The Fish
for 18 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

Caveat Expert

Well, being the techno-boring
guy that I am, I'd like to
point out that hypertext
markup language was actually
invented so as to more or
less obviate traditional
citation by linking directly
to the primary source or
citation. To wit, citation is
the whole point of HTML,
current abuses
notwithstanding.

NATO
<hyperman@gte.net>

I do agree with you. However,
have you seen the MLA's
recommendations on citing
hypertext documents or
including hyperlinked
citation on a page? If
anything, hypertext was a
goner from the word go.
There's too much brand-name
recognition invested in a
visible citation list for
academics to willingly do the
logical thing and create a
contextual web of knowledge.

Best,

Vixel Pixen
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Steve-olution

Hey, anyone who puts out as
much as Steve Allen outputs
has got to produce a little
garbage once in a while. And
besides, we don't know if he
even wrote the article about
TV content, or just sold his
name. Of course, he's always
been the liberal's liberal,
since 1964 when he wrote his
smarmy "Open Letter to a
Conservative" in opposition
to the Goldwater campaign.
But look, any guy who thinks
he can speak for Napoleon,
Julius Caesar, and Marie
Antoinette just shouldn't be
taken seriously anyway.

Still, I enjoyed your
article.

Bob Benz
<robert.f.benz@worldnet.att.net>

Hey, I talk to Julius Caesar
all the time — he was the
original inspiration for A
Man Called Dagger, BTW. But,
BB, you got it all wrong. It
isn't that prolific Steve
— the same man who once
wrote a symphony orchestra
while bear-hunting with Teddy
Roosevelt in a Kalamazoo,
Michigan, bed and breakfast
— occasionally puts out
crapola. It's that prolific
Steve—the same man who
once nominated his wife's
sister, Jayne "Alice Kramden"
Meadows, for membership in
the Raccoon Lodge while
writing six songs
simultaneously (one by each
toe on his left foot) —
only puts out crap. He's
throwing the curve on
Sturgeon's Law, by which 90
percent of everything is
crap.

Mr. M.
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Wow ... a shocker. When I saw
the title, I thought
reflexively, "Steve Forbes,"
because that is exactly the
kind of crap he's been up to
lately. I nearly jumped out
of my seat when I discovered
that it was Steve Allen.

As I recall, this is the same
Steve Allen who wrote a book
called Dumbth, the gist of
which was his trust in the
Viewing Public to determine
Right from Wrong. I guess he
had a change of heart, natch.

Christopher Driskell
<casaubon@ compuex.com>

It's one thing to trust the
public to know right from
wrong when they still
remember who you are. It's
another thing to trust them
when they can't remember
whether Steve Allen is the
man who once wrote personal
theme songs for 25,000
migrant workers at a
Kalamazoo, Michigan, Black
Mass or if he is the same man
who played Benny Goodman in
the Knute Rockne Story. In
either case, it's clear that
the public be damned.

Mr. M.
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


None-Hit Wonder

Subject: You live in Cali,
right?

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
Suck.

Wah
<thewah@uswest.net>

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
wrong.

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
buzz.

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
viable.

Andrew Dollard
<goldhick@mail.rit.edu>

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
business."

It makes more sense, I think,
to think about
digital-audio-download
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
consumption.

Diversity and availability
maximized!

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
<jeremy.bradshaw@strath.ac.uk>

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
stuff.

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
something.

Jonathan Grant
<the_pooka@hotmail.com>

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
<ASKornheiser@prodigy.net>

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
Vespers
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
<mkr0waves@earthlink.net>

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
addresses?

Scheming,

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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