VACUUM

for 23 September 1996. Updated every MONDAY.

 

 

Really Real Reader Mail! Drop us a
note and rock the boat! All mail
shaped and fitted for comfort,
speed, cheap thrills. If you'd
like to remain unknown, let it be
known.

We got crappy mail last week. Polly
wants you all to know that it's
all your fault. If we seem a
little more bitter than usual, now
you know why.

 

Mark Zurbuchen <maz132@psu.edu>
starts us off with a fascinating
and insightful critique of the
Duke of URL's "Swimming Up the
Mainstream
":

 

Your article is stupid and full of
nonexistent and random links. I'd
have better luck with Yahoo's
"Random."

 

We appreciate your very detailed
and well-substantiated analysis of
the article in question. While
we're sorry to hear that you found
it "stupid," we are curious what
kind of "luck" you're hoping to
have. Given your penchant for
meticulously presented,
relentlessly thorough analyses,
perhaps you seek links which might
offer information which would
deepen your understanding of the
subject at hand. We admire your
urge to expand your mind, and
encourage you to do so elsewhere.
You should know sluts like us
prefer their links random.

 
[]

G. Piper Carr, associate editor of
USPAN, writes:

 

I like the cut of your jib
sailor... Staggering through the
aftermath has always been a good
divining rod for the creative
water vein and the well, she's
runnin' dry on the Web captain!

My favorite quality of Armchair
America is the predisposition to
fear and loath what you don't
understand. The Net has become a
strange new spectre, lurking in
our collective anxiety closet and
performing strange manipulations
with its modem. The uninitiated
have a surreal, flat earth theory
about the Net and seem confident
that their illusions will be
shattered like ming dynasty
porcelain if they dare to inhale.

Thanks for being such an on it
bunch of journalistas. It's
refreshing to see a Net enterprise
that's fully intact wihout a Pepsi
header. It's also nice to see the
rich, caustic vapor of blatant
popular culture flaming hold its
own. I plan to inhale frequently.

 

Who are the uninitiated? What is a
journalista? Whom do we contact
about this Pepsi header you
mentioned?

Yar! Don't inhale too deeply there,
matey!

 

<mbspc@earthlink.net> writes:

 

You have several valid points in
your article... People who will
buy these boxes don't even need to
be connected to the web because
little more than a graphical user
interface such as AOL is all they
seek... any more will confuse
them. Hell, I admit even AOL
confused me at first but learned
quickly after the first month of
online fees. This demographic
seeks the simplicity of "Direct
TV" without running any of the
cable.

All of this poses some frustration
to those of us who have learned
our programming languages and
download stuff for free only to
see these people get taken because
of their own fear of learning
something new.

I never wanted to see the net
become a market place. I like the
origional theory of post helpful
info or don't crowd our system.

 

People will decide for themselves
whether or not they "need" to be
connected to the web. Of course
people want simplicity, of course
people don't want stuff that's
confusing - how are these somehow
despicable traits? Just because
some people have better things to
do with their time than learn
programming languages, that
doesn't make them fearful of new
knowledge... It's quite reasonable
to expect that, if the Internet
goes mainstream as expected, these
people will have absolutely no
need to learn anything but how to
turn the shit on and then point to
the screen.

Or maybe you're just frustrated
with yourself for wasting so much
time figuring this stuff out when
soon it'll be as easy and
mainstream as making Jell-O. Maybe
you're frustrated that you won't
be special merely by dint of your
web connection anymore.

Sometimes to get to the heart of
the problem, you need to look at
yourself first. Only then will you
learn to grow. Let go of your
frustration, friend, and remember:
you are special. You're a very
special person. Why, there's not
one person on this whole planet
who is just exactly like you!

Or at least you don't think so.

 
[]

Of Bartleby's "Childhood's End,"
Somebody writes:

 

I was impressed by your writing
style. Anyway, I was very
interested in the events in
California regarding the
sterilization of child molestors.
It seemed to be a sort of
milestone in the normalization
process, the mandatory ingestion
of chemicals to modify behavior.
While I have seen some discussion
regarding the ethicality of
marketing campaigns which try to
enlarge the market for
anti-depressants or similar
socializing substances (ritalin,
etc) I am wondering whether there
are people responding to these
issues in forums or the like. I am
very concerned about the likely
expansion of chemical mind control
and personality modification and
would like to see more about it in
the press as well.

 

Bartleby responds:

Sigmund Freud continues to be quite
popular among lotus eaters in the
Golden State, where the father of
psychoanalytic theory's adherents
keep coming up with clever ways to
cross-promote themselves. Rumor
has it that Demi Moore's
psychiatrist, rather than
prescribe antidepressants,
suggested she augment her contract
with the Milk Advisory Board by
working for scale in a Woody Allen
picture, a combination sure to get
her erotogenic evolution back on
track after Striptease. (A similar
move, coupled with the corporate
sponsorship of a major beverage
company like Coca-Cola, would have
done wonders for the career of
Roscoe Arbuckle.) In any case,
rest assured that California still
leads the nation in the
sanctification of child
molesters.

 

Hal Hildebrand
<halh@polymorphicSoftware.com>
writes:

 

So you leave the unanswered
question: What do we get for
credit?

Cool work.

- Hal

--

My place is of the sun, and this
place is of the dark. I do not
feel the romance. I do not catch
the spark...

 

Bartleby responds:

Kudos appreciated, Hal. And you're
dead right about the great
outdoors - sun protection factor,
my freckled behind. As to your
question, it's time we put our
foot down on the culture of
victimization. This country, to
paraphrase economist W. Michael
Cox, needs to lift its lazy ass by
the bootstraps - the meek may
inherit the earth, but I'm not
waiting in line behind Christopher
Reeve when he decides his neck
brace is too loose. The only
return policy we need to worry
about is return on investment.

Yours in pursuit of capital gains
and a yard-long birch switch,

Bartleby

[We are intense, we are in need,
we are in pain... ed.]

 
[]

Of Heavy Meta's "Nothing to Fear
But Fear Itself
," Tim Leonard
<TLeonard@ccmgate.mti.com>
writes:

 

It's too late, the Internet IS the
CB Radio of the late '90s!! The
same idiots who ran around calling
everyone "good buddy" while trying
to emulate the free wheeling
truckers are now running around
asking "what's your email address"
or "who's your access provider."
What do you think the chat rooms
are about?

Come to think of it, "who's your
access provider" might work with
this generation of chicks like the
old "what's your sign" pickup line
used to in the '60s !!

 

Uh, yeah. Maybe that will "work"
with this generation of "chicks."
Or maybe they'll just sigh deeply,
and then calmly peruse their
shelves for a fresh can of whoop
ass with your name on it.

[Note to self: Stop drinking triple
lattes... Vacuum beginning to look
more and more like "Ask Allison."]

 

Of Ann O'Tate's "Waterworld," Cliff
Figallo <cfigallo@gnn.com>
writes:

 

Well, yes. Of course it's dry. But
drying up fast, too. I'm sure that
even the writers of Suck must have
noticed a droning sameness about
your string o' metaphors format. I
mean, the cadence of the thing is
getting to be as irritating as the
disco beat. "Nothing and nobody is
good enough, everything is stupid
except our viewpoint and here's
forty clever turns of phrase for
you, you lamers." I'm yawning
folks. I bet I'm not the only one.

 

Oh, we yawn a lot, too, Cliff.
Nothing and nobody has ever been
good enough for us, and never will
be, including ourselves. It's a
fact of life, one we've learned to
accept like bellybutton lint,
muddy puddles, and weak coffee.
But we'll stand behind our string
o' metaphors format, an old yet
frisky dog that still needs chow
and a warm, dry place to sleep.

Without our metaphors and our
clever turns of phrase, without
our bitchy views on everyone and
everything, we'd be reduced to
watery, wishy-washy,
blander-than-bland ramblings that
you could find almost anywhere
else, countless wheat crackers
with not a slice of havarti in
sight. You want to talk about
droning sameness? Get lost on the
web for a few hours, an unbroken
landscape of product endorsements,
bad jokes, and thoughtless
"thought" pieces. We're beginning
to annoy you? We've always annoyed
ourselves. Other people annoy us
even more. We're pretty sure it's
all your fault, though.

 

Of Ersatz's "Eye Sore," Nancy
Schmeltzer <nancy@verso.com>
writes:

 

Hi! I was wondering where you got
the reference to cat-eye glasses
being known as "Marge" -- We are a
group of dykes that call ourselves
and each other various hyphenated
versions of Marge (i.e.
"Marge-Mellow" or "Mallow" I
suppose, I never wrote it before,
"Margarita" -- for a friend that
likes hers salted, "Mighty-Marge"
for a remarkably "super" friend,
etc.) So you see why I was so
surprised to read about cat-eye
glasses associated with our
respective nicknames. Can you
explain? Thanks!

Marge in Charge aka Mary Tyler
Marge

 
[]

Ersatz responds:

 

Thanks for your message. I don't
remember where I first heard them
called "Marge" glasses, but the
derivation seems to be in diner
culture - the retro chic for
malteds, Friendly's uniforms,
waitresses who chew gum and sit
down at your booth to take your
order... On sitcoms, these women
are invariably busty, bossy, and
named "Marge" or "Madge" or
"Sadie." Sort of goes with guys
wearing bowling shirts or gas
station uniforms that have "Pete"
or "Leroy" name tags stitched on
them. (I don't approve of these
sterotypes, I'm just noticing
'em.)

 

Simon <103127.2352@compuserve.com>
writes:

 

I and tohalla rest are sid you
babe,\\ bak slazh zooroah, the
swing hiel kids,

The secret code of the thief of the
Tutankhamen rarely thought just to
be a bum hoping to find the rolex
of all time in his dreams cybill
deluxe.

I luvs your site, can only
hasslehoffer play?

 

Me and Mohalla rusty rumble Yum!
Oooweee! Snork.

The secret code of our dog, Sponge,
unkindly labeled as a smack dealer
hoping to find the pastrami sub of
his dreams. Cybill Shepherd sucks!

We loathe "luvs." Cite Kentuck-O,
the rallying cry! Laettner can
also play.

 

words
Polly Esther

pictures
Terry Colon