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by Nerdsholm

gilbert says, "suck is using frames! And scripts! And animations! Oh, whatta woild, whatta woild."

gnat shudders.

gnat says, "suck are using frames to hold ADVERTISING."

j.j says, "imminent death of the web predicted, film at 11."

gilbert says, "Heh. If you put your cursor over the new suck logo, the script message is, "We suck." Subtle commentary on the new design, perhaps?"

gnat says, "Nope, it's just their style. They're fashionably down on everything, and somehow if they're down on themselves it makes the shite they have 'ok'."

gilbert says, "This BITES. Consumer capitalism has taken over the suckster's branes. And no matter how they say self-righteously sneering, "It don't matter none if we've got ugly ads on our site if we sneer at corporate capitalism," that's a cheap rationalization. What little respect I had for them has evaporated like spit off the hood of a hot Camaro."

Tom says, "gilbert: The sucksters were cynical bastards from day one. I mean, that's the point. Iznit?"

j.j says, "But they're advertising now."

gilbert says, "See their new site."

Tom says, "Because somebody finally bought some. How else were they planning to make a living?"

gilbert says, "It's ugly, putrid, and sneeringly self-righteous about their sneering self-righteousness. Don't you SEE the PARADOX?"

how alternative papers sell out, or
'cashing in on death'

Tom says, "See, guys, this doesn't ripple me because I've already been through it recently. The Stranger, the local hip rag, recently started taking full-page color ads from the oh-so-hip-brand divisions of Philip Morris, RJR Nabisco, etc."

gilbert says, "I'm willing to bet that the Stranger doesn't devote its entire purpose to sneering at the mass culture of advertising."

kate says, "The local hip weeklies instantly started taking full-page cigarette ads when the feds changed the laws. Did that happen in Toronto?"

gilbert sighs.

gilbert says, "kate: Yeah. But it's not the same thing. For example: Z Magazine (small heavily left-wing) takes no advertising."

kate says, "sure, the local hip weeklies have been taking what's basically brothel advertising for years."

suckvertising, part the second, or
'that ol' bottom dollar'

Tom says, "Hip is dead."

gilbert says, "Hip was never anything more than an advertising construct to begin with."

Tom says, "Exactly."

gilbert says, "But self-expression, at least for the sucksters, is compromised when they take that bottom dollar."

Tom says, "I can't imagine that anybody ever thought they weren't planning to take that bottom dollar. Am I missing something?"

gilbert says, "If you're critiquing mass society, then feeding from the hand that you bite is wonkus."

gilbert will shut up now.

Tom says, "I honestly wonder. Did you think they were going to be reader-supported eventually or something? I mean, I guess that's at least possible."

gilbert says, "There's also a difference between being quietly funded behind the scenes and being nominally independant and having ugly, animated graphics screaming your affiliation on the title page."

natasha says, "I guess they figured they had to do it the ugly way in order to be consistent."

gilbert will REALLY shut up now.

Tom says, "Hmmm, I think I prefer the blatant sponsors."

gilbert says, "Why?"

high bandwidth/ugly content, or
aesthetics, part one

kate notes quietly that to endorse the 'if you don't have a T1 it's reasonable not to give a damn about you' is merely going to make the haves/havenots thing more apparent over time.

gilbert nods at kate.

tapaboy orders a T1 so he can be a HAVE.

kate says, "I mean, do you really _only_ want to talk to professional webgeeks and other people working in your own field? Gonna have your head up your ass pretty fast that way. Most consumers are still modeming, after all."

tapaboy says, "Depends on who you want to reach. suck caters to an elitist group anyway. Probably all have t1's so it's no big deal."

gnat says, "Feh, they've had to explain who they are, too. Very corporate and wanky."

Tom says, "It is entirely readable over 28.8, actually. Probably being too defensive about bandwidth issues."

natasha thought the T1 thing was tongue in cheek.

Tom says, "Is that nifty imagemap stuff java or javascript or what?"

natasha says, "Their sneer is worse than their bite."

natasha is poking into that imagemap thing now.

gnat thought the T1 thing was barely comprehensible rationalizing.

vampyr says, "Javascript."

Tom says, "Ah yes. It's a java applet. There's javascript in the page, yes, but the navigator thing is an applet. So is the east village animation."

vampyr says, "Oh Lord. It's an applet inside a javascript."

d. downloads it over 28.8, reads it, and agrees. "It's hideous."

natasha says, "Hee. Well, they've got our full attention. Eek."

j.j pulls up suck, "oh god."

j.j says, "make it STOP."

hideous sponsors

natasha wants hideous sponsors blaring from her site.

gilbert sends a hideous blaring ad and a big fat check!

gilbert says, "An ad for thneeds, if you please, natasha!"

natasha mmm. natasha becomes one of the elitist advertising pigs!

suckvertising, take III, or
'stop sucking and start Sucking!'

gilbert says, "Case in point, and what to me looks the most like 'suck': do you ever read Adbusters (you should, it's right up your alley wrt cigarette advertising)?"

Tom says, "I'm familiar with it."

gilbert says, "They have No Advertising. Why? Because they are an anti-advertising magazine."

Tom says, "Suck is not an anti-advertising column. It's a place to read cool rants about the culture. They don't have an explicit political agenda. They have an aesthetic agenda."

d. wonders if they're going to degrade another notch again, like what happened when WiReD got involved.

Tom says, "If they stop Sucking and start sucking, they'll presumably lose their original audience and someone else will make a play for it."

gilbert says, "Aesthetic agendas imply political agendas."

tapaboy says, "suck sucks"

natasha says, "Hm. As much as this suck is ugly, I agree with tom, it seems consistent with their whole schtick. While they were always sneering, they never seemed actually holier than-thou."

gilbert says, "....and yes, they have been anti-advertising, a LOT."

tapaboy says, "They are clever to turn their whining into money and I like the look but it still sucks."

gilbert says, "Back up, here, guys. Why does a political or anti-advertising agenda imply holier than thou?"

natasha blurts 'less talking, more sucking' and giggles.

natasha says, "holier-than-them, I should say."

Tom says, "They are certainly anti-Philip-Morris, but it's not clear to me that taking any advertising is utterly incompatible with that. I haven't removed the INFACT pages from my site in a flurry of corporate evil just because I take ads from people who aren't selling cancer."

gnat says, "They had trouble finding something to say five times a week. Now they're going to double their output?"

Tom says, "See the part about having a payroll now."

tapaboy says, "I have only read it a few times but only the early ones were interesting. The rest seem to be more formula and less content."

natasha says, "At least for me, a political agenda usually implies that the agendist won't 'give in' to the sins of the thing they are ranting against."

gilbert says, "I don't see how you can, in good conscience, feel free to write whatever you want about the web (and specifically about the hideousness of mass culture on the web and how advertising is ruining the net) and yet have big honking ads on your site."

gilbert says, "Is the contradiction not clear?"

Tom says, "Yes, there is a conflict of interest. Okay. There is also a problem with trying to make a mind-bogglingly popular column available without the money to pay for a T1 to serve it from, or the time that goes into writing it on a daily basis. Life is ugly compromise."

gilbert says, "Yeah, that's true. I think that trumpeting the redesign as if it doesn't mean anything (we'll be just as evil as we always were) is road-to-hell time."

ads on the web, or
'hit-counting idiots'

gnat says, "Actually, being mocked by Suck probably draws just as many visitors to the site as being listed in one of the infinite 'what is slightly above mediocre on the web' lists."

gilbert says, "As with most advertising polls, that ignores the intent of the surfer. If I go to something from suck, it's generally to laugh at it or revel in the hideousness of it all. Not to buy their damn products."

gnat says, "True, but web advertisers are (by definition) hit-counting idiots."


gilbert says, "Suck exemplifies the failure of the GenX aesthetic: to think that moral agendas can be divorced from aesthetic ones."

synthesis, or
'dangerously close to agreement'

Tom says, "Mmm, The Stranger took the same screw-you-we-were-always-capitalists approach, but yes, it's dishonest, unrealistic or both."

natasha thinks this needs to be a web magazine rant!!! Yes. Tom and gilbert, battling it out.

gilbert says, "but I love him, natasha!"

Tom says, "natasha: I dunno, we're veering dangerously close to agreement here."

gilbert smooches Tom.

natasha giggles.

Tom bumfondles gilbert vigorously.

natasha says, "heh."

vampyr covers his eyes!

aesthetics, part II

j.j whimpers at the never ending frame animation.

j.j says, "mommy, it's hurting me."

gnat says, "I hate those animations that make Netscape 2 say 'loading... done ... loading ... done ... loading ... done'. They flicker in the background and MAKE.ME.WILD."

gilbert says, "j.j: Yes, that damn ad was flickering in the background as I was reading 'suck'. EXTREMELY annoying."

vampyr says, "server error. wow. this DOES suck."

j.j just shuts down the damn browser. "i can't STAND IT."

a great article, or
'thirteen-year-old girls on cocaine'

natasha says, "i still think this topic makes a great article. even if it's been done already by suck. it could have a meta-suck meta-web thing one step more removed. maybe even on usenet."

natasha says, "this very mud convo."

d. says, "why not just log this conversation and change everyone's names."

gnat notes that if you shift each letter in 'suck' forward, you get 'tvdl' and back, you get 'rtbj'.

gilbert says, "can someone log this convo?"

gnat says, "If it goes in as a MUD log, expect to be mocked. All MUD dialogue reads as though several thirteen year old girls were locked in a cardboard box with a kilo of cocaine and a keyboard."

ironic epilogue

d. says, "oh, great. suck crashed my browser."

Nerdsholm is the online water cooler of a Seattle-based software company.

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