The Fish
for 15 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
Senior Editor


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


Ana Marie
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


Sean (Duuuuude)
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
Ghost in the Machine


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager


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

None-Hit Wonder

Subject: You live in Cali,

The center of all creation,
the "if it isn't here, it
isn't anywhere" state? Take a
walk outside and realize that
to a whole bunch of folks,
this Internet thing ain't
nuthin' but a concept. Now
watch when said folks get
broadband, or whatever
AT&T@Home plans on marketing
it as, and they can download
a new song BEFORE they finish
the one they are currently
listening to. Go take a nice
long walk outside and realize
that while you may live in
Internet time, most people
still use paper dictionaries.
Seventy-five percent of the
population doesn't even know
what an MP3 is, much less
that you can get a free
player and all the free music
you could ever want in the
time it takes to digest a
sitcom. Get a clue; you guys


You blew our whole paradigm
out of the water, dude. Are
you a consultant? What are
your fees? Clearly we need
the wisdom and guidance of a
true professional.

the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

Ordinarily I tend to agree
with the Suck viewpoint, but
the article about the plight
of MP3 was weak.

The beginning of the piece
seemed to suggest that the
future of MP3 technology in
general is questionable,
whereas the conclusion
implied that only the
profitability of MP3 is in
doubt. Huh?

"The red carpet's been
collecting dust for a while,
but the guest of honor hasn't
shown up yet," reads the
opener, citing the ridiculous
media hype surrounding MP3.

The end, however, has a
different tone: "Digital
audio's black market is way
bigger than its legitimate
trade, and there's no reason
for that to change." This
makes sense, and this sort of
situation is bound to prevent
any real moneymaking from
taking place.

So I'm confused. Are you
suggesting, perhaps, that MP3
is doomed due to its lack of
serious cash-generating
power? If so, you're dead

Your reasoning seems to come
from the notion that MP3
lacks an "organic buzz." This
is an awfully fuzzy argument.
MP3 will never be able to
generate a buzz around an
individual act the way MTV
can, simply because it allows
so many voices to be heard
and lacks any way to single
out any one performer for the
audience. But MP3, as a
technology and as a medium,
already has a tremendous

The market for MP3s is very
similar to the market for
traditional music media
outlets like MTV and
commercial radio stations;
namely, affluent white kids
with a lot of spare time.
Their ability to spread
songs, legit or otherwise, is
immense, and their
cable-modem-equipped PCs make
the hobby simple. I access
the Internet through a LAN at
my university, and students
here regularly trade popular
songs. Most of the new pop
music I hear I get through
MP3 instead of MTV or radio.

The simple fact is that for a
lot of kids, it's much easier
to email a cool song to your
friends than it is to dupe a
CD or wait for it to play on
MTV. With this kind of market
base, the companies that
create the basic MP3
technology (players, rippers,
and even portables) are
assured long-term
profitability. Though we may
eventually see the major
labels use MP3 the same way
they use MTV (namely, for
advertising), the technology
and the medium are definitely

Andrew Dollard

The future of MP3 technology
is certainly questionable,
partly because its
profitability doesn't exist
in anything but a speculative
way, but mostly because MP3
is just an encoding paradigm
that will last only until
something better comes along.
It's like the difference
between "wax cylinders" or
"shellac discs" and "the
(traditional) music

It makes more sense, I think,
to think about
technology in general, which
has been set up to be the Big
New Thing but hasn't
attracted much that's both a)
legitimate and b)
interesting. So far, despite
all the hype, it's been the
poor relation of the
plastic-and-metal music
business. At best, maybe a
listener will hear about
bands via MP3, but the point
is still the CD. And there's
not much drawing listeners to
the Web for something they
can't hear via other media;
there's not yet a band that's
made any kind of real-world
splash through the exposure
they've had through their
downloads. Opening for Alanis
and Tori (thanks to a
multimillion-dollar stock
injection) doesn't cut it.

You have them but you don't
actually own them? Now,
that's Socratic reasoning.

Thanks for writing.

E. F. Nuttin
Fish With Letter Icon

Yes, so the current crop of
(either legally or illegally)
available MP3s are shit ...
so? When the phonograph was
first invented, the first
records pressed were probably
not very good either. Does
anyone care about these
records now? The new world
that MP3 technology could
usher in is one of beauty:

No record companies.

Free music for everyone to own
(that is, everyone with
Internet access).

The death of music journalism
as a tool of record

Diversity and availability

No more Warner Brothers, Sony,
or anything to do with
Murdochs newsgroups!

Get your heads out of the
stilted present availability
problems and at least look at
the wonderous possibilities.
You schmucks!

mr jeremy bradshaw

Actually, among the earliest
commercially available
recordings were cylinders by
the United States Marine Band
conducted by John Phillip
Sousa in 1889 and 1890, some
of which are still in print.
(Mass duplication of
cylinders wasn't possible
then, so they had to be cut
individually.) Pretty great

E. F. Nuttin
Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Oh yeah, that's the
spot ...

First, nobody wants to type
in a credit card number
without getting something you
can hold in your hand.
Otherwise, porn wouldn't be
the only really profitable
e-commerce model.

Mmmmeg. That was good. Write
to us more often.

This is what I read Suck for.
Sitting in my software design
class, trying to ignore the
moron SQL "coders," bemoaning
the distinct lack of nerds
surrounding me, trying
manfully not to howl with
laughter and consequently
receive glares of reproach
from ex-Navy, ex-electricians
who need to compete in the
"digital age."

I feel the love. Or

Jonathan Grant

If you're still feeling the
love, you might want to ask
those ex- electricians if
they can do something about
it. The Navy has dealt with
it pretty effectively over
the last few years.

Thanks for writing.

E. F. Nuttin
Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: MP3: Does that stand
for Musicians will be Poor?

Sorry, but I'm having trouble
with the whole MP3 thing. I
like to pretend I do this
techie stuff for a living,
but I still can't make the
numbers work. If we limp
along on 28.8-Kbps or even
56-Kbps lines, MP3 downloads
are a usable way to sample
music we'd probably have to
buy anyway. In short, it's an
interesting piece of
technology but it won't
change anything.

However, if we ever get
decent connections and can
actually download music in
minutes or seconds, anything
on the Web becomes
essentially a free ad (if
it's effective) for a band's
live performances. If this
means every band starts
touring and there's live
music everywhere — good
music, in small venues, just
like those old '20s movies
seem to suggest — this is
again not a bad thing, but I
can't see it supporting a
music industry. Do we really
want a world in which a few
musicians make money and most
play only for fun and
attention and to make a few
bucks on the side? Actually,
in most contexts, yes we
do.... Let music be part of
lots of people's lives, not
an industry. But ...

I won't weep many tears if
there's less mediocre pop
music. Probably less music is
always a Bad Thing, but so is
the ebola virus, and I manage
to live in a world with that
too. But what about non-pop?
Currently on the machine is
Handel's Carmelite Vespers
(EMI 7 497492), two CDs'
worth of magic. It's got
soloists and choruses and
orchestration, and it isn't
exactly going to come live to
a venue near you real soon.
If they can't sell it, they
can't afford to record it.
And if I can download it for
free from some pirate site,
why should I pay for it? The
only way most people are ever
going to hear this is on a
recording, and it is always
going to be expensive to make
such a recording. Somebody is
going to have to pay for all
this, and if the music wants
to be free ... nobody is
going to pay.

As I said, I'm having trouble
working out the business
logic here. Maybe not all
technology is worth having?

Alan S. Kornheiser

With very few exceptions, the
people making lots of money
from "the music industry" are
not the musicians. Even if,
someday, downloadable music
somehow destroys the
infrastructure of the
industry as we know it, I
can't imagine it will have
that much of an effect on
most musicians' lives.

Obviously, there are kinds of
music that not only can't be
replicated live but can't be
"performed" in any way other
than pressing the Play
button. But I think that as
much as there's a basic human
drive to get cool stuff for
free, there's a basic human
drive to spend money for an
"authentic" artifact. I
suspect that most of the
audience for the Carmelite
would be happy to
shell out US$40 for a nice
package with a booklet on
good stock rather than
download the music for free.

E. F. Nuttin
Fish With Letter Icon

Does it seem like stories of
well-balanced people under 30
will drive down sales at TV
Corp? I am 32 and know lots
of smart, savvy, younger
adults who won't take any
bullshit. Perhaps that's why
the next generation could be
a problem.

Michael Rowan

You know lots of smart,
savvy, younger adults who
won't take any bullshit? Do
you know lots of smart,
savvy, younger adults who
will take any bullshit? Do
you have their email


the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

Hit and Run

A shout out from the UK:
"Knickers" are for ladies.

Longtime reader, first time
writer — since '96! Thank
you for existing.

Andrew E. Zeldis

Not anymore they ain't!


the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

Hey Sucksters,

There is platinum in your
car, in the catalytic
converter. That's the thing
that's supposed to reduce
pollution and smells like
rotten eggs sometimes.


Alex Sheppard

That must be how the state of
California gets away with its
emissions-reduction levy on
all out-of-state cars. Out
here, they seem to make the
whole exhaust system out of

the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

Who gives a fuck about who
sells jewelry to the stars?

Next time you post a
pointless, uninteresting
article like this, you should
put a "who gives a
fuck?-o-meter" next to it so
you can accurately judge this
very important data.

Please, try harder not to
print total crap like this.

Henry Koren

We put our "who gives a
fuck?-o-meter" next to your
letter. Guess what it told

the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

You mentioned in today's (30
September 1999) daily rant
that was banned by a
netwatcher program for
explicit language. That
reminds me of something that
my dad mentioned a couple
years ago when the programs
first started appearing. He
was on some committee in the
United Methodist Church at
the time, and the members
were a bit perplexed that
most of the netwatcher
programs denied children
access to anything on their
etc. All this for a few
letters in the middle of a
word.... Programs like that
really annoy me on general
principle, but they can at
least be funny sometimes.
Keep up with the hilarious
columns on

Benjamin Johnson

And keep getting those
Methodists to read Suck. We
don't promote Wesleyan
doctrines of free grace and
individual responsibility for
our health, you know.

the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

You guys ROCK!

Fuck Salon, Fuck SurfWatch.
Keep it up!

(That's probably still not
dirty enough, though, is it?)

Randy Fordice

We're not sure what's dirty
enough or if there's some
kind of quota we have to
fill. But thanks for doing
your part.

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)
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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