VACUUM

for 5 August 1996. Updated every MONDAY.

 

 

Real Lovely Reader Mail! Scrawl out
some pleasing prose and we'll
publicize your dexterity with the
written word. All mail may be
edited to make us look good. Tell
us if you've had premonitions of a
death by mob and we'll change your
name to Joe Klein.

 

Aside from the occasional
stand-out, this week we found
ourselves dipping into the bottom
of the garbage pail o' reader
mail, searching for scrapes of
thoughtful observations, or at
least something to make fun of.
But, in most cases, we settled for
bad spams, sophmoric insults, and
frightening suggestions for column
topics - in other words, we went
for the cheap laughs. Consider
yourself forewarned.

 

Of The Duke of URL's "Golden
Shower
" Ric Manhard
<tanuki@erols.com> writes:

 

Greetings Duke!

I remain in awe of the net busting
I read with an almost (emphasis on
the almost!) religious fervor at
Suck.com.

Keep up the good work and I will be
a stone regular reader.

To reiterate: thank you.

 

We'd prefer that you be a stoned
regular reader. The stone regular
readers don't really do much, but
we find the stoned regular
readers' insights invaluable to
steering our editorial vision.

 

<kasherr@island.net> writes:

 

get a life, you suck, quit
worshiping old forgotten news that
isn't even true you little geek
man

 

First of all, old forgotten news is
utterly underrated. Secondly,
how'd you know the Duke was a
little geek man?

 

Of Friday's net.moguls, Will Kreth
<kreth@prodigy.com> writes:

 

So, you finally put a woman up as
the net.mogul of the week. And
then you give her Spock ears.

I've met Pattie Maes. She does not
have vulcan ears.

I've enjoyed all the other moguls.
But I can't enjoy this one. Bad
judgement on your part. Very lame.

 

What can we say, Will? We're
unhappy mutants, libel to lash out
at almost anything or anyone with
little or no provocation. Was it
the art director, Terry, who has a
deep-seated resentment for people
named "Pattie"? Was it the artist,
who has a thing for vulcan women?
When you work with twisted freaks,
the diffusion of responsibility
for such blatant errors in
judgement is remarkable. Maybe we
just need to play with Silly Putty
and listen to They Might Be Giants
more...

 
[]

Herr Doktor Benway
<benway@vidya.com> writes:

 

You guys should do a sort of "White
Man's Burden" piece. All the
shameful aspects of white trash
culture. Line dancing,
infomercials, soap operas, K-mart,
Murder She Wrote, Cribbage, Barry
Manilow, Regisnkathielee.

cracker.com?
honky.com?
yaku.com?

 

What the hell is "shameful" about
"white trash" culture? Regis and
Kathie Lee aside, we'd much rather
target upper-middle class
butt-white kids who can't seem to
shake the feeling that they're
somehow "above" shopping at K-mart
or watching soap operas, simply by
dint of their supposedly refined
yet distinctly unexceptional
consumption patterns. You imagine
that your fat wallet keeps you
unsullied by the pedestrian, yet
your demographic is so
neatly-targeted and easily
summarized, you might as well have
a magnetic strip on your ass.
"Let's see, he just watched Talk
Radio, now he'll go down to the
corner store and buy some Trojans,
Ben & Jerry's, and a bottle of
Robert Mondavi. Later he'll peruse
the local bars, sip martinis,
smoke Dunhills, and comment on the
fact that they're playing
Portishead."

What's shameful is the notion that
you've somehow risen above the
masses thanks to something as
pathetically mundane as your
particular blend of consumer
choices, which you probably fancy
you a) inherited from your
gracious yet irreproachably
sophisticated parents, or b)
somehow "figured out" on your own,
thanks to your amazing ability to
assimilate with your peers and
turn your back on your own "honky"
roots. Why don't you take a little
trip down to K-mart and talk to
some people there? You'll be
surprised to find that, despite
their apparent negligence in the
realm of fashion, many of the
K-mart customers you encounter
have a better grip on what it
means to be alive in their pinkies
than you have in your entire
Wonderbread skull.

Ahem. Uh... oops. Looks like we got
confused at the coffee shop again,
and bypassed the "chocolate"
shaker for the "commie" one...

 

Or St. Huck's "Take My Advice -
Please!
" Erik Goetze
<goetze@pa.dec.com> writes:

 

It would have been cool to point
out Ann Lander's attitude towards
the Internet-she seems to think
it's only a place for desperate
lonely people to get reamed by
vultures.

 

Ooo... that sounds like as good an
assessment as any. Now if we could
only figure out if we're the
desperate lonely people or the
vultures...

 

ctc-customer-service@tribune.com
writes:

 

Dear Bullshit Eater,

Thank you for registering with
Chicago Tribune under the name of
You-suck-eggs. It's great to have
you aboard and we hope you have
the best of experiences with our
service.

 

You're welcome.

 

Of Thursday's Hit and Run, W. Matt
Meyer
<wm285989@oak.cats.ohiou.edu>
writes:

 

Subject: YOU SUCK LEMONS, OLD NASTY
LEMONS

You guys suck. Please put away the
thesarus. And get rid of the "Web
Cruiser's Hipster Dictionary and
Slang Guide."

Also, aim your guns at tougher
targets than John Tesh, Keanu
Reeves' movies, and overly
patriotic Olympic coverage. (Talk
about fish in a barrel (pun
intended)).

You guys should be concentrating on
pulling the Web out of this Model
T, huckster,
sucker-born-every-minute phase
it's in. Try to keep these new
media jackoffs honest.

 

We suck eggs, not lemons... least
of all old nasty lemons. As far as
taking aim at easy targets goes,
it's sort of like beating up your
little brother. Shamelessly easy,
yes, but then it feels sooooo
good. Truth to be told, we've been
literally slobbering at the chance
to take a jab at John and Keanu
for some time now - and then they
stretched their necks across the
guillotine within days of each
other! It's been a great week.

Oh, and by the way, some thought
Hollywood's commercialization was
just a phase, too. Though it's
depressing to admit our salty
words have little or no effect on
the greater world, it's gonna take
more than a handful of surly
creeps in South Park to keep the
new media jackoffs honest. The web
world is on a speeding train to
commercialization, in all its
greed and mediocrity - throwing
yourself across the tracks ain't
gonna slow things down much, so
get over it. Try to think about
happy things instead, like bumble
bees and seashells.

 
[]

"Karl L. Gerling"
<klg5646@ritvax.isc.rit.edu>
writes:

 

Your stick-it-to-the-man style is
always appealing as it reflects my
general view of the greater
population at large. Thus, the
fact that you picked John
"is-it-a-man-or-not" Tesh as one
of your main targets illustrated
another point of view shared by
myself and the sucksters.

After all, when did this
second-rate composer suddenly
become an expert of women's
gymastics? I seem to remember his
entry into the public-eye as a guy
who read a teleprompter. His
constant babbaling of zero insight
only shows his own ineptness.
Surely, this is a self-defense
mechanism caused by his lack of
quality which results in an
unending spew of quantity.

 

See, Matt? By choosing easy
targets, we build bridges between
people! Thanks for sharing, Karl.

 

Of Errol O. Smith's "An Astral
Theory of Rock
"
<szeiss@us.oracle.com> writes:

 

Carl Sagan was once in a band
called "Quasars". Some maintain,
the brilliance (say brilliance
like Sagan would billions) of
David Byrne to the little known
fact that he was spawned by Sagan
and an adventurous EE after an
atmospherically warped CalTech
Quasar show. However, no music, or
direct proof of Byrne's alleged
origin, was ever produced. The
same some attribute Sagan's, and
reflexively Quasars', abrupt
discontinuation of music to an
alleged pact with aliens. Again,
the some say the pact is
conditional: Sagan may study the
aliens as long as he does not
disclose their existence and the
chillingly narrowness of his neck
(thus the ubiquitous turtle neck).
I, however, believe Sagan, with
all his Astral knowlege, came upon
the Astral Theory of Rock long
before you and decided a
peripatetic life in which he said
inimitably "billions" on Public
Television suited him better.

 

So, aliens don't like music?

 

Brian Alpert
<0005231993@mcimail.com> writes:

 

Hi Errol - nice piece on stars.
Gotta respectfully disagree about
Sting though. Not that I mind
mentioning him in this context.
But I'd easily accept 'collapse'
status in return for half his
investment portfolio and future
royalties (as would you, or any
Suckster for that matter, no
doubt).

 

Errol responds:

 

Knowing that a mention in Suck
guarantees acceleration through
the Collapse phase and into the
lucrative Black Hole phase (see
original theory), Sting's
management actually encouraged our
disparagement of his career in
general, and the song 'Mother' in
particular.

Andy Summers, meanwhile, is
irrelevant. He never even
glistened, much less shined.

 

Tom Stacey
<tjstacey@electriciti.com>
writes:

 

Egads! When did this happen? The
very fountain of snide petulance
is now brought to you by a brand
of stinking English gin. Just
another load of branded content
now? It would explain the recent
"you're expecting too much"
references and the staunching of
your normal vitriol in regard to
endeavors like Slate, lest you be
accused of calling the pot black.
Everyone's got their price, right?
So you sell out. What other option
do the brilliantly talented have
nowadays once they become hugely
suckcessful the Cobain route?

Oops, sorry. Anyway, Suck (Suck,
Inc.?) needs a revenue stream too,
but we'll have no vivisections of
Tanqueray's glamourously stupid
advertising now shall we? Besides,
it's so ... advanced to drink
martinis till you're paralyzed. Do
you get free samples for sucking?
Or is that just for the ad reps?
Hey, have them pitch
Anheuser-Busch and Marlboro, and
maybe you can hire SEVERAL
copyeditor/researchers, and give
yourselves a huge raise too.

On second thought, plain old beer
and cigs won't do, far too
plebeian for The Sucksters. As a
bonafide brand now you have to
protect your identity in the
market. You'll need something that
complements your other sugar
daddy. That means something
elegant yet dangerous, that
satisifies the apparent
anglophilic yearning you've
identified in your audience.
Ideally it would be addictive, a
common consumable with a certain
cachet (and someone with a big ad
budget!). As you said, some think
the country's going Dunhill... if
you're cashing out, what the heck,
your integrity's shot, why not go
all the way? Take the tobacco
road...

 

Apparently you have the energy to
fulfill the duties of a
good-for-nothing job during the
day, and then spew forth a
fountain of snide petulance by
night, but the two original
Sucksters, like normal little
flowers, eventually came to crave
sleep and occasional sunlight more
than the proud tag of never having
"sold out." Perhaps you wear that
tag... isn't it great how money
can keep you clean and
irreproachable? That's why we
wanted some...

Oh, but you overestimate our
tastes. While there is a bottle of
Black Label Scotch on Carl's desk
at all times - which we use to
determine his mood (Low tide?
Okay... Carl, I have a
question...) - the rest of us dip
precariously in the direction of
plain old beer. Protecting our
market identity is lower on the
priority list than protecting
ourselves from wretching and
gagging, or fumbling with ice and
mixers to make martinis. But then,
despite others' perceptions of
deliberation and meticulous
image-bolstering, most of our
habits boil down to sheer
laziness.

 
[]

We always love a letter from a
card-carrying conspiracy theorist.
Matt Fischer <mfischer@umr.edu>
writes:

 

First let me say that I love your
'zine, it makes my job easier,
plus people actually think you are
working when you are surfing the
web...

Allow me to rant for a bit, perhaps
with some more research you can
consider it for your column. I
went to McDonalds to get an Arch
Nemesis sandwich and fries. I got
one of the 'Olympic Game' pieces,
and as usual, it was an obscure
sport (Men's Doubles Badmitton).
However, this time I checked
www.olympic.nbc.com, and we don't
have a freakin' team! I mean how
can I win my small coke when we
dont have a team?!! And how come I
never see 'Men's Basketball', why,
because we might actually medal in
that event?

 

Could McDonald's really be that
protective of its small cokes,
given the fact that you'll end up
buying that Arch Nemesis and
fries, regardless? The real
question is: why DON"T we have a
Men's Doubles Badmitton team?
Surely there is someone in this
great land of ours who can play
Badmitton Doubles, of all
things...

 

Perhaps a bit more extreme in his
conspiracy theories, Jon
<ehsjbel@ehs.ericsson.se> writes:

 

Sorry to take your time, but if you
haven't done a treatment of the
"Feds are watching you"-phalange,
please consider doing one. If you
have, I'd appreciate receiving an
email copy. There must be more
than myself whose suspect "Big
Brother" of planting the pipebomb
in Atlanta. (Warning enough to not
quite clear the site = minimal
casualities but maximum political
effect; the media's readiness to
pillory the Internet as "the"
source of blueprints for bombs,
etc.) If so, what're their
profiles, webhangouts, etc.? Keep
up the jaundiced work!

 

Um, the feds are watching us too
closely to do that. Be afraid. Be
very afraid.

 
[]

Here's where the real scraping
begins - but then, sometimes
scrounging yields the best
results, guffaw-wise. Let's start
with a request for submission
guidelines from Josephine Klein:

 

I am a disillusioned corporate
media clone (Pathfinder)
interested in venting my
hostilities against my vast
conglomerated employer by
submitting an occasional piece to
Suck. It's cheaper than quitting,
and better for my sex life than
Prozac.

Could you please send me Writers'
Guidelines?

 

Hoo, doggie. Well, it's all
relative, isn't it? But, let's get
this straight... when you say
"better for my sex life than
Prozac," you mean Prozac is really
really BAD for your sex life and
maybe writing for Suck might be a
little better than that? Or does
the cheery demeanor granted by
Prozac actually gets you the
babes? Whether or not you can do
anything with them once you get
them is another story. Either way,
trust us when we tell you this:
vent all the hostilities you like,
but don't, under any
circumstances, suffer from the
delusion that it will help you get
some trim.

We wish getting published in Suck
could somehow be leveraged for
booty. Au contraire, even our
coworkers avoid us like the
plague. Maybe we just need to
drink more Tanqueray...

 

How about a slick spam from Patrick
Shandrick
<pshandrick@earthlink.net>?

 

Your site has been selected among a
group of preferred entertainment
oriented sites to be invited to
participate in an innovative and
highly visible Internet promotion
with Lifetime Television.

Lifetime is about to premiere the
first-ever dramatic series about
investment banking, "Traders,"
which will debut in September.

"Traders" is to the high powered
world of investment banking what
"ER" is to the medical field and
"LA Law" is to the legal
profession. It's hard-hitting,
highly-charged, intelligent,
information-packed and superbly
acted... a very rare combination
indeed on television these days.

Want to build traffic and increase
exposure to your site without
spending money? This is the
opportunity, and here's why:

1) We are giving you
prizes...really meaningful prizes.
No t-shirts or key chains. How
about a $5,000 investment bond? Or
Intuit's Quicken Financial
Planner, Quicken Deluxe and
subscriptions to the Investors
InSight service? Or subscriptions
to Morningstar's mutual fund
rating and resource guides. With
your help, we can customize a
prize package especially for YOUR
site's users.

2) We are giving you exposure...no
strings attached! Backed by a
bonanza of publicity and an on-air
television promotional campaign,
the Traders Internet activity will
be big news. And for a select
number of sites (yes, yours!), we
are featuring URLs on national
television spots running
throughout the month of
September....

Who are "WE?" We are The Dresbach
Company (TDC), an Internet-smart
group of entertainment industry
marketing and promotions savants,
with a client base that includes
Turner Network Television,
MCA-Television, Sendai Publishing,
TBS and Lifetime Television.

I am standing by to answer your
questions (of which I am sure you
may have many at this point) and
to sign you on. Contact me at:
pshandrick@dresbach.com or
(tel.)213.658.9078.

 

Patrick, when you say that you're
"an Internet-smart group of
entertainment industry marketing
and promotions savants," is that
roughly equivalent to "idiot
savants"? Aside from the fact that
we'd rather have one T-shirt or a
lousy keychain than 10 million
copies of Intuit's Quicken
Financial Planner, aside from the
fact that if we wanted
"exposure... no strings attached!"
we'd get naked and march around
the HotWired office, aside from
the fact that no Internet activity
qualifies as "big news," aside
from all these things, this show
you're talking about sounds a hell
of a lot like Profit, and, as
we're quite sure YOUR show won't
feature a lunatic who was raised
in a box (unless you feature one
of the Suck mutants), OR George
Clooney for that matter, we're
just wondering why in the world
you took a job with such an
obvious lack of a future?

Oops... uh, scratch that last
question.

 

Sadly, we couldn't even resist
ruthlessly including a snippet
from a 2-page cover letter we
received this morning:

 

...When I first entered the work
world at 15, I resolved never to
flip burgers for a job. Instead, I
always tried to work at jobs that
were a lot less greasy and a
little more cerebral, or that at
least had a more cerebral image.
First shelving books at the public
library for a year; then punching
in claims at an insurance agency;
then working as an office gofer in
the editorial offices of a local
municipal magazine. In my free
time, I toyed with a shell account
I had gotten at a local university
and discovered the Internet...

In Munich, most of my time not
spent in desiccated lectures and
seminars on formal logic and
Indo-European philology was spent
working. This job was as a clerk
at a rickety copy shop in a subway
station underneath the university,
shut away from the light of day. I
learned the intricacies of the
bureaucratic culture in terms of
the copies made by our customers:
Germans copying their
identification cards, students
copying course certificates,
Bosnian refugees copying asylum
applications...

 

No offense, but in general it's
best to save the fascinating yet
seemingly trivial details of your
early development for
getting-to-know-you talks with
prospective lovers over martinis.
Personal memoirs and cover letters
belong to different genres for a
very very good reason. Next time,
think thumbnails sketches, bullet
points, and gratuitous yet witty
ass-kissing, keeping in mind those
in power invariably have short
attention spans and huge egos.

 

Finally, a caustic note from Spanq
fan Steven Dahout
<iceman4@ix.netcom.com>:

 

Spanq Is Better Than Suck By At
Least 103%!!!

Suck has no graphics (to speak of)

No audio
No links
No fun
No elbows

.....only assholes!! (and their
vainglorious output)

Keep on living down to your name,
wither and die!

 

But Steve, we have links, fun,
elbows, and assholes! And where do
you get your statistics? 103%,
indeed! Why not 200%? What was to
stop you from saying Spanq is
better than Suck by 506%? As long
as you're going to employ arbitrary
facts and figures, why not just
say, Sesame-Street style, "Spanq
is better than Suck because it
ends with the letter 'Q'"?

 

courtesy of
Polly Esther
and you