VACUUM

for 15 July 1996. Updated every MONDAY.

 

 

The Real World o' Suckster Mail!
Send us a ruthless dis and feel
the warm glow of hatred expressed!
All mail may be lengthened,
scrunched, or otherwise
bastardized for effect. Inform us
if you're excited about remaining
well-liked and unknown, and we'll
change your name to "faker" to
save you some grief.

 
[Aliens in My Bed]
Of St. Huck's alien piece, "The
Truth Is Way Out There
," Paul
<osailr@mo.net> writes:

 

In our macho quest to avoid being
labled a "homoterra pervert," we
don't even want to have sex with
our own planetary kind anymore.
OK, fine. Go off and piss your
life away, but don't expect me to
approve.

It's important to note that nearly
everyone who has been abducted and
then winkled has been quickly
rejected without even being asked
for a phone number. "Don't worry,
I'll find YOU." So what have
aliens learned thus far?
Earthlings are just bad in bed. I
should stop beaming peace messages
into the reaches of space and
start sending piece messages.
Which is obviously what aliens
come here for anyway.

 

Yeah! Aliens always say they're
gonna call, but they never do!
We'd prefer the realm of the
homoterra pervert... Didn't you
see that alien guy the Fresh
Prince punched out? This is not
the booty you're looking for.

 

 

Like a handful of other readers, mw
<mlworden@users.wizzards.net> was
disgusted with our comments on
Carl Sagan's appearance:

 


Your take on alien interest in our
species is right on. I always
thought Carl Sagan was an alien,
not because of his appearance, but
because of his intellect & grace.


Your comments about his appearance
strike me as sophomorically
pointless and insensitive,
considering the fact that he is
suffering from a fatal bone marrow
disease and has recently undergone
a second marrow transplant, the
first having failed.

 

Well, when it's a choice between
sensitivity and a cheap laugh,
it's pretty clear where we stand.
Although, admittedly, a few of us
feel an undeniable nauseating
guilt in being even remotely
associated with such
kick-'im-while-he's-down tactics.
But that's a known job-related risk.
(Our medical insurance should
definitely cover guilt-related
ailments...)

 

 
[Camera Bicycle]


Of "Unsafe at Any Speed by R.U.
Listening, Justin Rood
<justin@ghbooks.com> writes:

 

Hi - nice article - just one
comment:


I think you have a factual error in
your POV section - "Early
cinematographers were concerned
that changing the camera's
position, and thus the perspective
of the shot, would be
disorienting... Thus, for the
first decade of live-drama TV,
networks simply installed a single
camera in one of the more
expensive seats in the house."


I'm not sure which shows you're
talking about, but certainly
cinematographers had figured out
long before the introduction of
the television that they could
change the point of view of the
camera. Only the earliest of
filmmakers kept the single
point-of-view. . . From Eisenstein
and D. W. Griffith on, changing
p.o.v. became commonplace.
Certainly that knowledge was
common by the time television
directors came around. And many
cinematographers might take issue
with including TV directors in
their number.

 


Those snobs. Why don't they pull
those high-and-mighty-film-guy
stakes out of their asses and take
a look at the next episode of The
Real World (in Miami). Not only
does the shooting redefine
disorienting, but is that Flora
gonna be a bitch, or what?

 

 

ThomGlynn@aol.com writes:
 

I always enjoy hearing from the
vapor world about the Death of the
Novel As We Know It, along with
The Death of Linear Thinking. I
think it was about twenty years
ago when that idea first surfaced.
It must have contained some truth,
because it keeps coming back, year
after year, like a red tide that
has it in for Manatees.


Photography killed painting, tv
sandbagged radio, and computers
scored a direct hit on paper
publishing. Other revolutions are
just around the corner. The truth
of the matter is, they are, but no
one knows just what kind of ca ca
that revolutionary road will
bring.... when was the last time
you actually remember anything
anyone said on the www? I can
remember lines and concepts
(naughty word) from Moby Dick,
Kundera's Immortality, Perfume
(Patrick Suskind), The Island of
the Day Before (Ecco), The History
of Danish Dreams (Peter Hoe, the e
with the funny little Danish
zigamagig through it). Alas. I
know. I still don't get it. All
those corporate and uncorporate
internet types telling me to get
with it, to get it. I don't. So,
pushed out of the technology web.
I don't mind being unemployable
(OK, I do), but to be
technologically unhip is a moral
verboten. I'm still waiting for
the letters to be sewn on my shirt
front. To be one of the unsaved,
that great groveling mass of
grisly unthinks who fixs pipes,
lays bricks, washes floors,
carries out garbage, cleans up
someone's shit, and pines away in
attic garrets writing - oh
horrors! - linear novels - for -
oh most dreadful! - the printed
page. Is there any hope?

 

No.


Hey - you mentioned that you carry
out garbage? Our trash cans are
pretty full, and we've been
looking for someone to help out.
Plus, sounds like you've got a lot
of book learning... we like a
garbage boy who's done some
reading in his day. Lord knows we
haven't!

 

 
[Unplugged]
Sean <seank@bu.edu> writes:
 


So I tried linking to Dougie
Coupland's website, since insomnia
has been kind of a problem for me
lately. Up pops the dialog box:
"Document contains no data." I
said, "I know that, but I wanna
see it anyway." Still nothing.


Now I'm confused. Is an empty
address Coupland's clever way of
providing a blank text upon which
we can inscribe our own meanings,
or just that he needs to get his
microserfs on the ball over there?

 


We're not sure. Maybe you can write
a Letter to Dougie and tell him
how you feel, faced with his
negligence. Sort of like his
"Letter to Kurt Cobain" in
Polaroids from the Dead: "And just
then the radio played your song,
'Dumb,' and I saw a clump of
cherry trees that had been tricked
by an early spring into blooming,
and I started to cry."


But your tribute could read more
like this: "And just then I read a
passage from your chapter: 'How
Popular Culture Affects My
Personal Life (see also: Dumb),'
and I saw a clump of publishers
that had been tricked by an early
success into signing, and I
started to weep piteously. When I
got home I typed into my
Powerbook: 'Why do people with
just one book in them keep
writing?'" Just a suggestion,
anyway.

 

 

Of Happie Funball's Zero Baud
column, "Self-Imprudent," Chris
Nelson <crispy@cstone.net>
writes:

 


Of all the listings in your rant on
the self healing racket, the only
one I felt was unjustified was
your paragraph on "Learning to
Breathe Right!". Although at first
the idea rings of stupidity, you
are probably sitting at your desk,
breathing with your chest, and
assuming that is a normal, healthy
way to breathe. Well, it is normal
in that most humans do it...


Not only is "stomach breathing" a
standard means of breathing in
meditation practices, but some
doctors will advise it to help
lower stress, and if you watch
bikers in the Tour de France
cruising up the Alps, you will see
any number that use stomach
breathing. Greg LeMond was one...

 


Okay, but Greg LeMond also wears
those nasty little shiny shorts
all the time, so what does he
know? Then again, he did start
that bike company, and he has his
own restaurant, which is actually
supposed to be good, and he lives
in Minnesota, and probably people
in Minnesota know a lot more about
breathing than anyone around here,
but his bicycles are really,
really expensive, something like
$7,000 per bike, who can afford
that? And that restaurant's pricey,
too... has he completely forgotten
the little guy, or what? Couldn't
he just start a little burger
joint called Greg's, reach out to
the common man. We don't care how
the man breathes, he's in a place
where he could really make a
difference, and instead he peddles
tasteful melanges of endive and
mango, give us a break. Stupid
jerk.

 

 

Last week's Filler included a
"quote" by Mariah Carey [Of poor,
starving kids: "I'd love to be
skinny like that, but not with all
those flies and death and stuff."
Arno Harris <arno@novomedia.com>
responds:

 

The hot tip re: your story on
Mariah Carey. This particular
quote started as an innocuous
spoof interview on Cupcake - the
quote is completely made up.
Shortly after it appeared on the
site, British news tabloids
somehow picked up the quote and
didn't fact check well enough...
sort of surprising from a tabloid.
From there, the BBC's Radio 1
quoted the tabloid story, again
without verifying the source. Once
Radio 1 quoted it, the story
became as good as true and has
appeared in various other
publications, including your own.
Needless to say, the lawyers over
at Sony are going ape-shit.
They've been posing as cupcake
"fans" trying to cozy up to
cupcake's staff... no such luck.
Cupcake is run by an individual
and is run from the Sirius
network. Sirius deserves the ISP
Integrity award: they have
repeatedly turned down Sony's
request for the cupcake account
owner's name.


I'm not sure if this is a story
about the power of the Web or the
weakness of the media...your
guess?

 

Thanks for the scoop - needless to
say, we're pretty thrilled.
Filler's statement of purpose
specifically includes the
propagation of false rumors and
outright lies - looks like we
scored a homerun with this one.


Naturally Sony executives are
flipping - our girl Mariah's
married to one of 'em. I'm sure
he's more than slightly displeased
that people everywhere have the
impression his wife is not so
swift. But really, it's the best
thing that could've happened to
her, career-wise. They didn't
really think that goody-two-shoes,
bare-midriff-at-the-amusement-park
schtick was gonna play for long,
what with Alanis making a name for
the bitches (or Barbies posed as
bitches, anyway)?


But, the real scoop here is that
the power of the Web promulgates
the weakness of the media. We're
just proud to play a small part in
the whole ugly equation.

 

 

Of Ann O'Tate's "Things That Go
Boom in Night
," John Schwartz
<john@dissemination.com> writes:

 


I enjoyed your commentary on summer
movies, and your use of SAFE as a
hermeneutic is particularly
interesting. I just saw it a week
ago and I can't really explain why
it was the scariest movie I've
ever seen.


There are certainly hegemonic
forces at work in the film
industry (read Culture Industry),
and exploring the mythos they
peddle is very interesting; yet it
seems easy for Americans to watch
movies about conspiracy theories,
and then go home and forget about
it. In other words, it reminds me
of Greek Tragedy and the communal
significance of catharsis; it's a
purging that allows people to
remain comfortable, safe, even.


Althusser's description of ideology
as "man's imagined relationship to
the representation of reality,"
seems hard to get around here.
Yet, smart critical analysis such
as yours gives these ideas a more
democratic appeal, and I for one,
welcome this. Keep it up.

 

Ann O' Tate writes:
 


In the interview we linked to, Safe
is described as a "disaster flick
for the soul," a line that would
have been nice to contrast to the
repeated "critical" references to
ID4 as a way new disaster movie -
which it is, of course. But, you
know, I always thought the Greeks'
purging allowed people to remain
empty in order to be able to
consume some more.


And Althusser - he, like, wrote
speeches for Kennedy or something,
right?

 

 
[Drawing Computer]


Scott <scott_raynovich@wcmh.com>
had a little ego-bruising to
administer:

 


The Suck droning is starting to get
old. Half the time I don't even
know what you are talking about,
anymore. You seem to be suffering
from a problem that has widely
plagued the net recently: Web
inside jokes. Every reference,
one-liner, psuedo-clever insult is
targeted at yet another obscure
Web page. How is the Web ever
going to become a true measure of
culture if all it's every
concerned about is itself? It's
this techno-narcissim that is
drawing me to the Web less and
less every day.

 


We've been suffering from that Web
inside joke problem for almost a
year now, and those obscure
websites can be accessed through
something called a link, provided
for your browsing convenience. As
far as obfuscation and cryptic
references in general, we stand
guilty as charged. We try to keep
it under control, but in general,
we don't want to hold your hand.
You can always read your metro paper's
cyber column or Yahoo: Internet
Life
if you want things laid out
for you real nice. The idea that
the Web should become a true
measure of culture sounds like
something sprung straight from the
head of the techno-narcissists you
decry. Of course it's a circle
jerk - we just want to be on the
sidelines jeering when the wanking
begins.


We have a voice, a bunch of
half-baked ideas, and the Web as a
launching point. In general,
you're overestimating us.

 

 
[Boy Scout Suck-Boy]
But then, Roger Merel
<EUC@pcmail.tellabs.com> rebuilt
our self-esteem:

 


It is rare when I will bother to
comment on a product or service
but I find myself compelled to
complement you on Suck. I has a
well defined sense of purpose.


It makes one think about the state
of the world.


I also appreciate that the content
is not shovelware trying to
maximize the size of the site or
giving away worthless free stuff
trying to get you to pay for the
valuable content.


Yours is original content. Thanks
for contributing to a better
world.

 


See Scott? We're contributing to a
better world, just by providing
original content.


Roger, you're overestimating us.

 

courtesy of
Polly Esther
and you