The Fish
for 19 August 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

 

[Copy Edit]
Erica Gies
&
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

 

[Brian
Forsyth, " we're just spanning time "]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor

Filler

Girls just don't get it
sometimes, save for you. Guys
don't normally care about
poetry or feelings or stuff.
It's just what's the quickest
way to bed. Now don't get me
wrong, we can be sensitive
too, as well as love our
girlfriends, but sometimes
guys just wish girls would
stop over-complicating
things. I chuckle too from
the other (male) side when
I'm sitting alone with bitter
black coffee, smoking my last
butt.

Chuck
<chuck@WPI.edu>

Plenty of girls get it,
believe me. Plenty of girls
get it all the time, by
faking the poetry or feelings
stuff, or pretending they'd
rather eat live mealworms
than have a boyfriend, so as
to lure in squirrelly
commitment-phobes and
weasels. Lord knows why.

But you're still in college,
so you're suffering under the
temporary illusion that
you're in control.

Bahahahaha!

Keep smoking those butts —
you're gonna need 'em!

Polly

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Hit & Run

Subject: Trading is my life

Dear BarTel,

The interview was funny. The
interview was very funny ...
at least the parts of it that
didn't scare me to death. Are
con men without humor more or
less dangerous than those
with some wit?

Although nobody seems to be
discussing it, pretty
obviously the guy was using
day trading as a
self-administered
antidepressant. The rush of
winning or losing did
something for him.
Self-medication — be it
with food, alcohol, licit and
illicit drugs — is common
in depression. It even works,
somewhat. Thus, the idea that
you should have a license to
day trade is probably not a
lot sillier than the idea
that you need a prescription
to score some Zoloft. OK, it
is a lot sillier. But you get
the point.

Incidentally, after the
previous massacre (kids,
school, trench coats ... you
remember, right?), I noted
that a good chunk of suicides
with access to ordnance might
start taking some "enemies"
with them when they went.
Once this meme is out of the
bottle, be afraid. Be very
afraid. The "problem" wasn't
angst or cliques or children
behaving badly. It was just
original sin plus fire power.
Damn, don't you hate it when
I'm right? On this one, I'd
rather have been wrong.

Waiting for the next one,

Alan

Dear BarTel,

I forgot to ask, will we see
demands that the Ten
Commandments be posted on all
trading-room floors? That
should help a lot.

Whoops. Another one in
Alabama. "Meme on the run,
meme on the run."

And no, it isn't a damn bit
funny.

Alan S. Kornheiser
<ASKornheiser@prodigy.net>

You know, it's worth noting
that Barton was a full-on
churchgoer. So much for
posting the Ten Commandments
on trading floors.

I'm not so convinced Tokyo Joe
is not an investing genius.
He certainly seems to be a
genius in general.

But your points about Barton's
self-medicating trading
activity are well taken. Last
Friday's Suck addresses this
very angle, albeit in a
brilliantly indirect way.

Yr pal,

BarTel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

If you get an MBA in finance,
you will be exposed to many
theories of stock valuation.
The easiest one to understand
is called the Gordon model.
It states that a stock is
worth the present value of
the future income derived
from its dividend stream. You
can throw in the present
value of the stock when you
sell it too if you like. The
models get more and more
arcane, with such baroque
variants as the Efficient
Frontier portfolio theory
discounting stock value for
risk and so forth. But if
your professors aren't
totally afflicted with
academic cephalo-anal-
impaction, towards the end of
the course they will tell
you, as mine did, what the
real stock valuation model
is, and the name says it all:
It's called The Greater Fool
Theory.

First the premises: (1)
Anybody who buys a stock that
has defaulted on a dividend
is a fool. (2) Anybody who
buys a stock that has never
paid a dividend is a greater
fool. (3) Anybody who buys a
stock that has never paid a
dividend and has a
price-earnings ratio
indicating that its return on
investment is inferior to
putting the money in an
essentially risk-free
treasury bill is an even
greater fool (note that stock
in a company that has never
made any money at all has an
infinite P-E ratio,
indicating the infinite
suckerdom of those who buy
it). (4) Fools who buy stocks
like that are counting on a
still greater fool to buy it
from them at a higher price
sometime in the future
(nobody, not even a fool,
buys a stock because they
think its price will
decline). (5) Fools like that
are all over the place and
far outnumber rational
investors. (6) Fools are
motivated only by fear and
greed. (7) Fools drive the
stock market.

Now, just by sheer random
chance, some fools will walk
away with huge piles of other
fools' money. And still other
fools will conclude that the
fools with that money are
geniuses, buy their books and
lectures, subscribe to their
Web sites, and try to emulate
them. The Greater Fool Theory
implies that as long as there
are fifth-, fourth-, third-
and second-order fools to buy
dot-com stocks at higher
prices from the first-order
fools who bought them in some
fool's paradise of an IPO
frenzy, then Mark O. Barton
will remain an aberration. He
will be nothing more than a
weak, pathetic person with a
sick mind and decayed
character — a moral
degenerate who could not
accept or cope with the risk
of total, bankrupt failure, a
risk that every fool in the
stock market should be
prepared to accept and cope
with.

Now for the catch: There can
be no shortage of supply when
the valued objects in
question are stocks in
companies that have never
made a dime. Therefore, the
shortage, sooner or later,
always turns out to be in the
supply of fools.

This is essentially what
happened in 1929. Back then,
some fool confronting the
consequences of his folly
would do the gentlemanly
thing and jump out a window.
Today, in gun-queer,
everybody's-a-victim,
the-world-owes-me-big-time,
postmodern America, they
aren't gentlemen and they
won't be jumping. They'll be
locking, loading, and
spraying hot lead.

It wasn't supposed to be like
this — they were supposed
to get filthy rich, quick and
easy, and be surrounded by
shiny toys and pricy real
estate and envious admirers,
and if it isn't happening,
then somebody must be to
blame. The damn fool they
bought that nose-diving,
toilet-tanking Internet stock
from, for instance. And what
about the rest of them —
that's you, me, and the woman
with the kid who just walked
in to ask for directions
— they're in on it too,
aren't they? Take it from an
MBA in finance: Learn how to
duck and be in shape to run
like hell.

Walter Bauer
<BauerW@DynCorp.com>

I used to work for a company
where we had great faith in
that Efficient Frontier
model. It always seemed so
simple: You just find your
spot on the Efficiency curve
and take a leisurely ride to
riches!

Poems are made by fools like
me, but only God can make a
tree.

Yr pal,

BarTel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Subject: Vive la Indifference!

Dear Assholes,

Thanks enormous, sweaty loads
for the submission guidelines
you never bothered to send
me, despite two requests.
Someone was complaining in
Fish about all your new
correspondents. Did they all
go to high school with you?

Love,

Macra
<MacraTerr@aol.com>

Someone was complaining about
our writers in Fish? We'll
get right on the horn to
MacraTerr! That's who the
public is clamoring for! More
MacraTerr!

People complain about our
writers. People complain
about our other writers.
People complain about our
layout. People complain about
our links. People complain
about our humor. People
complain about our lack of
humor. People complain about
everything we do, and if we
do the opposite they complain
about that too. If we had
submission guidelines, people
would complain about them. If
we publish your writing,
they'll complain about your
writing. So by not publishing
your writing, we're doing you
a favor, really. Someday
you'll thank us for it. Or
maybe you'll complain about
it.

Yr pal,

BarTel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Hooked on Bacchus

The Tuesday, 3 August 1999,
piece was witty, coherent,
and well researched; tossing
in the neechee made it very
rich. Thanks for articulating
your sharp observations.

Our constant rediscovery and
repackaging of decades past
reminds me of one of Jimi's
feedback loops: a sound
amplified and reamplified in
a circuit loses with every
amplification some of its
depth and finally becomes a
single discordant tone
whanging away at the senses.
A retrospective feedback loop
takes ever-shortening spans
of time into account, so that
by 2005 we undoubtedly will
be recounting with wistful
documentaries the bygone days
of 2003.

Ah well, it was your writing,
not mine, that gave me
occasion to drop you this
note and say, "Well done,
Cloud!"

Well done, Cloud!

Thanks for your kind words.
But by 2005, nostalgia is
going to be simultaneous with
the present. Remember what
right now used to be like?

The C. of U.

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

"For those of you who haven't
suffered through Friedrich
Nietzsche's The Birth of
Tragedy,
here's the basic
outline: Dionysian = Jimi
playing 'The Star-Spangled
Banner' and setting his
guitar on fire; Apollonian =
Wyclef Jean attempting the
same trick and not being able
to light the damn thing."

Where the fuck do you get off
saying something like this?
Name-dropping garnished with
plausible deniability:
Readers interpret the word
suffer as literal or
facetious depending on their
dispositions. Much as I tire
of defending your betters
from being painted by your
endlessly wide brush of smug
disdain (who do you not scoff
at, may I ask — the silly
indie rockers and wired-
culture critics listed in
"The Shit"?). I would deign
to point out that the
Dionysian-Apollonian duality
is not ever literally defined
in the book, nor does
Nietzsche attempt to. Rather,
he uses these flexible
categories as leverage for
the analysis of (you guessed
it) tragedy. This is an
awkward method that in the
hands of a lesser mind would
read something like starting
from a failed premise and
thrashing around in the dark,
but I assure you that the
young Nietzsche is no such
thinker. The explication of
myth found in this book is
brilliant. The symbolic
dream-image! The shield
against intolerable
knowledge! Compare to this
the banality of something
like the Golden Bough, where
mythology is "rationalized."
For God's sake, go back and
read it again. I would go on
to flame you for your
nickname and point out the
influence of Indian Buddhism
on Nietzsche's early
thinking, but, really, is
there any point? All I ask of
you people is to have some
discretion! I'll stop short
of asking for respect.

<cmaan@julian.uwo.ca>

Like Dostoyevsky said, "It is
necessary to suffer and to be
redeemed by suffering." Or
was that Napalm Death?
Remember, the only thing
worse than being painted by
an endlessly wide brush of
smug disdain is being painted
by a brush of smug disdain
that's not quite wide enough.

Thanks for writing,

The C. of U.

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I accidentally typed in the
word suck (it's one of my
favorite words) and I got
this! Really Cool!

This Internet thing is blowing
my little head away!

Sorry to hear that. The little
head is especially fragile
and irreplaceable; if you're
going to be doing much
Internet stuff, please
protect it. It's for your own
good.

The C. of U.

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Filler

Polly,

You were so kind to men in
this last Filler — what
gives? Did you just turn 30,
or are the '90s winding down,
or did all that urban
hipsterette dick chopping
just strike you as
cliché suddenly? Being
that I'm a man, I guess you
got me to blink over here,
and I can't help but wonder
if there isn't a more cynical
reason as to why you're
throwing this curveball.

Here's my pet (read: stupid,
lame) theory: Once you get to
"bitter," the next step is
"not giving a fuck" (NGOF).
But unfortunately, NGOF is
infected with "giving a fuck"
(GOF), because deep down
inside you really want to
make sure everyone knows
you're NGOF. Eventually,
you're really NGOF. But if
you're really NGOF, then why
are you even here, yanno? The
thrill of putting your
emotional dick on the table
(since "we're" male-oriented
today) to potentially get
chopped off is no longer
appealing, but if it's not
doing anything, why is it
there? Finally, you get to a
point where you learn to be
happy without getting
off.

Ahem ...

Maybe you're warming up to the
idea of being happy and
attached. Figuratively
speaking, of course. Well,
that's my optimistic read on
you. But I'm putting all my
chips on the idea that this
is some kind of new trend
about how Gen-X chix are
supposed to act now. Herd
them sheep!

You're so insensitive.

GP

PS Please thank Terry for
giving you pupils — it's
the little things that
matter. You can keep my
money.

Bitterness towards men arises
out of utter faith in men,
followed by disillusionment.
However, if you're a
complicated and moderately
self-aware person, you
inevitably end up failing in
the same ways that you
condemn others for failing,
thus you're left with no
option but to throw out the
bitterness with the bath
water. Bitterness is an
oversimplified reaction
anyway, common among radicals
who wish to keep things neat
and orderly by ignoring all
inconvenient data.

The women are doing all the
dumping in last week's Filler
partially because women are
better at spinning their
asshole-ish behavior in
numerous complicated ways in
order to perpetually avoid
taking any blame. I should
know.

But don't think for a second
that I dislike men any less.
Oh God, we can't have you
thinking that!

The whole concept of sticking
out your emotional dick and
getting it ripped off is a
very male fear. Women care
less about loss of face that
way. Rejection, what's that?
Who cares? I guess women know
it could come down to their
big feet or their unladylike
demeanor with most men,
whereas men fear that
rejection could mean they're
utterly rejectable all the
way around. And they're
right. Besides, if you don't
put your emotional dick on
the table, how else will we
know how big it is before we
decide whether to use it or
not?

Overgeneralizing, emotional
dick,

Polly

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

 The Shit
"Gary's Trajectory," A Wanderer in the Perfect City, Lawrence Weschler, Hungry Mind Press, 1998
The Parallax View, Alan J. Pakula, Paramount Pictures DVD, 1974
Rogues to Riches: The Trouble with Wall Street, Murray Teigh Bloom, Putnam,1971
Actual Air, David Berman, Open City Books, 1999
Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, Peter Hall and Michael Bierut, editors, Princeton Architectural Press, 1998
Canary-wing parrots, Dolores Street, San Francisco
Super Shitty to the Max, Hellacopters, Man's Ruin Records, 1998
Request magazine (any issue after June 1999)
On the Road to Vietnam, Bob Hope, Cadet 4046 vinyl, 1964
The Flying Ballerina, Drums and Tuba, TEC Tones, 1998
Dino, Nick Tosches, Delta Alpha Publishing, 1999
The Soft Bulletin, The Flaming Lips, WEA/Warner Brothers, 1999
Big Red soda

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