i'd rather be in haena   

or anyplace with more trees and less concrete

Suck.com Archive Downloadable As .Torrent

by admin - December 31st, 2005.
Filed under: ana marie cox, san francisco, small talk, web.

suck 404Living In the Past: Back when dinosaurs roamed San Francisco, I was asked to write a piece for suck.com by some chick named Ana Marie Cox. The domain has since been sold to a xxx-squatting company, and now all Suck’s URLs bring up the same sad page, but injoke.org has archived Suck (thanks to Dave Winer for the link)– yes, every daily post and all other related content– as a Bittorrent file.
For those of you keeping score at home, the piece in question is dated 6/25/96 and is entitled Come On Down. Last time I checked it was still cached on Google’s servers in all its broken-image-link glory.
The full text follows after the jump; I insist on retaining its annoying Suck-centric, white– or, in this case, green– space-loving layout. That, and I’m lazy when it comes to reformatting linebreaks (and, apparently, editing out myriad mixed metaphors, knowing the difference between exorable and excreable, etc.). Gameshow trainspotters– let’s see those hands!– will also be quick to correct me for the “Dick Cullen” comment; the Password host was Bill Cullen, of course. You can kill me now.

Come On Down
There’s a new twist to the stale
TV game show formula: the
contestants’ pasts. Oh, sure,
there’s always been that timeout
after the first commercial
break, when we learn about their
jobs, their kids’ names, and an
“unusual fact” a la “I collect
Paul Revere and the Raiders
memorabilia,” but the sordid
details of their lives have
always remained off limits (at
least since Queen For A Day went
off the air). But then came
Debt. A bold rip-off of
Jeopardy!, this gloriously
contemptible Buena Vista/Disney
venture on the Lifetime channel
dredges up three hapless
contestants and their real-life
debts. The monetary amount of
red ink is totaled and averaged,
and each contestant starts out,
say, $7,000 in the hole. They
then choose subjects from the
board (“I’ll take Gap-Toothed
Celebs for minus $50, please”)
in an attempt to climb back to a
zero balance.
Debt‘s MC is the ever-affable and
very well-preserved Wink
Martindale, whose
grim-reaper-in-a-tux visage
looms over the show’s
nightmarish set. While the
viewers at home may be one or
two paychecks away from
scavenging recyclables, the
contestants on Debt can, at
least, lick their wounds and
count their blessings after
losing the first round. Wink
mercifully permits them to slink
away with a shred of dignity and
a Debt piggy bank as their
parting gifts. One can only
assume they wouldn’t have much
use for another home version of
the game.
Partial blame for the lingering
decline of TV game shows could
be placed at the feet of
benevolent undertaker
Martindale, but it’s hard to pin
the tail on just one fall guy.
Some prefer to scapegoat The
Gong Show
and The 1.98 Beauty
for abruptly informing
us that all those drugs we took
in the ’70s and ’80s did not
leave us unscathed – our good
judgment must’ve been thrown out
with the bongwater. But like a
bad mescaline trip, we don’t
fight it, man. When all else
fails, we lower our standards.
The first piece of evidence:
Chuck Barris. Exhibit B: Wheel
Of Fortune
(featuring Angelyne
role-model Vanna) and Bob
Barker’s PETA-preaching,
model-shtupping persona on The
Price Is Right.
We rest our
case. (Singled Out‘s
transcendentally ghastly Jenny
McCarthy is evidence of
something far more sinister,
we’re sure…)
It’s old news: the Web virtually
resembles a near-infinite,
Medusa-follicled Gong Show. The
proliferation of irredeemably
exorable home pages, over the
past year alone, qualifies your
(very) basic (below) average
HTML jockey for the Big Mallet -
before he even embeds his first
blinking tickertape banner.
We’re thinking of those
especially self-hating types who
find it necessary to repeatedly
remind you that, home page-wise,
they suck and they know it.
Unfortunately, self-consciousness is
only a symptom, not an excuse.
The parallels between Debt
contestants’ unabashed
desperation and the
broom-pushers bringing up the
rear of the Sartrean home page
parade are uncanny: both jump at
the chance to stand out from the
pack, to grab the limelight (yet
acknowledge – nay, exalt – in
their sub-mediocrity), to
eagerly demonstrate a keen grasp
of trivia, and to experience the
instant buzz from a fleeting,
ambivalent taste of fame.
Why we are willing spectators is
an even easier answer – watching
game show lemmings and unedited
home page squirrels making
self-effacing fools of
themselves in public is just the
icing on the gruel. It’s more
voyeuristic than vicarious – in
both cases it’s “better them
than me.” The distinction
between shame and pride is an
even tougher call. Ever bragged
about the size of your hangover?
Yawn. Nowadays people strut
their credit problems. It’s not
enough to one-up your date on
your respective VISA limits -
why red-line your debtor’s
braggadocio at the non-virtual
small talk level when you can
document a depressing lack of
budgeting prowess on your home
page? Who else to blame for the
rise of credit counseling sites
with introductory questionnaires
that suspiciously resemble a
perverse co-mingling of 12-step
self-examination and
The 100,000 Dollar Pyramid,
and What’s My Line?
are, for now, extinct, having
gone the way of The Love Boat
and Fantasy Island. Curious,
what with the current celebrity
glut. The mortifyingly low
quality and high quantity of
zombified “stars” endlessly
paraded before us on E! evokes
the image of some sort of
on-high retribution – the ilk of
which hasn’t been seen since,
um, we stopped doing all those
drugs in the ’80s. Perhaps the
inevitable CD-ROM versions will
reanimate Dicks Cullen and Clark
- no word whether the
resuscitated TV version of Match
Game ’96
will attempt to thaw
out leering automaton Gene
The recent dearth of show-biz
quiz vehicles has been
disheartening for smirking fans
of the so-bad-it’s-good.
Bet-hedging players on irony’s
morning line do not bemoan Talk
TV’s sudden (and long overdue)
oversaturation and the daytime
soap opera industry’s continued
downsizing. Such programming
tidal shifts can only make room
for the comeback of
celebrity-laden game shows -
giving the restless pod people
of the idle “personality” pack
something to do and someplace to
be seen – be it the vast daytime
wasteland or the less-downmarket
neighborhood of primetime
Still – and this is thinking out
loud – we gotta jazz up the
tired celeb/nonentity, pro/am
angle of the ghost of game shows
past. Why settle for mere
promotional fees and
sponsorships when we can
cross-promote? And we need a
No! Wait! A Theme Franchise With
Built-In Global Name
Recognition!!… Hold that
thought. It’s a vision. A creaky
neon scaffolding folded up and
stored behind the back lot…
dusted off… propped up…
fresh long-stems for the
ladies… T-shirt tie-ins…
premieres at strategic
Yes. Roseanne Barr and Sony
Television have combined their
considerable resources to
(re)develop the mutha of all
star-fucking game shows: on
Planet Hollywood Squares, there
are no bad vibes. Only a glib,
tanned, bleached-toothed MC,
eager, personable contestants,
and, of course, stars and
starlets – or, at very least,
good-natured has-beens. There
shall be no shortage of human
tic-tac-toe fodder. After all,
the whole idea behind becoming
famous is to make so much money
you don’t really have to DO
anything – except retain a
manager clever and
well-connected enough to
compensate for your lack of
talent (and
inversely-proportionate skill at
self-promotion). When tax time
rolls around, why not justify
your latest cosmetic surgery by
occupying the square that gets
the X? And when the self-hating
contingent of the personal home
page brigade rallies behind
affirmative action for the
wretchedly boring, you can bet
they’re writing off online
bills, scanners, and FrontPage
software on their ’96 returns.
One particularly repellent “white
pride” home-pager recently
crowed that a single mention on
Mirsky’s “Worst Of The Web”
caused his hits to spike from
double to quadruple digits
overnight. Hey, as long as they
get your URL right, who cares?
There’s no such thing as a bad
link, kid, and get yourself an
agent. As regressive and eager
sucklings at the game show teat,
why look forward to asking
“whatever happened to…” when
we could kick ourselves for
paying attention in the first
place? That’s Hollywood: if they
develop it, we will come. And as
long as you continue to
acknowledge that you do, indeed,
suck, you’re forgiven – and you
shall be delivered from ever
having to be, y’know, good at

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