Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Great Sucking Sound

When I read this sort of thing, I think fondly of Suck, where it would have been a full-blown essay.

I read Suck obsessively for its last couple of years, and was genuinely pissed when it went under; how could this enterprise, which had generated precisely zero revenue - although I may have clicked on an ad once - from a reasonably faithful reader like me, not be stacking up the cash? After a while, though, as weblogs began metastatizing across the land, the Reason web presence began to exhibit many Suck-like features. (Italics important in that clause.) The magazine's editor (the linked-above Gillespie) and online editor (Tim Cavanaugh) are both prominent Suck alums, and the blog title Hit & Run was also the name of Suck's Thursday column of quick snarks. The name sets the tone: the majority of Hit & Run contributors who are non-Suck-affiliated still, on this form, would have fit right in. It's cohesive enough to conjure up an entirely unlikely image of them all sitting around some updated Algonquin table, complaining about smoking bans. And that (to finally get to the point) is what set me to Googling up this quote, which is something I'd often thought but never adequately expressed: of the most important things you can do is create this illusion of an ‘in crowd’ that you’re not in on. And it really does work, right? The ideal for a magazine would be like Mad’s usual gang of idiots, where you have this sense that there’s this really wacky crew all getting together to come up with these really great ideas. You really want to be part of that, you feel like you’re on the outside looking in on that.
Quote is Cavanaugh, the idea he ascribes to Heather Havrilesky, taken from this excellent history of Suck. (Even as an obsessive Suck fan, I will concede that it may be a tad on the long side.)