The Fish
for 11 November 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
Suck Staff
 

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[the fixin'
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Connelly]
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Copy Editors

 

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Cox
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Welch
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& Ass Kicker

 

[yes, it's
a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
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[Brian
Forsyth, " we're just spanning time "]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor



I'm Spinning Out

Subject: You spun me out
Sucksters.

G'day from Down Under (I say
that because I live in Sydney
and want to meet your
stereotypical expectations of
what Aussies are like, but no
one
in Australia would
actually greet you like
that).

I am a 21-year-old Iranian
who migrated to Australia
with my parents at the age of
seven during the bloody match
of Iran vs. Iraq.

I bumped into your site via a
friend who thought it was
very funny. I have to totally
agree, but one very massive
element of your site struck
me as strange.

We, living in Sydney, see
Yanks as either loudmouthed,
belief (Bible) bashing,
patriots (because of
Hollywood), or extremist,
Christian terrorists (because
of the news), but you guys
don't seem to fit into either
of these categories. Not only
do you seem to criticize your
motherland to no end and
think freely from the pledge
of allegiance that seems to
brainwash most US kids, but
you do it with sarcasm and
great illustrations.

I have to say I love your
articles and I agree with a
lot of what you have to say.
The underlying fact is the
United States is not the
center of the world and that
history did not start after
1492.

Your site gives me (and I am
sure most others not living
in the United States) great
insight into the other side
of the coin — the fact
that no matter what
delusional propaganda the
US government tries
to push overseas of a united,
God-fearing, patriotic, and
rich United States, the truth
is you're like the rest of
us and do actually have
people (and more importantly,
writers) who do actually
express what they think about
the stupid hypocrisy around
them.

I thoroughly look forward to
reading your site in the
future.

Thanks,

Saman Jebeli-Javan
<dr.yen@ tokyo-3.com>

Yeah, isn't it weird how
there are people in every
country who don't fit the
worst possible stereotypes
you have of the citizens of
that country?

Really boggles the mind, huh?

Now we really must run —
time to eat bean dip and beat
the shit out of our kids with
the butt of our rifles,

the Sucksters
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


You're getting some
remarkably good responses to
your article. Partly this
suggests you've hit a nerve;
partly it suggests you wrote
well enough to encourage
others to write well. Either
way, it's a compliment.
Congratulations.

However, I've been wondering
if you can really establish a
genre of "shamesploitation,"
or if it is simply a critique
of a work you don't like.
Compare, if you will, Your
Friends and Neighbors
with
The Sweet Hereafter. The
former leaves you feeling
dirty; the latter, you leave
the theater feeling as if you've
just come out of a frozen
lake. One is nasty bathos;
the other offers the
redemption of true tragedy.
(It also gives Atom a free
pass, as far as I'm
concerned, for the rest of
his life; like any film by
Rohmer, I'll now go to
anything his name is on.)
Still, when you try to
dissect them, are not the
pieces pretty much the same
— people behaving badly;
some trying to do better,
others not; pain; "we are
born astride the grave." Yada
yada. The difference is
partly skill, partly caring.
Consider the recent Dreamlife
of Angels,
which, incredibly,
played briefly here and there
and never had any marketing
dollars behind it. It should
be a shamesploitation movie;
in many ways — looked at
mechanically — that's
just what it is. But the
director's obvious caring for
his characters gave its
somewhat sour viewpoint a
transcendent humanity. Or
consider Mike Leigh's films:
unpleasant people, unpleasant
deeds (especially his earlier
work and his stage work). But
Mike cares about his people.
It's not shamesploitation;
it's drama.

If the difference between
tragedy and shamesploitation
lies in a director's skill,
you don't have a genre —
you have a nice, nasty word
to criticize bad drama. Now,
if a director deliberately
sets out to make a movie that
says nothing more than
life sucks and so do you,
with no further motive or
subtext, sure — that's a
genre. But does any such film
ever get made that
deliberately? I don't think
so, at least not by anyone
who's taking his meds in the
morning. And it's not financed by
anyone who's taking his meds.

See, you got me thinking.
That was a fine piece you
wrote.

Alan Kornheiser
<ASKornheiser@prodigy.net>

I didn't see Your Fs and Ns,
but for some reason, I suspect
it may be underrated. In any
case, I should catch up with
it, if only to watch Jason
Patric try to prove what an
acting genius he is.

I'm not the biggest fan of
Egoyan. Even though his films
are unique and intelligent,
they just don't do it for me
for some reason. He's the
Bergman of the '90s in some
ways, with all the good and
bad that that implies. I like
parts of his films, but
rarely the whole. His films
don't jump, as I find, for
instance, Eric Rohmer's do.
(Since you brought him up.)
Egoyan is incredibly
novelistic, an increasing
problem in serious movies
today, even though most
people think it's the other
way around and serious novels
are too cinematic. I think
serious novels are too
novelistic too.

But what Fs and Ns and The Sweet
Hereafter
have in common, I
suspect, is that they are not
shamesploitation because both
have a strong presence with
an original view behind them.
So also with Leigh. This is
not true thus far of
shamesploitation. You're
right to say that
"shamesploitation" may be a
name for a bunch of films
with similar thematic
interests and settings that
all happen to, well, suck,
but film noir is not really a
genre either. Since it's
unlikely the category I've
come up with will ever have
the cachet of film noir, I'm
not overly worried about
having given the world a
critical bastard.

Slotcar Heathbar
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Filler

(Un)Empowered Polly,

A few things: You state that
Mr. Flinchy is supposed to be
thinking mostly about "chili
cheeseburgers or beating
off." Since I am male, I feel
that this statement is
completely erroneous. Most of
the time Mr. Flinchy will be
thinking about sex. Period.
How he gets off is by his own
personal taste, but sex is
the foremost thought in his
mind. Actually, more times
than not, it's his only
thought. To intimate chili
cheeseburgers might take
center stage is just plain
wrong.

I don't know any guy who has
a thing for Jodi Foster. Now,
if you meant this as a
backhanded insult to the
dumpee (which I am sure you
did), it still doesn't fit
with Mr. Flinchy. Remember,
he is thinking about sex, and
when the challenge is
presented, he is not going to
have the presence of mind to
say something witty right
then. Oh, sure, he'll tell
his buddies that's what he
said, but odds are he'll
blurt out something like "the
cast of Baywatch" or any
other large-breasted girl.

Also, Mr. Flinchy would turn
on the radio during the
monologue. Which would have
also gotten him in trouble.

Just some thoughts on Mr.
Flinchy.

Thoughtlessly yours,

Russell May
<russmebs@hotmail.com>

You're confusing Mr. Flinchy,
an intelligent slice of hell,
with someone far less
interesting, and therefore,
far less damaging —
yourself, perhaps.

Ha, ha, ha. Grrrrr. Just
kidding.

Even more thoughtlessly,

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Oh, Polly, Polly, Polly.
You're not funny. So goddamn
unfunny I'd like to insert
several score of rusty
staples into your arid cunt
and make you do the Terry Fox
Indefatigable Gimp Run. The
final satisfaction would come
when you've realized it was
all for your self betterment.

Jeff Exner
<hotttbunzz@hotmail.com>

Oh, baby! You read my secret
desires like a book!

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Subject: Canada ROCKS and the
United States SUCKS

I read your topic on Canada
recently, and that is
completely wrong. The United
States is a bunch of crap.
You are the only place that
still uses inches and feet
and Fahrenheit, which shows
how damn bullheaded you are.
Also, no other country in the
world likes the United
States. With all your goddamn
crap you do, everyone hates
you. Canada, on the other
hand — EVERY OTHER
COUNTRY LOVES CANADIANS.
No other country likes
Americans. Some goddamn
piece-of-crap Americans like
you even pretend you're
Canadian so other people are
nice to you when you're in a
foreign country — because
everywhere people think the
United States is crap. CANADA
ROCKS AND THE UNITED STATES
SUCKS!!!!!!

Canada ROCKS
<canada_rocks_the_world@hotmail.com>

Thank you for your compelling
argument that the United
States is a bunch of crap.
You've inspired us to
reassess all our former
preconceptions about our
homeland.

Only pretending we're
Canadian when imitating
Celine Dion,

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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