VACUUM

for 4 November 1996. Updated every MONDAY.

 

 

Authentic Reader Mail! Send us a
screed and we'll be thrilled
indeed. All rants shortened and
squeezed to fit our needs.
Requests to remain anonymous we
shall heed.

 

Of James URL Jones's "Robust
Aroma
," Steve Crawford
<Steve_Crawford@msn.com > writes:

Nice "Suck" piece today. I always
enjoy it when people take a closer
look at corporatespeak.

May I offer two other words making
the rounds?

1) "Absolutely" - the adverb of
choice among multitudes of talking
heads. Bill Gates uses it a lot
(and has apparently seeded it in
his minions). At the "World Wide
Live" conference, the use of it
became something of a joke - the
audience, in a quasi-"Rocky
Horror" mode, would mumble - later
shout - the word at the end of
every sentence, often with an echo
from the person on screen. It's
become more of an interjection
than an adverb. Also, Peter
Gammons of ESPN uses it in every
sentence he says on air.

2) "Compelling" - the adjective of
choice with anything
design-oriented, but especially
with web page design. EVERYTHING
is geared toward making your web
site "more compelling." It's
everywhere. It ... won't ... go
... away.

I imagine that the ultimate goal,
then, is to have an Absolutely
Compelling life, right?

 

Our lives are far from being
absolutely anything, but that was
an absolutely compelling letter.
If only we had a robust response.

 

Of Bartleby's "Selfish Gini,"
Nathan J. Mehl"
<nmehl@leftbank.com> writes:

Wow. And to think I thought y'all
were kidding about smoking crack.
I do humbly apologize for
underestimating your street creds.
If, in the future, anybody else
dares to dispute that what you've
really been sucking is the ol'
base, just show them this column
and all doubts will be removed.

 

Bartleby responds:

Apology accepted, Nathan, and
thanks for straightening out the
skeptics who think there's only
smoke and mirrors behind our
campaign. The rift between those
of us who prefer a pinch of powder
to the pipe is a well-documented
matter of public record; you may
be called upon sooner than you
think to put your money where your
mouth is.

[We asked Bartleby to tell us which
he prefers, the rock, or the phat
line, and he responded (in his
typically unfathomable manner), "I
would prefer not to."]

 

"The Pitch" took some serious hits
this week. William M. Wilson
<wwilson@wydo125.wustl.edu>
writes:

Okay... Let me see if I get this
straight... You like it when
people send you positive mail. You
also like it when people send you
negative mail. Both serve only to
perpetuate the Suck status quo and
boost your collective twisted
egos. It would seem that the only
way to discourage you from doing
anything would be via apathy.

[]

With that being said, I must say
that "The Pitch" means nothing to
me. It could stay right where it
is or fall of the face off the
planet for all I care. It has no
impact on my life whatsoever. The
bowel movements of flies in
Kazakhstan are more important to
me. I feel such an absolute lack
of feeling for it that I can't
even understand why I'm writing
this. So I'll stop.

 

Ooo, we like it when people have
been reading Vacuum, which clearly
you have! We like it when people
recognize that we live to boost
our collective twisted egos -
hell, we like the fact that you
recognize that our egos are
twisted and easily boosted!

But we're pissed that you're
indifferent about "The Pitch."
You've really bent us out of shape
with your expressions of apathy!
You've made us angry! "The Pitch"
is our darling dear baby, the
section teeters the most
precipitously and precariously (if
not profitably) on the line
between brilliance and bathos; it
is the sum of our desires, mixed
ever-so-poignantly with the ochre
of our bitter experience.

And as for your devotion to insect
scat, well, we know what that's
like.

 

Morgan <dmcopy@earthlink.net>
writes:

Anyway guy, I'm sure you deem
yourself a real savvy thinker.
Hopefully, you're a reader too....
[Try reading] Scientific
Advertising/My Life in
Advertising
, by Claude C. Hopkins.

If you're afraid of books, let me
clue you in.... His main point
was, you shouldn't even discount
prices, you should give a sample
away FREE, always give it away
free - straight to the customer -
directly paying the store for the
sample.

I'm sorry to burst your
preconceived notions, but winners
in marketing soon learn a tried
and true philosophy:

Your opinion has the statistical
significance of 1.

Sorry, hope this clears things up
for you.

Maybe your next PITCH could be
about a poorly written hipster web
site that offers smug feelings and
glad tidings to the masses along
with substance found masturbating
in the mirror.

 

Well, we can see your blood
pressure has been raised
substantially by mistakenly taking
"The Pitch" a wee bit too
seriously, cowboy. Have you
consulted anyone about this
curious literalism and this
inflamed temper? Better get those
taken care of before they send
you to an early grave.

Anyway, Suck is a daily free
sample. We didn't do so well in
statistics, so we'll just assume
you mean our opinions are the only
1s that matter. Thanks, guy!

 

Of An Entirely Other Greg's Zero
Baud
, Douglas Denny
<denny@rns.net> writes:

After reading An Entirely Other
Greg's article about the
gastronomical habits of Joe
Americano's eating habits, I was
hungry. Hungry to slam Suck for
feeding us another trashy piece
about white trash America. Greg,
come down off your high horse and
have a bologna sandwich, or better
yet, rush your butt down to the
7/11(tm) and get some frozen
burritos. I know you want to.

I feel like I am reading some
geek's high school journal about
how he hates the jocks for their
tribe mentality, and how the
cheerleaders won't sleep with him
because he doesn't play football.
Sigh. Didn't Dad buy you a car so
you COULD pick up chicks?

[]

This shluck about suburban America
is old Suck, tried, tested and
BORING. Next time, give me
something I can stick my teeth
into, how about writing about
something urban and cool, like
Crack!

 

Um, Greg's piece had nothing to do
with the much-maligned white
trash. And, for the record, things
"urban" and "cool" make our
stomachs turn.

But, more importantly - to everyone
who's criticizing us for
overplaying ye olde crack jokes:
Now do you understand? We give the
people what they want - uh, some
of the time, anyway - and the
people want crack!

Suck. Catering to the lowest common
denominator like never before. Or,
rather, "Catering to the bologna
eater like never before"...

 

And in the Old News department,
here's an interesting letter from
Chris Tacy <chris@factory.net> on
Beau Nose's piece, "Screaming in a
Vacuum
."

You missed one thing...

All these folks ARE basing their
hopes on chat because of the "AOL
rules." Everyone knows that
"community" accounts for something
like 50% of AOL's revenues, and
that AOL equates chat with
community.

Problem: That makes sense in an
environment where you get paid for
every second that you can sucker
some loser to hang in your chat
room - and chat attracts losers
like cannolis attract Italians.
But on the web, you're not getting
a cut of the connect time. All of
a sudden chat goes from being
almost all revenue with little
expense to almost all expense with
little associated revenue. In
addition - the expenses of running
full-on chat on a web site (in a
true, scalable fashion) are
intense (I ought to know, check
out www.arcadium.com).

Chat on the web is a big problem
for any site that wants to
actually make money.

Time to redefine community I'd say.

 

Before community redefines you!
Thanks for writing.

 

jeep <sysop@j-dom.demon.co.uk>
writes:

[]

Guys, Suck has gone DOWNHILL it is
now a site spewing crap on a daily
basis.

Tomorrow I'll be running my second
piece on your site - read it and
weep.

 

We're shaking in our boots. Who the
hell are you?

 

Valerie McCain
<valeries@frontiernet.net>
writes:

I was wondering if you could like
try to watch the swear words that
you use on your articles. My
Mother will kill me if she saw the
kind of language that you use. You
can choose to ignore this if you
wish. THANX!!!

 

Oh fuck! Another shitty excuse to
make a cheap-ass joke in response
to an earnest request. Why do we
have to be such glib assholes?

 

Wash <atipson@wesleyan.edu>
writes:

this message is an impossible
puzzle

quex ends seven faces port nine
kill lost pencil cracks sixteen
character length is crucial now

 

this response is an immovable
muzzle

tex/mex sends Heather places worst
crime still costs hence smacks
fist mean fair sector strength is
brutal now

 

Craig Dore <dorea@sfu.ca> writes:

Not a criticism of your wonderful
daily rant, but a question :

[]

What DOESN'T Suck?

I'd really like to know...

 

Good coffee. Quality sex. Quality
pizza. 10 hours of sleep. Mike
Leigh. Nice dogs. Fall sunshine.
Mommy. Hot baths. Good chocolate.
Cynthia Heimel.

That's it.

 

words
Polly Esther

pictures
Terry Colon