The Fish
for 7 October 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

 

[Phillip Bailey]
Phillip Bailey
Production Editor








	
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



Hit & Run

When I first heard this
story, I was an undergraduate
at Harvard in 1971. In that
version, the great
philosopher and theorist
William James had just given
a lecture on the universe
when the old lady gave him
the real explanation
(turtles). I don't think
Stephen Hawking was on
anyone's radar in 1971. I
suppose most folks today
(even Suck readers) would
have no idea who William
James was, so the identity of
the lecturer had to be
changed.

whbarrett
<whbarrett@email.msn.com>

Oh, stick a sock in that
"Most folks today would have
no idea" business, Mr.
Harvard. As it happens,
Hawking himself attributes
the story to Bertrand
Russell, who in turn probably
said it happened to Henri
Bergson. This is what passes
for urban myth in the Ivy
League. But then, maybe that
was your point.

Next question: Although we
didn't actually go to Ivy
League schools, could you
pull some strings to get us
admitted to the Old Boy
Network? As mascots or
something?

Yr pal,

BarTel
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


But Love Story is an awful,
awful movie! Shouldn't
somebody tell him this?

Drew Bell
<droob@earthlink.net>

It's the thought that counts.
I find his standing up to the
hecklers commendable, though
of course, it would have been
better if he'd been standing
up for Danger: Diabolik or an
Andy Hardy classic.

Yr pal,

BarTel
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Sucksters,

Last week I bought For Common
Things
and, like you, was
perplexed by how the subtitle
and the contents of the book
are remarkably different.
However, in defense of the
young Purdy, Daniel
Goldhagen, author of Hitler's
Willing Executioners
which
was also published by Knopf,
faced a similar problem. In
the jacket description of the
book, a too enthusiastic
editor described the book as
the first to condemn ordinary
Germans. Hardly, but it may
be the last. Goldhagen, on
the tour of the book, was
chastised for the description
— which he, like Purdy,
lamely explained. It seems
that the marketing department
of Knopf, ever eager to sell
intellectual, gritty books as
if they were bestsellers,
seems to either not actually
read the books or is
satisfied by the
25-words-or-less description
that the sophomore-at-Fordham
intern has provided.

As Always,

The Samerri
<crumb@ix.netcom.com>

Well it probably wasn't the
first. I saw a circa-1945
newsreel on Turner Classic
Movies where the point was
basically, "Now that we've
beaten the Germans, let's
annihilate them before they
can do it again — and
don't kid yourselves, they
will." But really, if
everybody were as strict as
you, the slogan for Jakob the
Liar
would have to read, "The
Stand-Up-and-Cheer Holocaust
comedy of [the second half
of
] the year!"

Yr pal,

BarTel
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Admittedly, I've never seen
the script. All I've
heard about it is from The
Howard Show,
and I don't get
the "Shoah business"
reference at the end. But
from what I can tell, all
you're trying to say about
this movie is that it's not
that bad and it's too easy to
make fun of. But you've only
read the script. How can you
say that Shearer's "long run
of laughter" at the movie is
unjust? You've not even seen
it!

Darren Hertell
<darren@yack.com>

PS Big fan, big fan.

I'm not so sure Harry Shearer
has seen it, given that he is
very cagey about giving any
actual details about the
movie and always falls back
on the same joke — "Can
you believe they made a movie
about a clown in a
concentration camp?" Well,
yes, we can believe it, and
we can even believe that
movie could be a heartwarming
Oscar magnet. The point is,
the joke's over. It's time to
stop picking on Jerry Lewis.

Yr pal,

BarTel
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


My first reaction on reading
your 23 September quickie on
the slayings of churchgoers
was what, for want of a
better term, I'll call abject
horror. It brought to mind
some poor, 17-year-old
schmuck who stood up to be
part of a magic act, only to
find himself actually
skewered when they put him
into the box.

As horrifying as that image
was, I did find some small
solace in this: Psychologists
tell us (and we believe every
word!) that spree killers go
on their rampages because
they're starved for attention
and that, in a strange way,
going out to off a few folks
in a Quikie-Mart is the best
way to get it. How
frustrating must it have been
for Ashbrook, who in his last
desperate play for some air
time, had trouble even
convincing people that
anything real was taking
place?

Samuel Leibowitz
<sleibowitz@btcwcu.org>

Serves the bastard right.
Considering how many ways
there are to get attention
— kidnapping supermodels
and then pretending to rescue
them, coming forward as
George W.'s coke buddy from
way back when, destroying New
York and Paris and London
with a death ray — spree
killing shows a pretty
stunted imagination.

Yr pal,

BarTel
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


IPO'd

That article rocked! As a
member of a prepublic
company, I well know how many
people are planning to ride a
shiny new Mercedes into the
sunset. And yet, aren't the
cynical among us waiting with
perverse anticipation for the
whole thing to fall about our
ears? It's nice to hear the
story Newsweek doesn't tell
you.

Beth Morgan
<bmorgan@digital-impact.com>

You might want to warn them:
sometimes the sunset is a
plywood backdrop. But,
believe me, the pleasure of
saying "I told you so" is a
muted one at best, especially
when it can't be heard above
the rending of cloth.

An Entirely Other Greg
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Great Suck. Incidentally,
usually some junior associate
at the law firm representing
the underwriter is the one
who is supposed to register
the ticker symbol with
Nasdaq. Nasdaq used to
require all kinds of notice,
but now they just need, like,
24 hours. Hence, there's
probably some lawyer out
there in the Valley with ears
singed from fiery partner
breath, briefcase weighed
down with a pink slip, and
serious doubt as to how to
pay his or her $2,000-a-month
rent on Potrero Hill. You can
call that justice and be
consoled or add it to the
personal fortune death toll
of an IPO gone wrong. I'm not
sure the Valley rewards merit
anymore (if it ever did), but
it still punishes a lack of
it.

Antoun Nabhan
<anabhan@law.harvard.edu>

If only. That someone who
can't be bothered to flip the
most important switch on the
most important day of the
offering managed to get into
a position where he could
screw up that badly —
without anyone looking over
his shoulder — is an
embarrassment verging on the
satiric. But it's also pretty
typical.

An Entirely Other Greg
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Subject: Re: IPOs (And How
They) Suck

Interesting column. Hey, look
on the bright side — at
least you went public. I
worked at an information
retrieval/knowledge
management startup for a
couple of years. We had lots
of promise and great
technology, but we burned
through the VC cash and got
sold. None of the employees
got any kind of return on
their options. When this
happened after I worked
startup hours for about a
year and a half, I came to
some realizations about
startups similar to yours.
Now I work 9 to 5
(except for crisis mode, but
that's not every day anymore)
and collect the paycheck. I
still want to try my luck
with a startup again, but at
least I'll know a little more
going into it this time and
be able to balance the myths
with the realities, hopefully
without being too bitter. :)

I assume you read Po
Bronson's article about
startup employees in the recent
issue of Wired?
It was a good reality check.

Of course, my friend left the
company we were working for,
moved to Santa Barbara, and
started working for a
messaging products company
that went public recently and
is now trading at around 50.
I guess it's time to pack my
car and head to California.

Craig Thrall
<craig@thrall.net>

I believe it's the Chinese
who say, "A successful friend
is a curse, because he will
cause you to spend your days
wondering, 'Why not me? Huh?
I mean, why not?' and farting
away what is probably a good
job for some stupid,
million-to-one shot."

An Entirely Other Greg
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Tech Support Bill of Rights

Hi Suck.

I work in telephone tech
support for a major computer
manufacturer. I have a few
pointers for your readers
about phone support:

1. We do not care how long
you have been on hold.

2. A hardware technician will
not help you with outlook.

3. Call in for a single issue
at a time.

4. Do not ask a series of
unrelated questions or talk
about things unrelated to
your computer.

5. Don't annoy the technician
or you may be put back on
hold.


And there are a couple of
other things to bear in mind:
We get rated by our call
times. If your call is
finished quickly, you are
more likely to get better
support. Also, not all
technicians are
überusers, but you did
call us for our help. Please
be courteous. It makes our
job nicer, making it easier
for us to be nicer to you.

Feeling so disgruntled that I
may apply for a job with the
postal service,

Joel Mcgrady
<capttwinky@yahoo.com>

We don't doubt that there's
nothing worse than sitting on
the phone all day, pretending
to care about idiotic
customers' problems, but see,
that's your job.

We suggest you look into
other career possibilities.

the Sucksters
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

 The Shit
Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream, John Derbyshire, St. Martin's Press, 1996
Peekaboo's Masks, 2492 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
West Beirut, director Ziad Doueiri, 1999
"The Smartest Cartoonist on Earth," Daniel K. Raeburn, The Imp, Vol. 1/No. 3, 1999
Mad Monster Party, Rankin/Bass Productions, VHS, Deluxo & Black Bear Press, 1967/1999
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, America's Best Comics, 1999
Hermenaut No. 15: "The Fake Authenticity Issue," editor Joshua Glenn, summer 1999
Guillow's Sky Streak rubber-powered balsa-wood glider (without landing gear)
Webvan
Very Emergency, Promise Ring, Jade Tree, 1999
Mean Magazine No. 5, summer 1999
Slickaphonics, Replikants, KillRockStars/Rue St. Germaine, 1999
"Cash, Interesting, Summer Holiday", The Young Ones, Foxvideo (BBC Video), 1988
Driver (PSX), GT Interactive, 1999

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