VACUUM

for 14 October 1996. Updated every MONDAY.

 

 

It's Real Reader Mail! Queue, send,
and be our friend. Names will
remain the same unless we change
them; letters will be changed if
we think they're lame.

[]

It's National Crack Month, and
we're happy to be alive. Let's
start with some kind
words from Sabin Streeter
<sstreeter@mail.iconnet.com>, who
had the joy of indulging in the
Suck experience at IndieNet:

Hey. I'm an editor at Word and I
went to that ridiculous expo
yesterday morning and I was very
impressed by your set-up. I liked
the fridge and the coke, but most
of all, I liked the fact that you
did not have a computer terminal
at your booth. It was the only
amusing thing I saw at the entire
show and I wanted to praise you in
person, but your booth was
unstaffed (which I admired and
thought might have been part of
the package, although I've since
been informed that some of you
made the mistake of showing up
later in the day).

Anyway, so now I'm emailing you to
say "nice booth." I should also
say that I read Suck often and
enjoy it.

 

Thanks! We kept asking ourselves,
over and over, what is the most
overplayed novelty item around,
and how can we exploit it?
Magnetic poetry - or magnetic
Suck, in our case. A fridge, a
bunch of magnets with pretentious
and/or Buttheadian terms, and
something to put in the fridge...
unfortunately, it sounds like the
champagne ran out by the time you
got there.

The whole thing was cheap and -
best of all - low-maintenance, so
the Sucksters could devote the
better half of their time to
smoking the quality rock that put
New York City on the map. Just
another good example of the wise
investment strategy of Suck.com.

 

We received unprecedented (web word
du jour) amounts of praise and
support for our foray into
publishing our personal email.
Chris Peikert
<cpeikert@newton.kamsc.k12.mi.us>
writes:

After realizing that you were
forced to publish your personal
mail as a result of limited reader
feekback, I came to the conclusion
that I'd sure as hell better start
mailing you guys. Please, never
again subject us to the torture of
viewing your pitifully
uninteresting personal messages.
Not that this is any better, but
maybe enough others will jump on
the bandwagon and fill the Vacuum,
so to speak.

 

Jason Kottke <jason@imaginet.com>
writes:

good lord!

i just read this week's vacuum and
it really sucked. i mean worse
than usual...

 

Thanks for sharing the love. Let's
just put things in perspective:
we're talking about the letters
column of a self-indulgent
cyberrag. Please lower your
expectations accordingly.

At any rate, we were so encouraged
by your replies that we decided to
smoke some of that fine rock we
got in NYC in honor of your love
and devotion. How else will we get
our hands on one of those trendy
"crack babies" Dole was talking
about?

 

Of Ersatz's "Dog Spelled Backwards,"
Carl Maniscalco
<caman@earthlink.net> writes:

I object to your inference that
agnostics are just too wimpy to
cut the theological cord to a
possible afterlife. I'm an
agnostic who used to consider
myself an atheist - until one day
it dawned on me that in the
absence of proof either way,
claiming postitively that there is
no god is as much a belief system
as claiming that there is one.

 

Wimp.

 

Of James URL Jones's "You Won't,"
Someone (with a "cheap ass boss")
writes:

Cute pitch isn't it??

Pac Bell runs ads out here in lotus
land telling anyone who will
listen how much better their life
will be when "you work at home."
Reality is that the typical
insecure micro-manager boss would
never allow anyone to work at home
- his job depends on bodies being
there so he can show his boss what
a great job he is doing.

Thus, as you correctly point out,
all this mobile computing bullshit
is just to entice us net heads to
work 16 hours a day, rather than
the currently expected 12 to 14
hours that we stupidly put in in
our work cubes. Hell, what a
return on investment - 2 free
hours of work!! To put the icing
on the cake, my cheap ass boss
refused to pay for the connect
time or the lap top computer!!

 

Indeed, if they don't see you at
least 10 hours a day, they think
you're smoking crack. If they do
see you and you have a laptop, you
have no excuse but to be available
around the clock. Which begs the
question: When you're living your
life attached to a beeper (see
also: leash) are you really alive?
I guess it depends on what you use
the beeper for.

 
[]

Boreas <boreas@sirius.com> writes:

I am writing to express my
appreciation for your
thought-provoking essay in today's
"Suck". You nailed down exactly
why the myth of technology as an
example of improvement of life is
simply a myth: because the issue
and problem is with people who
become inextricably wound up with
the seduction of technology's
lures and the rat race of greed
and competition in contemporary
capitalism - which best exploits
new technologies (or is indeed the
reason they exist).

I wonder if you have ever read the
work of thinkers as varied but
potent and relevant as Jean
Baudrillard and Martin Heidegger?

 

Thanks for writing. We don't read.

 

Of Heavy Meta's "Ugly Sticks,"
Nathan Sacco <nathan@kodak.com>
writes:

So just how much did Calvin Klein
pay the suck. piece?

 

That's for us to know and you to
find out. How much is Kodak
willing to pay for a
"controversial" piece about any
number of its marketing
strategies, policies, or brand-new
products?

Speaking of Kodak moments, you
should see Terry lighting up that
old crack pipe. What a profoundly
tantalizing vision!

 

Daniel Radosh
<radosh@interport.net> writes:

I, for one, see the subtext of this
anti- anti-beauty rant: whoever
wrote it must be butt-ugly.

Love,

Kate Moss

 

Kate, you vain alien child. Stop
shooting up and eat some doughnuts
already, biatch.

 

Rodney.Peck@home.net (Rodney Peck)
writes:

"Consider the old insult - or was
it a bumper sticker? Or a Winston
Churchill put-down? No matter -
'stupid and ugly is no way to go
through life.'"

Consider that it was a line from
Animal House from the dean to one
of the frat boys being expelled.
"Fat, Drunk, and Stupid is no way
to go through life."

Oh well.

 
[]

Thanks for the correction. Of
course,that begs the question, is
it better to go through life ugly
or fat and drunk (with stupidity
as the control variable)? Ugly is
just a genetic thing, fat and
drunk, also somewhat genetic, but
implying a certain amount of
choices made, choices to snarf and
swill, choices we admire. It's
pretty clear where we stand on
this one.

 

Plenty good mail arrived in reponse
to St. Huck's dis of The Site,
"Must-c|net TV?" In response to
this lovely passage:

"The Site's Denise Caruso often
comes across as a bit brusque, but
at least her interest in her
subject is apparent. Watching her
interview William Gibson about his
new novel Idoru, for example, you
get the feeling she's actually
read the thing - and probably some
other books too."

 

Denise Caruso <dcaruso@aol.com>
writes:

thanks (i think) for the comment in
your commentary on 'the site.'
indeed i do read, in my abundance
of spare time. <g> and thanks in
general for the piece. i'll
refrain from commenting in email
about how i felt about it overall,
but the fact that we got sucked is
notable in its own right.

 

Denise, we admire your ability to
read, and we're honored that
someone who reads would actually
bother to visit our site (which
is, after all, not The Site, but a
site, nonetheless). We were also
in awe of your grasp of the hip <g>
tag, which we guess ain't nothing
but a G-thing, but we can't be
sure. No wonder you
work for The Site, G!

 

Lots o' nice folks wanted to
join in the beatdown of
pseudoneo-Luddite
Clifford Stoll. Eric Pobirs
<nbrazil@ix.netcom.com> writes:

I've tried to be tolerant, really I
have. But once again I encountered
a person today who believes that
Clifford Stoll is revered among
the cybernetically inclined.
Surely, along with Dev, his
presence on The Site is intended
to create an adverse reaction to
anyone considering getting online.

It horrifies me that someone who
iconifies geekiness has the nerve
to try saving us from the
antisocial lure of the net.
Someone who only makes sense one
sentence out of ten should
probably not be allowed to wander
about unchaperoned. Does Cliff
tell us to take walks in the woods
out of jealousy for what he cannot
have? Of course, he doesn't seem
much better for having supervision
or else the crew from ZD are
deriving a cruel laugh by not
intervening as he attempts yet
another untested demonstration of
a concept he isn't all that clear
on.

Someday, perhaps, they'll let us in
on the joke by setting up a
telethon with an 800 number to
make contributions. It worked for
Chartered Accountancy.

 
[]

Jim Hofmann <jhofmann@erols.com>
writes:

Stoll is an astronomer. The reason
he was so paranoid and he obsessed
over a 17 cent discrepency was
because he was afraid someone was
looking at his precious data sets.
Astronmers guard their data with
jealous zeal (makes you wonder
what he was thinking when he put
his data on an Internet - actually
Arpanet - connected computer).

His hippy act is creepy, yes...
Astronomers in general are
creepy... they still program on
Vax machines, god help them. God
help us.

 

St. Huck responds:

Thanks for your note. I am now
eagerly anticipating the segment
where they show Cliff at his Vax.
To my knowledge, they've yet to
videotape him near a computer.

 

In response to smatterings of
non-web-related topics, Matthew
Doull <mdoull@suntimes.com>
writes:

Is the Web so far past its sell-by
date that Suck no longer practices
its original, putative, vocation?
Would you even go as far as to say
that you have "accomplished" your
implicit (and again, putative)
mission and so comprehensively
deconstructed the entire
phenomenon of the Web site that
you are reduced to turning your
smoking gun on the mainstream
media, making you
indistinguishable from a thousand
other bricoleurs? Or do you simply
feel you have graduated from
crticism of the small fry of the
web to the big barrel of real
media (like, heaven forfend, ads
in the NY Times and glossy
magazines) and can now try to eat
Feed's lunch? What gives?

 

We wouldn't necessarily say that
the expiration date on the web is
long past, but rest assured that,
if all we wrote about was the web,
they'd have to install suicide
nets and alarms around the windows
in the Suck office. After
sluggishly wandering through the
hundredth web magazine, after
digesting the zillionth Glenn
Davis or Dave Barry book or
article on the web, and after
publishing our 15th web-metaphor
piece ("The Web is a Giant Squid,"
"The Web is a Giant Piece of
Spongecake"), dare we go further?
Isn't almost anything more
interesting and less reported than
browser wars and domain name
conflicts?

Then again, Glenn Davis might come
pretty cheap at this point. Hell,
he could probably write the front
page every day...

 

Dan Nordquist
<dnordquist@macalester.edu>
writes:

After the amusing little cartoon
with the gun and the barrel, I
decided that I was going to
purchase loads of fine Suck
merchandise. Alas, there was a
little Suck Product picture
(complete with t-shirt) but no
link. The only Suck Product
available is... a sticker? That
you get when you mail away a SASE?
What about a dynamic online
catalog, complete with secure
transactions and cgi order forms?

 

And Tom Sparks
<tsparks@halcyon.com> writes:

Thil is a letter of
congratulations, and a letter of
request.

[]

Thanks for giving me ( and everyone
else ) a web rag that doesn't wear
thin with time. You all have kept
my interest now for a longest
period of time of any web site. I
enjoy the wry humor, dark paranoid
anti-establishment flavor and
serendipitous links of your sucky
journal.

Now for my request... In the spirit
of the times and to further the
point of today's Hit & Run, I
would like to purchase a SUCK Tee
Shirt or baseball cap. I know you
have them I have seen the Tee
Shirt! If you don't have ball
caps, so get hopping and produce
some.

 

Okay. People are asking, nay, even
begging us to sell them stuff, and
we're not gonna do it? Isn't
selling stuff what we're all
about? Lordy, something is
amiss... Tell us what you think of
the prospect of Suck product, and
we'll think this one over.

 

And in other news, yet another
honest employee teeters close to
the brink of destruction and
unemployment thanks to Suck.
Someone writes:

I work in the compliance department
at a large brokerage firm whose
headquarters are located in
downtown San Francisco. Several
months ago, I took it upon myself
to learn html and I volunteered to
put up a web site for our
department.... Last week, I was
making some routine updates and I
added a link to suck.com. I
thought nothing of it. I assumed
(never assume) that most of the
people going to our site for info
were pretty internet-smart and
have at LEAST heard of suck....

[]

As I returned from a break today,
my boss was all in an uproar about
the link on our site. "Have you
seen this? Security is
investigating this link on our
page"... I was stunned! I quickly
admitted to putting the link there
and removed it right away.... I
even wrote a memo stating the fact
that I never meant the link to be
of any harm and had to explain
what suck.com WAS...

The main network people had
discovered the link and couldn't
figure how it got there (this
should give an idea how clue-less
the people who run things are
here...) and the only reason they
could come up with is that an
intruder broke into our network
and had put it there (duh, like at
a HUGE brokerage firm, the only
thing they would do is plant a
link to their own site).

Did they ever consider calling me
to find out how it got there? No.
Security opened a full blown
investigation and notified the
Executive Vice President about the
"problem" (the EVP is one of the
biggest "big wigs" there is in our
company of 9,000+ employees
worldwide). Well, the EVP
contacted the SVP who contacted
the VP and basically after all the
uproar, they wanted my head....

It wasn't so much the link to an
outside site as it was the NAME of
the site. They assumed, before
LOOKING at the site, that is was a
porno site, nudie pictures,
obscene... Luckily, the VP (my
boss) went to bat for me, and he
pretty much saved my ass. He had
to give some BIG explanation about
how I was the "artsy-fartsy" type,
had a "liberal arts" background,
played in a punk rock band.... I
don't know what more I can say
about this... I need to go to the
store to get another six-pack, its
been a rough day...

 

Is the whole organization smoking
the rock? Well, it is National
Crack Month, after all. But it
sounds like a lame job. You should
quit.

 

Once again, ye olde "you@suck.com"
address comes into play, and we
get threats never sent. El
Mariachi <rlozanoo@acs.ryerson.ca>
writes:

On Tue, 8 Oct 1996 you@suck.com
wrote:

Hey fuckin fool. You are a foolish
idiot. If you don't stop talking
to Christine I'm going to kick
your ass. I'm serious don't mess
around with her.

Hey buddy ... you got the wrong
guy!!!!

 

El Mariachi
<rlozanoo@acs.ryerson.ca> writes:

On Wed, 9 Oct 1996 you@suck.com
wrote:

Hey you fucker I told you stop
messing with Christine. Now you
are a dead fucker.

Hey buddy ... as i told you before
you got the wrong guy but if you
wanna fuck with me i will give you
something to worry about.. beware
of "El cartel de Tocache".... me
and my boyz will fuck you up good
so stop fucking around with me it
is the last time i am gona tell
you. And who the fuck is Christine
anywayz... SUCK MY [appendage
omitted]

 

Richard Shewmaker <rshew@best.com>
writes:

Hi. Hoping you can help me. I'm in
contact with someone in France who
wants to put together a web
journal (in French). He's
currently got four people
interested in France, one in
Geneva and me (I'd be writing in
French).

Evidently French law requires that
he copyright the name of the
journal (I don't know what the
cost is but apparently it's enough
that he's not happy about this);
there may also be an issue
regarding where the web pages are
located (he's got 5MB w/his
current ISP but seems to think
that this location may not work
out with the ISP if the
publication is registered and thus
commercial)....

My questions:

1) Does US law require the
copyright of a journal's name (web
or otherwise)?

2) If not, would you recommend
getting a copyright for the name
anyway?

3) Do you know of any laws
regulating the publication of
articles by foreigners in the
United States?

 

It seems you've confused us with a
copyright lawyer. Not only are we
not familiar with the basics of
copyright law, we're not familiar
with much of anything, since we
don't read. This isn't National
Book Month, folks, it's National
Crack Month. We suggest you forget
this pesky little project and
smoke some rock, pronto.

 

words
Polly Esther

pictures
Terry Colon