The Fish
for 9 September 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
Suck Staff
 

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Connelly]
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[Copy Edit]
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&
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Copy Editors









	
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Cox
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Executive Editor

 

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Welch
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[yes, it's
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eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
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Ghost in the Machine

 

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[Brian
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Production Editor
& Pool Monitor


Filler: Writers Who Think

Polly,

Your email address best
summarizes — in Arnold
action speech — today's
column: polly suck.

Maybe ... I don't know ...
call me Al Gore ... but it
seems to me that you're
trying to be funny. Right?
I'm sure it's difficult to
produce one column every
three or four days. (You have
a life, too, right?) But, uh,
maybe, I don't know, you
could try a little harder?

As always,

The Samerri
PublicPC
<PublicPc@loc.gov>

Are you working on a research
project pertaining to writers
who try to be funny but fall
pathetically short of their
goal? I'd love to know more
about your project. Please be
sure to share with me any new
information you uncover on
this horrible affliction and
any drug trials or possible
treatments that are currently
under investigation.

Trying to keep a positive
attitude despite the
circumstances,

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Since my new job involves
sitting at a computer all
day, I've started reading
Suck again. I just wanted to
express my appreciation for
your work, especially the
urban hipster/indie
rock/indie film columns. I
just moved to Washington, DC,
after spending four years at
a small liberal arts college
nowhere near a city. And now
I'm reading Filler and
thinking, "Of course! Urban
hipsters are really annoying!
Thank god that's not me with
my Cat Power records and
friends making indie films
and wearing big platform
shoes and capri pants ... er
... shit ... but we're better
than that." Yeah, right.
Living in the city
immediately gave me this
hyper-awareness of class and
status, which I suppose, does
really ugly things to one's
personality and fosters a
great deal of resentment.
It's been lots of fun
reading; I hope not to become
too much of a walking
cliché.

Thanks.

Sarah Loff
<sarahl@Chadwyck.com>

Actually, there's a
hyper-awareness you inherit
after years of living among
and observing urban hipster
societies that is rife with
careful distinctions meant to
separate the wheat from the
hops ... or something. For
example: Are your friends
making indie films or
talking about making indie
films? Or are your friends
actually making short student
films or just talking about
making short student films?
Are they working with a
documentary filmmaker or
talking to a documentary
filmmaker about possibly
working with him or her
later? Or are they talking
about talking about working
with a documentary filmmaker
while actually doing nothing
more than sitting around
watching Dawson's Creek and
eating Mallo cups?

God, I love Mallo cups. Can I
be your friend?

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Sorry you couldn't get
published in nondigital
media.

Step 26: Find a Web site that
will post your bitter,
insecure whimperings.

Regards,

Trevor Coe
<trevor.coe@multex.com>

Trevor, I know how you feel.
I used to be angry at the
world just like you. But boy,
did my life change when I
finally found a Web site that
would post my bitter,
insecure whimperings!

Now go out there and find one
of your own! You can do it,
boy!

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


You might try looking for
work as a receptionist or
maybe as a fast food
technician. As a writer, you
blow.

redfish
<redfish@redshift.com>

I was a receptionist for a
day, actually, at an
accounting firm called
Coopers and Lybrand. I kept
mispronouncing the name of
the company, which is really
a pretty horrible mistake, if
you think about it. Also,
when people called and asked
where someone was, instead of
saying, "He's in a meeting,"
I'd often say, "He just left
with his secretary. They said
something about lunch, but I
heard them whispering about a
hotel down the street...."
Just joking. I was way too
nervous to speak in full
sentences that day. I usually
only managed to mumble,
defensively and rather
mysteriously, "I don't know
where he is," a response
which probably had about the
same effect.

I haven't served fast food,
but I was a waitress once. My
specialty was checking back
with each table way too many
times during the course of
the meal to make sure
everything was OK. By the end
of the meal, the patrons were
invariably shooting me angry
looks, and my tips were way
below the current standard. I
also liked to forget things
completely or spill stuff all
over people, then apologize
awkwardly and profusely until
everyone was just so
embarrassed and uncomfortable
that the meal was completely
ruined.

Considering the alternatives,
I think you'll agree I'm
doing the least damage to the
general welfare in my current
position.

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Are We Not Men?

Moleman:

That essay of yours was all
too easy. It's a cinch to
attack backwoods Kansas
rednecks for everything but
the very issue that's at
stake. Your piece neither
contributed one iota of
valuable information to the
increasingly legitimate
debate between evolution and
alternative theories, nor did
it say anything unusually new
or funny about Kansas
rednecks.

Instead, you joined the 95
percent of commentators who
stuck their heads up their
asses in order to present
their near-complete ignorance
of the subject as erudite
indignation. By not
referencing a single article,
journal, book, expert, or
resource that's gone into
this century-old debate, you
prove yourself to be one of
the mindless millions willing
to march to the
propagandistic drum of mass
media and public education.
Worst of all would be if you
fell for the newly minted
illusion that it's really not
about evolution versus
creation but local versus
federal control.

Start with Phillip Johnson's
Darwin on Trial. As a
writer, you'll especially
appreciate it since it deals
with the way arguments are
constructed. Then go from
there: Johnson provides
enough bibliography to get as
deep into the issue as you
care to. Then write something
about Kansas' decision that's
worth reading.

Regards,

The FedEx Truck Conspiracy
Joe Sixpack
<fedextruck@hotmail.com>

If my essay didn't contribute
one iota to the "increasingly
legitimate" debate, that's
A-OK with me. As for the
increasingly legitimate
debate between pretentious,
pseudo-urbane rednecks armed
with spurious references to
phony scholarship (on the one
hand) and the real world (on
the other), I'm happy to do
whatever I can.

Yrs,

Hans Moleman
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


You have a way with words;
it's fun to read. I feel what
really matters is that truth
be taught in our schools, not
opinions or conjecture or a
loosely defined hypothesis
such as evolution. Science
known to be fact should be
taught - not opinions.
Clearly biologists and the
like have gone hook, line,
and sinker for evolution: But
then where would biology be
without it? Nowhere but where
it belongs: describing phyla,
body parts, etc. I haven't
met a biologist yet that I
consider a scientist. I'm
sick of turning on TLC
programs and hearing them
weave this yarn about
evolution around everything.
It's all storytelling and
it's hindering scientists
from really getting to the
facts.

Thanks for your article,

Garry
<newman_apti@earthlink.net>

You're right about the
biologists' conspiracy to
make themselves important by
positing a phony theory that
explains the greatest mystery
in nature and is supported by
every branch of science.
Theologians are the only real
scientists, for my money,
along with law professors and
televangelists. Now if only
we could get a bumper sticker
to show those biology clowns
how we feel!

Yrs,

Hans Moleman
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Praise for the Great Kornholio

Subject: Damn It, Mommy, this
Couscous Is Bullshit!

I just wanted to let you know
that you can all take a
permanent vacation, because
there's only one thing that
makes me read Suck every
weekday, and that's Alan S.
Kornheiser.

Who is this Alan S.
Kornheiser? What is he, that
all his swains do command
thee? I heard he was a
doctor; his mother must be
proud. What does the "S."
stand for (if you know)? I
would email him myself, but
I'm afraid he might not
respect me in the morning.

If he were Catholic and had a
confirmation name he didn't
let us know about, such as
Sam or Scheherazade, then he
could be referred to as A. S.
S. Kornheiser! Fantastic.

Please ask Terry to draw more
rabbits.

Ken Harris
<kharris@cwtel.com>

Well, in that case, we will
publish his latest letter.

Never let them say we refused
to give them that for which
they whined incessantly.

the Sucksters
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Subject: Devo-lution

The problem of Kansas is but
a symptom of a wider problem,
one that can be seen in urban
slums, in nonfunctional
states (such as Somalia), and
among tenured professors of
English. Partially, it is a
function of natural law; it
appears that like matter and
energy, stupidity is a
conserved quantity. And when
one reduces it in one place,
it pops up in another; this
week, it emerged in Kansas
and in Ames, Iowa (where, you
recall, many Republicans
recently gathered to eat pork
and praise Jesus and
ethanol).

The more serious issue is
that there are now
restrictions on society's
ability to allow nature to
take its course. At one time,
disorganized societies
incapable of supporting
themselves (again, one thinks
of Somalia and tenured
professors) would have been
conquered by better organized
neighbors. Historically, this
has been a bloody and nasty
business, but it provided
effective real-world
feedback. We don't do this
any more. Instead, through
the miracles of modern
technology, we allow
dysfunctional societies to
leech the resources and
development of their
better-organized neighbors
and ask little in return.

This is a lousy deal all
around. Dysfunctional
societies stay on life
support and get no better.
Functional societies become
angry, embittered, and
frustrated. The constant
friction between the two
— since functional
societies are invariably
nicer places to live —
creates all manner of
problems. The "good old
days," when lesser breeds
without the law were
civilized with a Krag (an
early ancestor of the M-1
carbine), were free from
these difficulties.

What does this have to do
with Kansas and why all this
reactionary blather?
Essentially, it has become
possible for a state like
Kansas (or ones like Saudi
Arabia or Kuwait) to opt out
of the 20th century without
paying the price, because its
neighbors will continue to
produce what it needs. Such
states need only export a few
basics, easily produced
without an educated or
motivated work force, and
import the fruits of their
better organized neighbors.
Once, states this wealthy and
this stupid would have lasted
only as long as it took their
neighbors to raise armies.
Now they go on forever.

I have absolutely no idea
what to do about any of this.
Fortunately, there is no
evidence that people in
Kansas (or anywhere else)
have ever been greatly
affected by what they were
taught in high school
biology, so perhaps we
needn't worry too much.

Alan S. Kornheiser
The doctor is IN
<askornheiser@prodigy.net>

An excellent bit of prose, as
usual. Have you considered
publishing a collection of
your letters to Suck, perhaps
titled, "Wisdom from the
Keyboard of the Great
Kornholio" or simply, "The
Doctor Is In"?

Wait. We would own the rights
to such a collection since we
published the letters here.
So, uh, forget we mentioned
it — that is, until we
call you to schedule the
(unpaid) book tour. Hell, we
haven't paid you yet, why
start now?

The adoration and respect
paid by your readers should
be reward enough for your
labors.

Disrespectfully yours, and
only yours, baby,

the Sucksters
 
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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