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Suck: Worst-Case Scenarios in Media, Culture, Advertising and the Internet

It was easy to be cruelly mean to the dotcom hipsters back in 1997 because, well, they were getting rich and were acting weird and snotty in public. At least a lot of them were, so much so that an entire culture grew up out of disliking and sneering at them. However, it’s pretty oversimplified to say that Suck was all about bitter irony and cheap shots at easy targets. Picking up this book again reminded me how insanely good some of the writing, in fact most of the writing, was. The erudition of these Bay Area and beyond cultural pundits [all the while eschewing punditry] is a delight. Sentences that sing, words that send you to the dictionary and turns of phrase that make you jealous pepper this slim volume of middle-of-the-bubble writing about the bubble.

The sucksters never said they weren’t sellouts, and this attempt to market a formerly all-web sensation actually works better than its online counterpart because you can read the essays all the way through without distracting hyperlinks or too much scrolling. More than many books I’ve read, Suck’s collection of essays evokes nostalgia for the early days [or at least my early days] of the web when things were just starting to not look so fresh and new, but at least ironic detachment still hadn’t been done to death.