The Fish
for 7 May 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

 

[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor

 

[Brian Forsyth]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor

 

[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

Bit Rot

Sucksters:

Having been a part of the
Digital Revolution since 1994
(and still no part of any IPO
and as broke as always), I do
take (albeit limited)
objections with your swipe at
Negroponte. In late '94 and
early '95, no one was laying
any sort of groundwork for
what the hell the Web or a
digital future meant. I sat
in countless meetings with
Fortune 100 senior management
teams with malodorous
propeller heads who spoke in
code that no one understood.
Being Digital was a lot like a
Dick & Jane book for the
time. It gave its readers
some sort of grounding as
to what the hell this
"Web thing" (I miss Bush!)
was and allowed for some sort
of baseline thinking to be
put in place.

On top of that, technology
forums (with CEOs and VPs of
the same companies whose
meetings I attended) were
rife with pundits who
disappeared up their own
assholes as they tried to
come across as having a clue
as to what the future would
hold. Negroponte was the only
one to get out from behind
the podium and speak in very
real-world applications of
the Web and its impact.
Commerce, portals, and the
youth of the world driving
the change were his topics (I
remember this from my notes
of an Atlanta conference in
April '95). Granted, smart
shoes and personal networks
were a little too George
Jetson for me, as was his
direct swipe of Apple's
Knowledge Navigator.

Negroponte is not all that
evil. The Juan Antonio
Smaranch aspect to his
lifestyle doesn't jibe with
mine, but so be it. (Please
show me one of the original
Well founders and I'm sure
you'll find a cellar full of
overpriced wine and a
collection of obscure and
arcane social habits and
beliefs.) Hell, Al Shugart
(inventor of the disk drive)
ran his dog for Congress
every two years and had a
syndicated cartoon produced
about the dog. How goddamned
pretentious is that?

The book, for the time it was
published - as with Wired
articles (oftentimes there
are only one or two things of
value in that ever-sagging
magazine) - served its
purpose.

Bye Nick, and I do miss you.
I didn't believe a lot of
what you put forward, but it
was nice to have you around -
sort of like that crazy uncle
we all have.

Martin C. Flaherty
<mflaherty@elementalinteractive.com>

No one said a thing about
evil. And not everyone has a
crazy uncle who's nice to
have around. Some people's
crazy uncles molest them.
Some people would really
prefer not to have their
crazy uncles around at all,
ever.

But mostly we can't get over
the fact that you took notes
at a conference.

You dork.

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Subject: 100 percent Trench
Coat Mafia free!!

"Bit Rot": Whoa!
Thanks for pointing out that
Negroponte is a Panglossian
schmeedle. That was so, like,
not glaringly obvious. I also
like how Mark Dery mentions
Hiroshima, Bhopal and
Chernobyl (Dude! You forgot
the Exxon Valdez!),
unemployed blue-collar types,
and maquiladora workers (I
bet he uses authentic
pronunciation when he says
maquiladora too, to show his
authentic fight-the-power
attitude). Big questions
remain: Does Mr. Dery know how
to pronounce bathos? What
straw man will Suck
shamelessly set alight next
(idea for Monday's Suck: Dan
Quayle is dumb)? And finally,
does Tom Frank know you're
stealing his schtick?

Just wondering.

Darin H.,
Bitter & Isolated

Your fit of spleen afforded
much merriment, albeit
unwittingly. I take your
point, and have given myself
a Michael Fay-style caning
in penance - or would have,
had you not driven home your
point with the subtlety of a
flying mallet. Indeed, how
grindingly tedious of me to
have invoked the environmental
disasters that make a mockery of
Negroponte's line of bull, or
the maquiladora workers who
aren't well served by the New
World Order of Wired
cybercapitalism. Shedding
bleeding-heart tears for
what Kipling called "the
lesser breed without the law"
is, like, so over, dude.
Even so, if you weren't quite so
self-assured in your
off-the-rack McAlienation,
you'd recollect in tranquility
that Negroponte, for all his
obvious obsolescence,
continues to cast a long
shadow over our collective
discussion of who we are and
where we're going, and
therefore merits criticism.
But who am I to intrude on
the hyperbaric chamber of
bitterness and isolation
you've cocooned yourself in,
secure in the knowledge that
your aching hipness is
unassailable? By all means,
carry on!

Happy Schadenfreude,

M. Dery
<DKH7607@aol.com>

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Hi all!

Negroponte may have been a
"silver spoon" baby, but he
has nevertheless been a
significant contributor to
the digital dialogue. Agree
with him or not, he has been
and will continue to be a
major contributor of
technological and social
ideas and insights.

Social insights? You may not
have been aware of
Negroponte's work in involving
children in Third-World
countries participating
in online communities and
dialogs about youth issues,
etc.

Because in the end, it is the
dialog, isn't it? After all,
that's why we all read you
guys.

Regards,

Tom Cmajdalka
<tom.cmajdalka@intel.com>

Well, dialog is important,
sure. But lots of people can
write good dialog. Story
structure is really the Holy
Grail. You don't need Robert
Mckee to tell you that. I
mean, if the questions you
put forth don't get answered
by the Second Act break, then
where are you? Up shitty
aimless hipster movie creek,
that's where. A bulletproof
outline is where it's at,
let's face it.

Anyway, good luck with your
screenplay!

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I am generally loath to
respond in kind to letters to
the editor - infinite loops,
vicious circles, and such.
But how can you be so
unpedantic as to let slide a
correspondent's reference to
Daniel Shore as being
"associated with the Pentagon
Papers"? You're thinking
maybe of, uhhh, Daniel
Ellsberg? Otherwise, an
unusually apposite slam on
Negroponte.

I spent a few years working
at a corporate counterpart of
the Media Lab; if my former
colleagues succeed in
creating the future they
envision, I may move to a
cabin in Montana (minus, of
course, the bombs, hate mail,
and manifestos).

Jonathan Kulick
<jd_kulick@ yahoo.com>

Don't speak too soon. You
move to the cabin, you start
growing tomatoes out back,
and the next thing you know
you're testing plastic
explosives and scrawling out
one manifesto after another.
Or, worse yet, you're keeping
notes for a screenplay.



Loath to respond to this
letter and much, much more,



Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Hit & Run

Sucksters:

This is just a small and
insignificant tidbit, but
here it is:

I'm not sure I remember
hearing anything about the
"apparently fictitious Ann
Wells of the Los Angeles
Times
," but if it helps, Anne
Welles (with that spelling)
is the main character in
Jacqueline Susann's Valley of
the Dolls.

"If a parsley farmer is sued,
do they garnish his wages?"
- Dennis Miller

J. A. Cohn
<jac@citynet.net>

Thanks, J. A., but we're only
interested in Russ Meyer and
Roger Ebert's Beyond the
Valley of the Dolls.

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

SWAT - snipers without any
testicles

Do they ever take any risks
to save lives?

Javathug
<Javathug@Hotmail.com>

Do you?

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Someone told me there was a
link to my page on yours, so
I went and looked and there
it was. You linked to part of
my lyrics page. I was just
wondering if there was any
reason you picked mine. I've
been getting a lot of crap
thrown in my direction, as I
have tattoos and piercings
and wear a trench coat. Just
wondering if that had
anything to do with it.
Later.

Joshua D. Cohen
<cohenjd@cobleskill.edu>

Why can't you kids listen to
grunge and do the twist at
the malt shop like we used to
do? When we were your age we
didn't have to make such
spectacles of ourselves.

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I think the whole world was
devastated by the Columbine
massacre. The stories of the
laughing and hooting during the
violence really put the incident
over the edge of remotely
rational behavior. Not being
popular has a lot to do with
it, but I think abuse,
neglect, lack of opportunity,
and anger - lots of repressed
anger - is at the real core
of it all. Unfortunately, the
media took the Trench Coat
Mafia thing a little too far.
The group is not significant,
but the actions of the
individuals who claimed to
form it are. I grew up in a
sometimes rough area and
there were fights, but I
still can't conceive having a
"terrorist event plan" for a
school. Why schools? Why bomb
and shoot up schools? Are
they that bad? Is this an
institution whose time has
come and gone but still
exists because of laws and
teachers' jobs? Maybe we
should go back to child
labor. Maybe these kids who
are so smart should be put
right into the work force
rather than made to sit
through a class they don't
care about. I remember being
really angry at around age
15, but not enough to want to
destroy someone. The people
who made me mad were the
adults - the ones who bought
their kids the cars, the
clothes, the cell phones, the
expensive summer hockey camps
meant to produce a star
athlete - not the kids
themselves. They say violence
is most often inflicted
on those most safe (e.g.,
black-on-black violence), which
makes sense in this case. But
all the bomb making and
planning - that is some
seriously sick stuff. These
kids were very intelligent.
When did we give them a
chance to show their skills,
to be recognized? The whole
media thing that followed has
done this. Surely that was
part of their thinking too.
They finally got their
pictures in the paper, in
place of the football star. I
know how big sports are in
Denver, and it's incredibly
sad that 15 people had to die
and many others had to get
hurt for Dylan and Eric to finally
get recognized. And it's sad that
they didn't even stick around to
see it.

Josh Johnson
<Josh.Johnson@BestBuy.com>

Josh,

We can't really answer all
your questions, and we suggest
you talk things over with
your priest, rabbi, or imam.
One point about the Columbine
high jocks, however: If
athletes were such a
superstar, favored clique at
the school, why is it that
Columbine seems to have
graduated more future Salon
writers than future sports
stars?

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Just my little two cents
worth:

While becoming fairly obvious
that wearing a trench coat
while in your teens is going
to put you under certain
scrutiny from the powers that
be, one can't help but wonder
what went wrong with today's
latest Generation X.

Fingers are already being
pointed at violence in
the assorted arcade games and
videogames readily available,
as well as cinema and
television's morbid curiosity
with all things violent and
remotely explosive. Yet one
can't help but wonder if the
problem isn't one of media
overdose.

Surely the constant, um,
bombardment of news readily
available is bound to wear
down even the most cheery of
folks. In fact, that bad news
makes good news might be part
of the problem. Case in
point: the recent thwarting
of various young unoriginals
who planned copycat
massacres. Heaven forbid that
the news media is responsible
for how we perceive the world
through our little Plexiglas
bubble. It stands to reason
that one of the biggest
propagators of violence is,
after all, violence.
(Unfortunately, the same can
not be said for the rabbits.)

Obviously, the finger-wagging
will continue for a while,
but remember that there are
always four fingers pointed
back.

Although various measures
will be taken to ensure these
events do not occur again,
the most obvious solution for
us laymen who are permanently
complaining about the state
of broadcasting will remain
somewhat ignored.

Indeed, one little button
could solve most of our problems
and allow us to live in our
splendid marshmallow-filled
world and we wouldn't be
any worse off, the solution,
the one marked off.

<silk@altavista.net>

While various responses would
be appropriate in this case,
it's becoming clear that
certain readers should
consider diagramming assorted
sentences to see if they
actually end up qualifying as
sentences after all. Also,
one cannot help but wonder if
the steady stream of passive
verbs should also be
reconsidered and possibly
eliminated.

Today's latest Generation X,

Sucksters

 
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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