"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 14 July 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Doesn't Hurt Me a Bit


[This is hardboiled.  Not like the egg, but LIke the detective.  John woo is fucking amazing.  Two fisted gunslingers diving over baracades, rolling into fire, and picking up a harpoon in the processs.  I am gonna give away the ending .... ok?  John travolta dies.]

Unless you go all the way back to

Peckinpah, Hollywood's violence

has always been more visceral

than visual. Hong Kong was

always the place for the truly

morally retarded action cinema

fan, and John Woo ruled over the

island with a pair of

pistol-clenching fists. Woo's

emigration to our fair shores

was not unpredictable given the

relative size of American

audiences, and the uncertain

fate of the hapless Kongers.

Still, in the heady days of

skulking around Chinatown video

stores looking for subtitled

versions of The Killer and

Hardboiled one never could have

predicted that a traditionally

styled Woo film would one day

earn enthusiastic accolades from

mainstream reviewers, and those

who would like to be. For some

reason we've come to expect as

much online. But the print

publications have caught us

off guard with their newfound

appreciation for such

blood-flecked and blustery fare

as Woo's operatic and

over-the-top shootouts.


Frankly, the mainstream media are

scaring us.


[This is a no guns sign.  The british have gotten smart.  NO HANDGUNS.  Period. It makes you think.   I need a handgun, and maybe a few automatic weapons to protect me from the crack dealers in my hood.]

Not that everyone with a vanity

URL is so bloodthirsty. Little

constitutional problems aside,

those who are working to end

street violence can at least be

lauded for their good

intentions. Still others who

oppose or boycott onscreen

mayhem in the belief that

violent art leads to violent

people are apparently unaware

that to lump in pretend violence

with the real thing (which

shatters real bodies and real

lives) is to minimize the

latter, reducing the awfulness

of violence to the level of

oozing ketchup. Ironically,

that's what the critics say of

the filmmakers - and the

filmmakers are not working

alone. Now, on the Web, the

tools of pretend bloodletting

have gone from makeup to markup.

The killing only gets more

graphic - so to speak - from



Many of us, of course, are not

quite fulfilled by passive

movie-house gunplay, yet are

still somewhat shy about getting

into the real thing. (Real-life

gunfights tend to lose their

glamorous appeal right around

the "getting shot" part.) For

those in this hazy twilight of

blithe and self-destructive

atavism, there's Quake, Duke

Nukem 3-D, and the new king of

all immersive carnage fests,

Marathon Evil - the only game

we're aware of with a rail gun,

a nuclear mortar, and rockets

with big yellow happy faces

painted on the noses. The

telling armament, though,

certainly has to be the

two-handed two-pistol

configuration. Congratulations:

You're now in the John Woo

movie. What a country.


Douglas Coupland "reported" in

Microserfs that high-tech

managers could ill-afford to

outlaw office network gameplay,

because it would be

"catastrophic to morale for

employees to not be allowed to

hunt and kill their co-workers."

But if life in the cubicle is

wont to cause folks to forget

that they are alive, is it

possible that a few late-night

hours of 6.64 deaths per minute

(yes, Marathon provides that

level of marble-hearted

statistical analysis) might make

us forget that we can also be

killed? Who cares - as long the

skill set is transferable.


[We all need a helping hand.  And this nice young man is teaching this nice young woman to fire a high powered handgun.  We all need friends like this.  What you can't see is the target.  They would be shooting at me as I am trying to leave their apartment with a vcr.  It was my cousins.  Really.]

Thirty-one states now have

right-to-carry laws permitting

private citizens to carry

concealed firearms for

protection against criminals.

Interestingly, it appears that

all this firepower in the

streets has resulted in less

violent crime - rather than the

Wild West shootouts at corner

saloons anticipated by many. (As

Robert Heinlein noted sagely,

"An armed society is a polite

society.") All this goes to

show, at any rate, that

Americans have evidently lost

their faith in Uncle Sam's

ability to protect them. Or

perhaps they've just lost their

interest in letting somebody

else have all the fun of pulling

the trigger. Though we do still

like for The Man to throw the

switch on our behalf, every now

and again.


[This is that guy that blew up the Federal building.  That sucks.  No Joke here.]

Maybe we're willing to let The

Man pull the switch because there's

nothing very sporting about

strapping Tim McVeigh to a table

and mixing him up a big


cocktail (though it certainly

churns the stomach less than the

sport that landed McVeigh

there). Still, it's not clear

where throwing one more corpse

on the pile makes up for any of

this. For our part, we'd like to

see McVeigh putting in about 95

hours a week for the next 10

years rebuilding the Murrah

Building, followed by a few

decades of yardwork,

dishwashing, and house residing

for the families of the victims.

Unfortunately, there must be

something very undramatic and

viscerally unsatisfying about

household chores, as compared to

a hanging, never mind a



[Dude.   Dooooooooood.   Duuuuuuuude (hi Sean Welch).  Game Over. Awwwwwwwwww Man.  This sucks.]

Out in the Wild West of the

Internet, vigilantism is the

more than the norm, it's a high

virtue. And with the Government

Man having recently been tossed

out of the Cyberspace

Territories on his tokus, us

lonesome online cowboys are

going to have to fend for

ourselves more than ever. Which

is how we like it. Such a

fearless frontier spirit is

cheap to maintain, of course,

when the prairie spans from MAE

East to MAE West, with only vast

barren stretches of barbed fiber

in between. In other words, the

prospect of incensed Netters

following in the bloody

footsteps of quickdrawing LA

motorists is a happy

impossibility. Even the worst

flame wars are all hot air, the

combatants separated by many

pacifying miles - and staying

out of such frays in the first

place is entirely too easy.


That's why God invented the aptly

named kill file, a convention

that is simultaneously the

ultimate form of nonviolence,

yet is not entirely without its

vindictive satisfactions. "Make

my day, punk" never had the

delectable dismissive ring of

"Welcome to my kill file,

bitch." Nevertheless, backing

down is not a very American

virtue, and many of us are still

determined to stand up for

ourselves (even if we are taking

it sitting down). On the wire,

as well as in the streets, it's

clear that "DIY" is as American

as apple pie.


For our part, we're content to

occupy the moderate middle

ground of this battle; we'll get

in a few good games of Marathon,

and another screening of the Woo

flick - and let the social

impacts of our questionable

habits sort themselves out. All

the simulated violence may leave

us drained, senseless, and

substantially numb to instances

of the real thing - but lately

it's easy to feel that a little

anesthesia might be just the


courtesy of Mr. Fuches

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