The Fish
for 1 November 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



Manhattan Project

Holly,

It's indicative of just how
screwed up things are in
Gotham when the controversy
there over an art exhibit
echoes something that
happened in Cincinnati a
decade ago (the Robert
Mapplethorpe exhibit
brouhaha). Mark Twain must be
spinning in his grave.

Sucking in Southern Ohio,

Tony Nowikowski
<tony@nowikowski.com>

Actually, Gotham also managed
to rip off Ohio's punk rock
props back in the day, since
the Pere Ubu/Tin Huey/Rubber
City Rebels nexus antedated
the much-ballyhooed CBGB's
din kicked up by Blondie,
Talking Heads, et al. (though
the Ramones remain, as ever,
unsullied by the plodding
linear march of history and
the company they were forced
to keep). But this birthright
has been squandered by the
unsightly Cleveland siting of
the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame and Museum, proving that
no region is finally immune
from the scourge of virtual
history — or the giddy
placelessness of sports
fandom.

Holly Martins
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


It's been two years since I
lived there, but that hurt!

I'm assuming you've never
lived there ... or you might
think otherwise.

Dennis

Dennis Smith
<DSMITH@kmd-arch.com>

It's been more than two years
I have lived here, and many
more that I've wrestled with
its Macy's parade–scale
inflated sense of self-worth.
There are, to be sure, many
virtues to the place, but
they tend to wilt in the face
of desperate sports fandom
and the special pleading
foisted on a hapless nation
by everyone from Woody Allen
to Regis Philbin. Chicago is,
for my money, a far more
agreeable town, and manages
to forgo such strenuous
theatrics; people actually
enjoy living there without
constantly advertising the
fact of doing so as a great
life accomplishment. And, not
coincidentally, on the rare
occasions when the city's
baseball franchises find
themselves in postseason
play, they do the gentlemanly
thing and promptly collapse.

Go, uh, Cubs,

Holly Martins
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Holly,

I left New York for San
Francisco precisely because
of the Nazi in Gracie Mansion
and his black-shirted police
force, which combined rather
poorly with the general anschluss
of Gotham's grit and attitude,
leaving me with a sense of
impending riot and mayhem. It
saddens me to hear that 12
billion souls could be put
and kept in their places by
the husband of a DJ.

One would have thought that
most of NYC's "issues" were
the result of so many bullies
in the school, not just the
want of a better school marm.

Mind you, SF's mayor is no
better.

Here's to the joy of a decent
economic depression that will
bring both cities back to
their '70s glory and pride.

Faithfully yours,

Bill Bailey
<arkouda@doxos.com>

Oddly, it comforts me to
reflect that, their many
trials notwithstanding, New
Yorkers would seem to have,
let's see, roughly 1,777
souls apiece. When all else
fails, after all, we New
Yorkers can always fall back
on our intense spirituality.
I must say, however, that
unsightly as our own mayor
is, the Nazi analogies strike
me as a tad, shall we say,
overblown. It's true he's
never seen a vicious cop he
didn't like, and nary a
street vendor or cabbie he
did, but the knee-jerk,
virulent demonization of the
guy seems to be a weird form
of Upper West Side
catharthis for catharthis'
sake. It would be much more
convincing, in any event, if
our sage liberal Democrat
braintrust could manage
something like a serious
political challenge to him
and all he stands for.
Somehow the notion that Mark
Green would seize the reins
of municipal power thanks to
a Giuliani putsch in the
Senate is akin to, well,
celebrating the Yankees'
elevation into World Series
glory after a long series of
bad umpiring calls in their
favor. As for the specter of
depression and riots, it's
the nature of the new Gotham
beast that the depression
would likely be triggered by
a long-overdue correction in
sports-merchandising futures.
And the riots would be
supplied, of course, by cops
and NASDAQ day traders.

Holly Martins
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


"Omnientertainment state a
paying proposition in the
longest peacetime boom in
American history."

Pardon me? Peacetime boom?
Maybe therein lies the
problem — the last time I
looked, the US of Eh
(still) spends more on its
military than all of its
enemies combined. Weren't
Americans just directly
involved in Iraq and Kosovo
(and oddly, not in Timor or
"Kurdistan")?

Canadians are apparently
pacific, but maybe New York
will start a trend. Learn to
love being Canadian ... learn
to love Big Brother.

Martin Koldijk
(Rhymes withchilly les)
<01140759@3web.net>

Well, I grant that war is
simply an economic stimulus
by other means, but I still
cling to the old-fashioned
notion that wars are, you
know, things that involve
massive movements of troops
over long stretches of time.
And are sometimes even
declared. But I'm sure all these
disputations will be rendered
merely semantic once we start
raining our retribution on
the shifty enemy on the other
side of the Maple Leaf
curtain — unless, of
course, plans proceed apace
to relocate Yankee Stadium in
Toronto.

Holly Martins
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU? THE
MEDIA CALLED IT THE WAR IN
KOSOVO; EVERYONE CALLED IT A
WAR BUT THE GOVERNMENTS
BECAUSE THEY WENT AROUND THE
PROCESS OF FORMALLY DECLARING
A WAR AND CALLED IT A NATO
EXERCISE BUT IT WAS A WAR ALL
THE SAME. THESE ARE THE SAME
SEMANTICS THAT GOT THE United
States IN VIETNAM FOR
(APPROX.) 10 YEARS. AS FAR AS
I KNOW, EVERYONE CALLED IT
THE VIETNAM WAR BUT THE
POLITICIANS NEVER CALLED IT
SUCH. HA HA, YOU'LL FIND THAT
THE United States ALREADY
OWNS ALMOST EVERY SQUARE
METER OF CANADA ANYWAY —
INVADING US WOULD BE
POINTLESS. WHY INVADE WHEN
YOU OWN EVERYTHING IN THE
COUNTRY YOU ARE INVADING?
BESIDES, AMERICANS ARE JUST
DECADENT SUBURBANS WHO
COULDN'T FIGHT A SERIOUS
CONFLICT IF THEIR LIVES
COUNTED ON IT. FINALLY, SINCE
WHEN DID SOME PUSSY LIBERALS
LIKE YOURSELF BECOME SO
MILITARISTIC? HAVE YOU EVER
HAD ANY MILITARY TRAINING? I
HAVE. BEING A SOLDIER IS
SERIOUS BUSINESS. IF YOU WANT
TO GRAB A RIFLE AND HUNT ME
DOWN, GO FOR IT. I WOULD
EXPECT NOTHING LESS FROM A
VIOLENT AMERICAN BULLY
(COLUMBINE, ETC.). YOU PEOPLE
ARE VIOLENT AND DISGUSTING.
ONCE YOU'VE FINISHED KILLING
EACH OTHER OFF THEN MAYBE
YOU'LL INVADE CANADA.

TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE.

MARTIN KOLDIJK
<0114059@3web.net>

Oh my. I was merely attempting
to observe long-established Suck
protocol by tweaking Canadians
with stereotypical, boorish
US élan. Little did I guess
how dangerous a pastime this
could prove to be — even
for someone like myself, who
is simultaneously a pussy liberal,
a decadent suburbanite, and a
disgusting, violent Littleton
commando. I have every reason
to credit and honor your own
military training, and withdraw
my prior misguided sport-making
on the grounds that this would
seem to be the very sort
of exchange that fuels passions
in these things known as "wars."

Holly Martins
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Subject: NYC doesn't suck
that much ...

... given the alternatives.

Drew Robertson <atlantic@
abslive.com>

The alternatives being what?
Newark and Wilmington?

Holly Martins
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Shamesploitation

That was beautiful ... a
deconstruction that inverts
an intended irony to be a
caricature of itself.

Of course, if you tried to
make a film that was/wasn't
in a position to stradle its
own antithesis in the moment
of its statement, then you
might end up with no
statement at all — a film
about nothing because
anything you say would be
ridiculously pointless. A
blank white film screen that
lasts for one-and-a-half
hours that everyone hails as
brilliant because of its
sheer audacity. The marketing
people would love it because
of its price point. The
critics would recognize it as
"the Pet Rock of films!"

Piper Carr
<PiperC@corbis.com>

Thanks for writing, Piper.

Many films are able to
maintain a sublime tension
between what they
think they're doing and what
they're really doing or
between what they're trying
to do and the way they're
surpassing it. For me,
American Beauty is not one of
them.

And I bet you've noticed how
many films about nothing are
actually made that please
critics anyway, without
resorting to the kind of
dead-end, statement less
minimalism you propose. And
how much longer those movies
are than 90 minutes. And what
big stars they have.

Slotcar Hatebath
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


You half-assed cheeseball.
It's almost amusing to read
something that expends so
much cynicism to denigrate so
much cynicism. Your writing
is probably a better example
of shamesploitation than
American Beauty is. When I
was finished reading your
righteous indignation I still
wasn't sure what you were
indignant over. Oh yeah, I
think it was, how dare movies
that show us stuff show us
stuff. Damn those filmmakers
for revealing various aspects
of the grotesquerie that
really is modern society. I
guess the mixture of cynicism
and sincerity that pervades
these movies is offensive
because, instead of harping
on one note, they exploit the
dualities that are ripping us
apart at this point in
history. We are so jaded and
we so desperately want to be
hip that we want to destroy
those that are when we
realize we can't be. Your
tone runs along the lines of
a moralist who hates finding
that the brilliance of the
surprise of his cynical turn
is usurped by the banality of
such a move when it's already
ingrained in the culture. I
think these movies are in
some sense about stripping
away the mundane and finding
not Lynchian weirdness, but a
sincere sense of self and
hope. That this exhibits
itself in some terrible irony
is the unfortunate side
effect of our postmodern,
self-reflexive, self-
conscious society. That
perhaps it is fruitless due
to the wretched state of
mankind is still no reason
not to go with it. Perhaps
Kevin Spacey's character is
"living in a state of irony"
like Lara Flynn Boyle's
character in Happiness. At
least it's more of an attempt
at a real existence than the
slump-shouldered loser we see
at the beginning. At least he
makes contact outside himself
by the end of the movie. The
strangest thing to me about
this movie is that the
clichés are combatted
with more clichés.
Again, this seems to be the
state of our "whatever,"
"yada, yada, yada" way of
referencing things that makes
everything a cliché,
especially the use of
"Lynchian." The restructuring
of these clichés to
try and make contact or make
them implode on themselves is
evident in so many movies
coming out now (Hurly Burly,
Buffalo 66
), and hey, Jeff
Koons made a big-ass art
career out of doing just
that. Is it wrong? What do we
use as cultural themes to get
at the heart of things now? I
think when you point out that
it is novel to see characters
doing anything besides
dodging bullets (or being
involved in intense court
cases), you are really
getting at something that is
problematic. But what do they
do without guns and gavels? I
guess tear each other apart
in some other way. I wouldn't
lump Happiness and American
Beauty
together because the
schmaltz of the latter offers
the possibility of
transcendence, while Ben
Gazzara's saltshaker finale
and the ending line in
Happiness don't really offer
us a way out. Some of the
movies that work these themes
seem to just posit the fact
that we do continue on, as
testament to the human will.
What we get out of such
shenanigans is up to us. But
I hope that it is more than
you have to offer with our
"tut, tut" to these films,
while I bet you offer
shameless cynicism in your
critique of the bulk of
Hollywood fare. Thus you get
to be self-righteous, cynical
(equated with hip), and
anticynical in the guise of
some sort of intellectual
sincerity. Complaining pays
the bills for you guys and I
guess you have to take it
where you find it to fulfill
the editorial mandate du
jour.

Satanhausen
<satanhausen@uswest.net>

Well, I guess we disagree. I
do, however, agree with you
about the saltshaker ending
of Happiness. The cut-in to
the insert of Gazzara's hand
is no different to me than
the one with the janitor in
Election. Both work the same
way as American Beauty's
spoon-fed transcendence.

Thanks for writing.

Slotcar Hatebath
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Raves

Dear Sucksters,

I have read many online
e-zines (including the
dreaded Salon), but you guys
have have left 'em all in
your dust. I love opening my
email every morning, if not
for a chuckle, then for a new
perspective on current public
(and private) affairs. The
writing is witty, the subject
matter relevant, and gosh
darn it, I like you!

Sharon Spilman
<puamana@puamana.net>

Well, you'll see in time that
at Suck.com we have a strong
commitment to putting out a
quality product, day in and
day out. We take all our
feedback from our customers
to heart, so if you have any
suggestions, feel free to let
us know.

the Sucksters
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


A disgraceful name, and a
worse product.

Warren L. Dean
<wdeansr@juno.com>

So don't read it, you big
fink.

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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