, the
first casualty is always the
truth." OK, he didn't coin
the phrase, but it's worth
mentioning - and it's
becoming all too true.

Joe in SoCal

I spent much of the day
listening to NPR, and the
various official accounts of
the attack on the convoy and
the bombing of the train
changed so many times I lost
count. But here's the thing:
I'm struggling with my
instinctive belief that
anyone standing in front of a
government microphone is, as
a matter of course, lying
on purpose to achieve
a deliberate end. But I'm
not sure they're that smart -
I mean, war is going to tend
toward the chaotic, so maybe
they're just struggling to
figure it out. Maybe Wesley
Clark is just as lost as I
am. I guess the question is:
Are they bumbling or lying?

Similarly, Dianne Feinstein
told Larry King a couple of
nights ago that the Serbs
were using rape as an
instrument of terror for the
first time in history.
Is this cynical propaganda? Massive
stupidity? Or an innocent
mistake on live TV? I wish I
knew. I definitely wish I knew.

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Dear Sir,

Your criticisms of US
government policy in Kosovo
were relatively fair,
especially compared with some
other critics (e.g., the
International Action Center).
But I think you go a little
too far.

First off, have you heard of
Operation Horseshoe? Maybe
it's NATO propaganda, maybe
it's not, but if Milosevic's
government really concocted a
plan earlier this year to
drive all of Kosovo's
Albanians out of the region,
that's an enormously
destablizing action with a
slippery slope to genocide if
things go wrong (remember, the
Nazis first wanted to deport
the Jews). The Washington
Post
ran an article on it a
couple day ago; you should
check it out.

Secondly, even if you don't
accept that as proof that
Milosevic has genocidal
tendencies, what about his
past history (e.g., Bosnia)?
And what really justifies the
airstrikes is that he's also
proven he doesn't negotiate
in good faith. The
alternative to NATO
airstrikes would be watching
Milosevic's army orchestrate
the expulsion of Kosovo's
Albanians with absolute
impunity. Diplomatic
solutions involving Milosevic
as a negotiator are totally
pointless. Whether or not
this is Rwanda, Milosevic
really is a bad guy; he's no
Hitler, but he's bad enough.

There are tons of recent
examples for which you could
attack the United States for
acting blatantly immorally or
hypocritically, some you
didn't even mention (e.g.,
Guatemala). But this one time
I really believe the primary
motivation of the US
government is moral; if
Rwanda makes you cry, scream,
and vomit, then shouldn't we
attempt to reduce Milosevic's
capacity to destroy? Why sit
here and make another
unenforcable agreement with
him like the one from last
October, only to have him
order Serb police to murder
more villagers?

There has to be a precedent
set by the United States to not
tolerate genocide. I think
part of the reason Clinton is
willing to do it here and now
is because he has the guilt
of hundreds of thousands of
deaths in Rwanda and Bosnia
on his conscience. He's not
as AWOL as Reagan, nor as
disgusting as Ollie North, I
think.

In any case, I can't believe
the Clinton administration
got into this in order to
inflate Al Gore's
foreign-policy image. The
whole situation smacks of
danger signs, and I think the
administration was really
convinced that something like
Bosnia was going to happen
again unless it stepped in.
Can you blame it?

It's a terrible situation,
and it would be a lot easier
to believe the Western forces
involved are as cynically
motivated here as they are in
Iraq. But that's too easy; it
takes a lot to unite France,
the German Greens, the Clinton
administration, and me. The
moral (as opposed to
practical) arguments I've
heard against the initial
decision to bomb just aren't
convincing.

Hoi Polloi
<saurav.sarkar@yale.edu>

Sorry to take forever getting
back to you, but I got
(roughly) a million email messages
about this one. And I'm not
even arguing, mostly. It's
probably fair to say I went
too far - or better to say
I was a bit careless in
premising the whole thing on
the (really kind of
indisputable) fact that the
Serbs are doing some horrible
things in Kosovo.

But I do think the NATO
leadership - and particularly
our own leaders in the United
States - offered a glib,
marginally accurate
explanation about both the
problem and the possible
consequences for
intervention. And it seems
fair to say they took a lazy
view of the thing; witness
the leaked story in The
Washington Post
saying that
the Secretary of State was
completely convinced that
Milosevic would cave with the
first round of bombs. I
think we want to do the moral
thing without the moral
struggle; we want the credit
for taking action without a
whole lot of risk. The
Germans have invaded Poland -
let's bomb their ground
radar.

Ambrose Beers

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Worm's-eye View

The other thing I've noticed
is that the allegedly
nonporno cams all have the "This
is a slice of life - what
happens, happens" FAQ. Then,
if you look in their
archives, the first four days
of "programming" are email
checking, and the fifth day
is the friends coming over to
play Naked Twister.

<Richard.Scruggs@BOTCC.com>

That's what makes Web cams
such interesting sociological
tools. Prior to their advent
we really had no idea of
knowing how much Naked
Twister was actually being
played out there.

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I was intrigued by the piece
where Jenny complained she
was broke. So I brought that
up while talking to friends
this morning. As you might
expect in this business, a
friend of a friend knows her
and said she lives near K
Street in my native
Washington, DC. To say this
is a high-rent area of our
town is like saying a
building on Central Park in
Manhattan is a little pricey.
One would expect rents in
that neck of the woods to be
around $2,000 to $3,000 per
month. I can imagine she
thinks she's broke. It's all
relative.

Don Smith
<dsmith@qrc.com>

You know, this brings up an
interesting question: Does
she get to write off rent and
everything else as expenses
that are material to her
business? Or maybe her site's
a nonprofit; I'm not sure how
that works tax-wise. I wish
one of those TV newsmagazines
that are always featuring her
would actually do some real
investigative reporting on
the interesting questions
about her enterprise.

Best,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

 The Shit
Left for Dead in Malaysia, Neil Hamburger, Drag City, 1999
The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink, Mark Dery, Grove/Atlantic, 1999
Crazy from the Heat, David Lee Roth, Hyperion, 1998
Keep It Like a Secret, Built to Spill, WEA/Warner Brothers, 1999
Abbott's Pizza Company, near the corner of Abbott-Kinney and California, Venice Beach, Los Angeles (delivery hours limited)
Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd, CD remaster, EMI 1994
Motorhead, CD remasters, all
Det Som Engang Var, Burzum, Misanthropy, 1998
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Nashville, Tennessee
A History of the Modern Fact, Mary Poovey, University of Chicago Press, 1998
V., Thomas Pynchon, HarperCollins Publishers, 1999
The Coffee Mill, Emeq Refaim, Jerusalem, Israel
The Salesman and Bernadette, Vic Chesnutt, Capricorn Records, 1998
Good Morning Spider, Sparklehorse, Cema/Capitol, 1999
Third Floor, Anderson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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