VACUUM

for 9 December 1996. Updated every MONDAY.

 

 

Whether it was crappy weather or
post-turkey indigestion that
troubled our readers, we can't be
sure, but suffice it to say that
the average piece of reader mail
reached new heights of flaccidity.
If you got mail like this, would
you print their names?

"You really DO suck!" (4 of these)

"Hey, sucksters. Why do you suck?"

"Pamela Anderson is hella
fine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Does your long distance carrier
give you a flat 9.9 cents per
minute on your interstate long
distance 24-hours-per-day 365-days
per year?"

 

No wonder we edit for length,
clarity and laffs. Still, after
doubling our caffeine intake and
our efforts and slogging through a
few moderately interesting
letters, we dug up some old
classics we've neglected to print
in the past, and then called it a
column.

 

Of Dr. Robert's "Bad Sports,"
Cormac Foster <moogy@cormac.com>
writes:

"For every pipeline pumped up with
trivia, another public access
channel shuts down, another local
station goes up for sale."

Hmm... Doubtful, at best.

Stations go up for sale and shows
go off the air because no one
chooses to watch them. Shows get
dumped off of cable menus for the
same reason. Money is the driving
force behind programming, and
whether you've got five channels
or 500, it always will be.

If the public wants and can sustain
50 versions of ESPN, so be it.

 
[]
Dr. Robert responds:

Actually, TV stations are sold for
a variety of reasons. WNYC-TV in
New York, for example, was sold to
pay off Mayor Giuliani's crack
habit. And while thousands of
non-English speaking residents of
the city enjoyed and employed its
multiple language broadcasts of
educational, topical, and
historical programming, their
failure to buy pretentious cars and
pisswater American beer (not to
mention vote for mayor) makes them
demographically as close to "no
one" as a marketing plan gets.

You'll be happy to know that,
reinvented as a Dow
Jones/Bloomberg news service, the
former WNYC has, if anything, a
much smaller viewing audience.
Stock brokers do, however, have a
much stronger tendency to buy
expensive cars and crappy beer.

Oh, and by the way, when the
markets are closed, they show
"Classic Sports."

 

Of last week's Hit and Run, Rob K
<deadrob@hotmail.com> writes:

I just got done reading today's
column (which, I should add, I've
made quite a habit of) and am
amazed at the timidity of your
commentary on the MTV extortionist
maneuver. I mean you guys have
been more critical of poor HTML
formats and celebrity ego
fulfillment, which are certainly
worthy of bashing, than you were
of this insidious flow of big
business stupidity threatening to
suck the web into the undertow of
the corporate cesspool.

At the very least, I thought you
guys would take this opportunity
to point out that the silliest
part of all this is that MTV, of
all sites, had the balls to kick
this off considering how much
their site sucks. Beavis and
Butt-Head JPEGs aside, there site
offers very little that I can't
get more and better of at dozens
of other sites like Sonicnet, or a
band's own homepage. Gutsy or just
outright moronic, you be the
judge. (How much money did they
lose last year, maybe I should add
outright desperate to the list of
possibilities as well?) I do hope
you will take the time to revisit
this topic in more detail; if any
issue deserves your humbling
prose, it's this one.

 

Hmmm... maybe we can fit that in
next week. "Why MTV's Site Sucks."
That should go nicely right after
our big pieces on Microsoft,
political lobbyists, and the hot
new band Oasis, and before our
groundbreaking expose: "Christmas:
A Corporate Scam To Trick
Consumers Into Blowing Their
Money."

 

Of What'll You Have?, Scott Dvorin
<sdvorin@wesleyan.edu> writes:

I'm incredibly distraught by the
disappearance of Pabst, a beer
many call "awful," "tasteless,"
"flavorless," and simply bad. Sure
the stuff don't taste so hot, but
let's keep in mind what made Pabst
so great in the first place. First
of all, it's dirt-cheap (maybe
cheaper than dirt, I'll have to
check that one out). Here in
Middletown, Ct. you can purchase a
case of Pabst Blue Ribbon in
glass bottles for a mere $9.00.
This is ten dollars cheaper than
Rolling Rock, a beer which
resembles Pabst in every tangible
way (i.e. both are watered-down
and therefore "easy drinking").

This brings me to the second
quality Pabst has in spades: It
leaves none of the harsh, stick
residue that other, inferior beers
create when spilled on furniture,
clothing, rugs, pets, or any other
surface one might spill beer on.
It cleans up easily and quickly,
and at these prices most can
afford to spill a little bit.

[]

Pabst has been an integral part of
my experience in college and
contributed time and time again to
the intellectual atmosphere of
campus. For years students here at
Wesleyan have essentially been
saying "Rolling Rock? Fuck that
Shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!" It's a
shame future generations won't be
able to make that same statement
when they become old enough to
drink. Here's to mediocre
alcoholic beverages consumed
simply to get drunk! Here's to
Pabst!

 

Thank you for that heartwarming
screed in support of PBR. Back
during our college days, we were
heavy drinkers of crappy beer,
too, but we never knew of this
cleansing quality you mentioned!
Had we known bathing in Pabst were
possible, we might never have
troubled ourselves (between dummy
pipe sessions, The Simpsons,
massive meals, and excessive
drinking) with the repeated
inconvenience of showering.

Anyway, we're glad to hear that the
college kids today haven't lost
sight of the main goal of those
formative years: mastering the
arts of small talk,
procrastination, and heavy
drinking, all of which will get
you much farther (in the business
world, anyway) than a liberal arts
degree alone possibly could (if
you don't lose your mind or become
an alcoholic, that is). The dream
lives on!

 

Here are some kind words from Scott
B. Mager <scott@inner.cortx.com>,
who writes:

Even though you thrive upon me
saying so:

You really live up to your
namesake. I used to read you every
day for about a month but the
garbage you publish now is hardly
worth wasting bandwidth over. At
least garbage men get paid to
clean shit up. You guys get paid
to shit onto the web. I'd love to
see that downward bend on your
site traffic graph. I bet it could
accurately follow Flight 800's
rapid descent. Better invest that
money soon so you have something
to live off of when the party's
over.

 

Thanks for such a thoughtful,
constructive analysis. Whether it
means that our readers are
gluttons for punishment, or that
we've won a growing audience of
crack users, our hits have made a
steady rise since the site began
last year. But then, didn't Flight
800 just blow up out of nowhere?
That's one possibility we
certainly haven't factored in yet.
Until then, the shit'll keep
flowing and the paychecks'll keep
coming. We can't complain - but
you sure can! There's just no
telling what kind of miserable
things you're paid to do...

 
[]

More love and support came from The
Pope <tim@serv.net>, who writes:

I was going to write you about
Microsoft, but then I noticed
today's ad is paid for by them!
You guys suck, but I didn't know
you could go so low. You have been
assimilated.

What I want to suggest is that you
write more articles about
Microsoft's embrace-and-destroy
strategy, and how they are
planning to cash in on the net.
The popular press is either owned
by Microsoft, gets free software
bribes from them, or just sucks up
to them for fun. I was hoping
you'd be different, but from your
lack of coverage, and blatant
Microsoft ad, I guess it's
hopeless...

 

Well, yes, that provocative and
thoroughly original Microsoft
expose we mentioned just now did
get killed at the last second.
But, Your Holiness, while we can
understand why you're above taking
money from old Bill, as long as
the bills roll in, we'll be
sinning with the best of them.
Besides, didn't you know that
Dunderhead sold his soul, quite
literally, to Microsoft ages ago?
And surely you're aware of the
fact that the Duke is Bill Gates's
personal piss boy and has been for
some time? We're weeping guilty
tears as we endorse each fat
check, we assure you.

But then, all we have to do is
confess all this stuff and we're
forgiven, correct? Forgive us,
father, for we have sinned.

"Now, Bill, did you say 'double
latte, skinny' or 'publish glowing
piece on MSNBC'?"

 

Here's a classic from E.J. Barnes
<barbix@tiac.net>, who writes:

I have been reading Suck
religiously (well, about five
times a week, if not always with
faith and reverence) since about
June. I've enjoyed it from the
beginning, and the columns have
been especially bitchin' of late.
One of the greatest services you
provide is links to really absurd
stuff I would never think to seek
out on my own, but love to gawk at
when serendipity strikes. Biblical
guidance for how to celebrate
Halloween, indeed! And Terry
Colon's cartoons are priceless.

[]

There are, however, a few phrases
which this old hippie can't pin
down the meaning of from context.
I suspect a dummy pipe is either a
bong or a crack pipe, but what is
a "piss boy," and what is "whoop
ass?" Is a "piss boy" a scapegoat,
and is there such a thing as a
piss girl (or grrrl)? Is "whoop
ass" what we used to call hoopla?

Sucking on my toothless gums until
I get a reply.

 

We apologize for leaving you
sucking your toothless gums for so
long now. Naturally, we're more
than delighted to clear up these
mysteries for a friendly old
geezer like yourself. The dummy
pipe is actually a bowl or pipe
filled with marijuana and smoked
for its qualities of making one
dumber and, thus, much, much
happier. Ah, but you wizened
hippies laid the groundwork for
such practices, and for that, we
salute you!

A piss boy is a fetching young man
who fetches stuff for his
higher-ups, mainly coffeestuffs.
The common piss boy is not to be
confused with the house boy, who
is at the top of the piss boy
hierarchy and generally has more,
um, intimate duties. Piss boys are
paid very, very little, but their
easy-going nature, looks, and
willingness to serve make them
well-suited for success in a wide
variety of fields.

Whoop ass is a tasty treat packaged
in cans and served up for only
those who truly deserve it, like
lecherous husbands, dog-abusers,
and those people on Yack Live.

 

When misdirected mail is the best
mail we get, we have to wonder
what we're doing wrong.
Senator Hatch
<senator_hatch@hatch.senate.gov>
writes to you@suck.com:

Dear Friend:

Thank you for your recent Internet
e-mail message to my office.
Please accept this response as an
indication that I have received
your message and will note your
comments.

Unfortunately, due to time and
resource limitations, I am unable
to reply to your message by
e-mail. Those seeking information
or asking questions who are Utah
constituents and who have included
a complete postal address in their
message will receive a reply via
U.S. Mail as soon as possible.

If you did not include a postal
address in your initial email and
you would like a response from me,
please resend your complete,
original message along with your
Utah address.

Again, I appreciate hearing from
you. Please continue to keep me
informed on issues of importance
to you.

Sincerely,

Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator

 

Maybe we live in a postpolitical
society, after all.

 

words
Polly Esther

pictures
Terry Colon