"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 30 March 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.


Cost Minus


You're Killing Me
Samsa couldn't have been a cockroach, because he was too sad. Cockroaches live on garbage and are happy.
Five years ago today in Suck.

From: H. Peabody Briggs, Editorial Director
To: sucksters@suck.com
Subject: Our new budget
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 19:55:02 -0500
Per our Suck editorial meeting this morning, we will be implementing the following cost-saving changes immediately:

Outlook-generated content

As you know, freelance writing is a major expense item for us. We can cut this area way down by making use of a resource we all have right in front of us: inspirational email. How many times a day do you delete copies of the "friendship" or "value of time" spams, never considering how much mileage you could get out of them? From now on, when you get a "Happiness is a journey, not a destination" message, it goes right up on the site.

For that matter, the next time I want to read some snide loser sitting around "critiquing" the culture is, um, NEVER! There's a recession on. People want heartwarming nuggets like "If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep...you are BLESSED because you are richer than 75% of this world." You want writing? This is writing:

So, I just wanted to say,
Even if I never talk to you again in my life,
You are special to me and you have Made a difference in my life,
I look up to you,
Respect you,
And truly cherish you.
Little more crowd-pleasing than a fat Eminem parody, wouldn't you say? Think, here, people.

Publish in German

The German language has plenty of long compound words that could sharply reduce our per-word freelance rate. Here's an example I found on a model railroad package:

English: The straightforward architecture of this townhouse with passageway to the rear is a must for all N cities.

German: Schlichtes, jedoch elegantes Stadthaus mit Durchfarhrt zum Hinterhof.

Add it up. We could realize a 30 percent reduction in our freelance costs immediately with this simple change.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Even accounting for his various broken-limb days, by my estimate Terry has already done more than 10,000 drawings for Suck. We could recycle those babies for a good three years before anybody would notice.

For that matter, why are we reinventing the wheel every time we do a cartoon feature? It seems like half the Fillers I see have two people sitting in a coffee shop or a restaurant. Can't we just have one coffee/dinner picture? And while we're at it, could we decide which it is — coffee or dinner? What are we, the fucking Zagat guide?

Convert to Islam

Actually, scratch that last one. If our religion forbids us to look at images in the first place, we won't have to worry about paying an artist at all. Make it happen. If Mike Tyson can find Allah, so can you. Bonus to this approach: Saves us from having to publish on Fridays.

Find and replace

We've got a huge back catalogue collecting dust. Can't we just go back and "freshen up" the old stories by inserting new names and dates? Is there really some huge difference between what we write about David Geffen and what we write about Mark Andreessen? They're just articles, for Christ's sake.

No copyediting

Is their anything a copy editor does that a good spellcheck can't? In a word, know.

No more adverbs

In my business writing class they always told us adverbs slow down the sentence. They also force me to pay more to these per-word slobs. Get rid of the adverbs, and people can read the articles more fast.

Change to the metric calendar with a three-day weekend

We're shooting ourselves in the foot with this seven-day week. If we move to a ten-day week, with a three-day weekend, we'll save ourselves one day of publishing every 70 days.

Another advantage of the ten-day week: If we pay freelancers six weeks after publication, we get a 60-day lead instead of only 42 days. We can earn more interest that way (May conflict with the convert-to-Islam plan above; we've got the accountants looking into it).

Mail on the front page

We can knock out half our costs by putting reader mail on the front door every other day. Publish the article one day, publish the responses the next. Simple, cheap, and potentially very popular. In case you haven't noticed, people love the sound of their own voices more than they love the sound of yours.

Let's keep these ideas coming, folks. You don't need me to tell you we're in pretty deep shit. Just read the paper. I'd better start hearing some ideas out of you people soon.

Send us some cost-saving suggestions at Plastic.

courtesy of BarTel d'Arcy


pictures Terry Colon

BarTel d'Arcy

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