The Fish
for 8 June 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


[the fixin' pixie... ]
Emily Hobson
Production Manager
& Rhythm Guitar


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager


[Brian Forsyth]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor


[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

Tetris Addicts Anonymous

Subject: For the love of God,
please help!!!

I have a friend who has
become addicted to Tetris. I
fear for her mental well
being. She has "inherited" a
fun little Game Boy. It's
purple! It's fun! It's taken
over her life!

Intervention certainly seems
the obvious choice. And if
I've learned anything about
life, it's that the obvious
choice is always much more
work ... and pain.

Could you just tell me which
Filler contains the drawing
of you, bored and distracted,
thinking of the colorful,
mix-matched shapes falling
together, one after the
other, after the other, after
the other ...

Sometimes I see it ...
against my eyelids when I
close my eyes ... I'm scared,
real scared.

Please help!

Damon Delgado

The comfort you seek can be
found here:

Your friend will be in my
prayers. But I pray to the
god of Game Boy, so, it might
not help much.

Thanks for turning to me for
strength during this very
difficult time.


Fish With Letter Icon

I'm sorry you're such an

Hi Joe,

"Some weeks, nearly every
episode includes a paternity
test. We have a populace of
underinsured who can't afford
basic medical care, as well
as a home audience willing to
waste hours watching that
same demographic bitch-slap
one another on camera."

Err, why do I get the feeling
that you yourself can relate
to this underinsured populace
that "wastes its time"
watching this show every day
"some weeks"? The poor
bastards don't realize they
could make money just by
writing about the show rather
than going through such
humiliation. Anyway, I'm glad
you got the job. Hope
you've got benefits.

Rob McLean

I'm not sure if I'm reading
you correctly, but if I am,
this may be the first time a
letter writer has critiqued a
critic for watching too much
of a show that he's written
on. I'll keep it in mind next
time I try to convince my
editors of the merits of a
piece I've tossed off after
watching 15 minutes of TV.

Anyway, taking your larger
point, I can only point to
Samuel Johnson's remark that
no one but a blockhead ever
wrote, except for money. Dr.
Johnson was writing before
television (pace [our
forefather at his ease]), but
I'm betting he wouldn't mind
my updating his dictum to
include channel-surfing.

As for benefits, knowing
I've made virtually no
difference in anyone's
life is benefit enough.


Fish With Letter Icon

Writing in to say that your
column was absolutely right
on. I have no idea what you
get paid there, but as a
writer I can imagine it is
not a tremendous amount.
Thus, I figure you'd
appreciate me writing to you
that your article on Forgive
or Forget, Loveline,
(most vomitous of them all,
perhaps [but, then, it's hard
to say, once basic common
sense as well as decency have
been completely Louima-ed,
which could be called the
worst program out there, when
they are all so goddamn awful;
I will stop abusing
parenthetical phrases now)
The Blame Game, as well as
talk shows in general, was
perfectly put. Not to be
elitist about it, but is it
just me, or does no one
realize how absurdly fucking
stupid these things are? One
suggestion, though: Forget
Kafka and try Beckett
("nothing to be done,

I'm gonna stop my pedantic
blathering for now; just
letting you know you had me
rolling in the isles. Good job.

After all, what doesn't suck?

Ephraim Oshinsky

Sunny days in May? A giant
cone of Belgian fries? The
cruel laughter of little

I like the Beckett allusion
too, but I'm sticking by my
man Franz. Of course in one
draft of the articles there
was a briefly considered,
subsequently discarded comic
set piece imagining Georg and
his father sharing a good cry
over dad's unresolved issues
of jealousy over Georg's
engagement and the friend
from Russia. ("Therefore take
note: I sentence you now to
death by drowning!" "Now,
honey, you know you don't
mean that. You've got to love
this boy — for both your

With the help of a supportive
syndicated television show,
Franz might finally have
resolved his commitment
issues with Felice and had
beautiful, consumptive

Joe Shlabotnik
Unreconstructed modernist

Fish With Letter Icon

Regarding your essay on
apologies: Beautiful! As a
child, I was raised in a
religious group that taught
us how to apologize.
Specifically, we weren't
allowed to say "I'm sorry."
We were told to (a) say what
we had done wrong; (b) say
why it was wrong, i.e., "it
hurt you," etc.; (c) ask the
person, "will you forgive
me?"; and then (d) wait for
answer. Regardless of the
answer, we were taught to
accept it and try, not just
offer, to make restitution.
Excessive Puritan guilt
aside, it taught me early on
how trite the words "I'm
sorry" are. And how when you
really wanted someone's
forgiveness (not just to make
excuses for your behavior),
you often had to earn it.

Thanks for another Suck Home

R. Adam Wright

Thanks, Adam. Last night here
in NYC we saw a Knicks front
officer apologize for lying
to Jeff Van Gundy and the
press about having shopped
his job to Phil Jackson, his
moral conversion being
apparently brought about by
having been caught. Today, we
may be in for an apology from
Justin Volpe, who two days
ago was ready to skip off on
the defense that Abner Louima
got injured in a bout of
rough gay sex. Volpe, at
least, will probably be
offered the opportunity to
earn our forgiveness among a
community of inmates who
dearly love abusive cops.



Fish With Letter Icon

Excellent analysis of one of
the oddest shows I've ever
had the pleasure to see. Good
job! Between stuff like this
and references to home
shopping, Suck keeps getting
better and better!

Eric Meisberger

I hope this means we'll be
able to interest you in our
new line of value-priced
costume jewelry.

Thanks for writing,


Fish With Letter Icon

One other fun aspect of
forgiveness is a change in
lifestyle. After reading your
article, I wasted some time
(company, of course) watching
Mother Love. Most of the
contestants on Forgive or
never mention a
serious change in their
lives. They run along the
lines of "I'm sorry, baby,
for screwing other women. But
that's just me, man. That is
the way I am. Forgive and
accept me? Because I am not
about to change." Oh, wait,
that was President Clinton's
public "apology."
Nevertheless, the same
sentiment is expressed by the
contestants. The results were
predictable, the ones with
the best PR spin received
forgiveness. The ones who
couldn't spin got nothing.
Forgiveness today means lip
service and a PR firm.

Russell May

Well, he said he wanted to
start a national dialog,
didn't he? Give the man
credit. The spinning on F or
goes both ways too — a
dance of not-quite-apology
and not-quite-forgiveness
("Well, if this is what you
need to heal, then I guess I
forgive you"), where both
sides make gestures of
conciliation without
conceding any actual points.
Which, who knows, may do some

Thanks for writing,


Fish With Letter Icon
Ad It Up

Banner ads ... First: At least
the print banner ads won't
keep flashing away like some
spastic Gameboy screen, just
out of the direct field of
view, screaming "Look at me!"
Seeing Web pages as the new
"print" media of the
millennium seems more like a
step back than a leap
forward. Lots of flashing
lights and crappy graphics
sound more like the '50s.
Second: At least Suck has
provided its readers with an
alternative. When, a few
years back, you added ads to
the side of your pages, you
noted that yellow stickies
could easily hide the ads
while you perused the text.
Now that your ads flash
merrily at the bottom of your
page, I can quickly squash
the frame down to hide the ad
as your page loads, thus
avoiding having to look at
the ad du jour. Hopefully the
people who pay you to display
their hideable nonsense won't
catch on. But, time moves on,
everyone wears clothes
covered with ads, PBS has
commercials, and the Brothers
Quay have done TV ads for
RoundUp. Oh well.

Neal Johnson

Call me a naive idealist, but
I truly believe that someday
soon we will all embrace our
sponsors wholeheartedly,
without a lot of hypocritical
posturing about the purity of
public and private space,
etc., etc. If anyone actually
was willing to bear the full
cost of ad-free media or
ad-free anything, really, it
would be a different story.
As long as we're not, I don't
really see the point of all
the valiant struggles in
which banner-hiders and other
self-styled ad-busters



Fish With Letter Icon

Don't tell anyone this, but
before the banner at the
bottom of your page loads, I
pull the bar down. Your site
is one of the few sites where
I can escape banners being
bandied about, brother!


Congratulations! Anyone who
hides the banners and then
writes to tell us about it is
immediately added to a
mailing list we make
available to the Web's most
diligent email marketers of
stock tips, phone-sex lines,
MLM programs, and wholesale
computer equipment. Hope you
take advantage of some of the
great deals that will soon be
coming your way.



Fish With Letter Icon

I always thought that whoever
places ads on Suck's site did
a pretty decent job, and I
was actually interested in
clicking on the Sharper Image
steamer ad. The thought of
operating a steamer cleaner
on the Web was just too much
for me to resist.

Of course, that was before I
realized this sound-and-
vision extravaganza
would cause my entire OS
to peel apart like the badly
cobbled-together afterthought
of a Suck reader letter.

Thank whatever crack(-addled)
Web shop put that one
together for giving my VM and
IE a thorough workout.


I'm sure they've already been
amply compensated by whoever
hired them. I don't recall
that banner myself, but
obviously they did a great
job of making you remember
the product.


Fish With Letter Icon

" ... you're also no doubt
partially absorbing the sales
messages from our beloved

Huh? What? Oh, that crap at
the top of the page that
rarely works, and I never
read. Today I saw some woman
and a broken link. (You know,
Netscape's funny "image not
found" icon?)

You may want to consider
renting out the space on the
side of your columns. You
know, between the banners for
Suck and Recent Suck, and
between the Directory ( "a
fish, a barrel, and a smoking
gun", etc.), the Suck: The
ad, and the icon for

There are feet of screen real
estate you haven't sold yet.


That space goes toward
subliminal advertising.
Thanks for noticing.


Fish With Letter Icon

Yo Huck-ster,

Kudos on the banner deal.
Absolutely. Banner ads
present both (a) a more
reality-based (hence
stronger) message forum for
the market segment, really
giving me what I, the
consumer, want/need from an
ad — i.e., a (God forbid)
fact about the product —
and little else; and (b) a
challenge to the actual
ability of marketing
personnel, driving them as it
does to really come up with
some kind of product
information, as opposed to
simply applying some randomly
conceived visual/aesthetic
item to the product at hand,
be it Cheez Balls or
accounting services; and
here endeth the world's
longest sentence. In keeping
with the
ideology, as a product
marketing professional, I
spend hours every week
wishing all I needed to do
was create banner ads rather
than the more involved
image/message-driven stuff
that takes up most of my
time. Additionally, we here
in Taiwan are chuckling over
the notion that that USA
rag may sell off a
small portion of its front
page as ad space. Both of our
English language newspapers
here, and you know who you
are, make a regular practice
of running an ad for
big-ticket product on the
entire bottom half of the
front page. It's OK; it keeps
one from lapsing into
childishly naive notions
about press impartiality.


I was always surprised at USA
's relative restraint,
because trade papers here,
like Variety, often just sell
the whole cover. And, you
know, probably one of the
reasons so many magazines are
having trouble getting
celebrities to appear on
their covers without making
tons of concessions is that
they're just giving away that
advertising for free — if
magazines made celebs pay for
the privilege of boosting their
latest movie/record/TV show,
maybe they'd get a little
more respect.


Fish With Letter Icon

Banner ads piss me off a lot
of the time, mostly because
they grab my attention
without me giving them
permission to do so. But
after they get my attention,
since I'm pissed at them, I
don't give them the
satisfaction of a solitary

Of course, the nice thing
about Suck is that I can grab
the bar at the bottom of the
screen and make the ads go
away. How do your advertisers
feel about that?

Ambition makes you look pretty

N8 Fleming

And all along I thought it was
bitter envy and
self-destructive sloth that
was responsible for my grim

In any case, we sell the sort
of banner-ad interactivity
you engage in as a value-add
to our sponsors. Thanks for
the extra effort; it nets
five extra bucks per thousand


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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