Rather gobsmackingly, today marks the 20th anniversary of the very first daily column on Suck.com.
It's very hard to describe what Suck was, especially to people who weren't there, but let this suffice: it was where the coal shovelers in the boiler room of the dot-com boom and digital revolution checked in every morning to make sure we weren't crazy (for doing this), weren't alone (in our bafflement at the hype and idiocy swirling around us), and weren't scowling all day (we invariably got to smile for 20 minutes each morning).
I mean, I checked in with Suck first thing every weekday for years.
An excellent history of Suck and the Sucksters appeared on the ten-year anniversary. It's probably too long for the casual reader i.e. anyone who didn't read it at the time, was never in the web business, never visited 520 Third Street in San Francisco. But it's a real piece of history.
In his seminal 1999 book Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create & Communicate, Steven Johnson was perhaps the first to point out the way Suck had coopted the hypertext link as intertextual reference you didn't get the point or joke of a sentence until you moused over the linked phrases.
A while ago I linked to my favorite episodes of Filler, for years the Wednesday treat on Suck, as well as to two of my favorite daily essays. If you read this a while after I write it, I may have gone back and updated those links to the snapshots preserved in aspic by the Internet Archive.
Because not only did Suck go off the air in 2001 a shattering occurrence that took me some time to get my head around, and truly seemed like the end of an era. But some time between then and now, the whole kit and caboodle every essay and cartoon disappeared from the web entirely.
“Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower”
Sic transit gloria mundi.