suck harder.
a fish, a barrel, and a smoking rejection.
for 15 August 1996. Updated WHENEVER we get a submission.

the fish
Name Droppings


When egos take a crap, owners are

not cleaning up.

Watch your foot.


With the ubiquity and the

repulsiveness of fresh birdshit,

the ancient art of the name drop

has invaded our daily habits. By

mentioning someone or some thing we

perceive as greater than ourselves,

we hope to be elevated closer to

the pedestals upon which we have

placed our heroes, our wooden

idols, our holy grails.


We casually remind our friends who

we had lunch with last week. Our

writings open with the aphorisms

of famous legends, all the better

to bolster our supposed point and

inflate our bibliographies. The

name drop even manifests its

insidious nature in the clothes we

wear: "Look at me, I'm cool enough

to associate myself with Brand X."


If we can't achieve on our own

merits, let us at least attempt to

achieve on the merits of others.

Let us tickle the toes of angels.

Apple Outside Resources

And as I was telling my buddy Bill

Gates the other day, our perversion

with name dropping has landed like

a drunken fly on the World Wide

Web. From college freshmen to

corporate giants, wannabe WWW

publishers do their duty in the

form of the hot list.


In the good ol' days of the

Internet-- before <bgcolor="#ffffff">

and cool X of the day --

pioneers in the

wilderness created hotlists out of

sheer pragmatism. It was much

easier to maintain a <ul> of favorite

pages than to keep writing nifty

URLs on the back of our hands.


Sometimes, these hotlists grew into

veritable hierarchical directories

and friends would visit to marvel

at the Oh! the places we've been!

Wouldn't you know it, somebody was

bound to turn this into the next

lucrative cottage industry.


But pragmatism be damned, we wanted

to show off! So we filled our

hotlists with all sorts of heady

goods. With the vanity of a Muppet

pig we told the world all the cool

places we had been, if but once, so

that we, too, could be "cool." The

result is hardly a hotlist that

fails to pay homage to Dilbert,

Yahoo, HotWired, or the granddaddy

of all name droppings, Cool Site of

the Day.


And as I was saying to Marc

Andreesen the other day, ten will

get you twenty that the next homely

home page you stumble upon will be

graced by three elements: the

owner's picture (with optional

dog), the owner's resume, and the

owner's hotlist.


In the beginning, the Internet was

the vision of intellectual

egalitarianism. *Anybody* could

publish. Freedom of the press no

longer belonged to those that owned

the presses, but to anyone who

owned a modem. Publishing houses

would crumble and pop would finally

eat itself now that Aunt Beth could

print her travelogue and Uncle

Enos could publish his book for

the price of a cup of java. Can't

negotiate your way into the New

York Times? Don't worry -- there's

a place for you on the Internet.


The age-old inquiry has been, What

if we threw a war and nobody came?

The new question is, What if you

have a medium -- but nothing to

say? Name drop. After the

obligatory photo and resume, of



By night I fight crime in the

shadowed alleys of a metropolis,

but by day I serf. I am a

pixel-pusher. I harvest the

Internet. My job is to take the

content of others -- unpalatable in

print -- and magically make it less

unpalatable on the Web. It's a

tough job, but everybody's got to

do it.


It always interests me, then, to

look at our logs and see which

content gets seen the most. Our

cookie cutter Web presence is

composed of a home page and 4-6

gateways to other junk, one of

which is invariably a unique

hotlist. The rub is, the hotlist is

always the most popular page! Not

only do people thrive on name

dropping, they suck it up, too!

Gov't is not God

As I was telling God the other

day, Internet nomads clearly do not

soak in the content, the poetry,

the gentle wit of each page they

visit. Instead, they cruise from

home page to home page, gawking at

all the pretty pictures. They coo

to their monitors, "Oh, this is

interesting," and find the next

hotlist so that they can go to more

home pages and go googoo at the

next series of pretty pictures.


We are not interested in the

Homerian epic of the Internet. We

instead thirst for its coloring



As for me, I'm going to go clean my


courtesy of Stubb ex Machina

the barrel

the gun