April 1989

It’s a month of riffling through the detritus of previous generations. Yes, I have started buying old Spy issues offa eBay. And missing several of them. I haven’t quite figured out how one ancient issue might sell for $5 (where was I?) while another goes for $12 or more.

Right. So the April 1989 issue was bought for a price so reasonable that the cost of the money order exceeded it. Bernadette Peters (“as [t]he Celebrity” – who?) stands happily on the cover with her Persian in arm, dropping a trash bag into an Oscar the Grouch can from which project a pair of red-gloved upstretched hands. My question is why this famous-for-being-famous has-been would dress in a gown and cape, plus Manolo Blahnik “mules,” in order to take out the trash. (How to become famous: Mahke suhre youhr nahme hahs ahn ehxcehss ohf vohwehl-lehngthehning sihlehnt Hs. Then everyone remembers your oddball spelling.)

Just as my issue of Spy was recovered from the dustbins of history, here Spy itself recovers the dustbins of history. And it’s simply amazing what Bob Guccione throws out.

Unbeknownst to most readers, in nearly all episodes of this unique guide, headings can be linked to directly, as can many individual paragraphs. Heretofore you had to read the source code to find the correct id value, and you still do in most cases, except now many headlines are directly selectable and bookmarkable. Try it yourself.

We get lots and lots of letters.

“Information, please, concerning Kay Gardella,” starts a letter from William Giese of Chevy Chase, Maryland, a man clearly accustomed to getting what he wants and getting it now. “How old is the photo of Kay that accompanies her Daily News column? Any possibility this is a record?” We phoned Kay – you see, Bill, as you guessed, in New York everybody knows everybody else, which is why it’s not unreasonable for people in, say, Chevy Chase, Maryland to assume that any random New Yorker can answer for them whatever odd question pops into their head regarding any other New Yorker. So, anyway, Kay laughed (that Kay) and told us it was “a good ten-year-old picture,” by which she probably meant to say that the picture is a good ten years old. Or perhaps she meant that as ten-year-old pictures go, it’s a good one. After all, we never saw her other choices. (It surprises you, doesn’t it, Bill, that we never saw her other choices, given that we live in New York and, like Gardella, work in journalism? Oh, never mind.)

Now. You are aware that Andrew Sullivan, while also pictured in Spy, actually wrote for it?

Andrew Sullivan’s scrabbling smear job [his entire career in a nutshell, shurely?!] of American Rhodes Scholars [“All Rhodes Lead Nowhere in Particular,” October 1988] was not worthy of your excellent magazine. Mr. Sullivan is just another sulky British writer who is filled with self-hatred because he wasn’t born here. He has been reading too much Tom Wolfe without getting the point.

Spy typically shows what wit and a sharp sense of humour can do when they team up with finely-tuned writing. Mr. Sullivan’s piece shows what happens when sloppy, self-indulgent work teams up with a mean spirit. A style that looks to Dickens for inspiration – one sentence boasts commas, parentheses, quotations, brackets, a colon and, my goodness, what dexterity, and ellipsis – delights no one but a nineteenth-century subscriber to the Illustrated London News. Give Alistair Cooke Jr. here a copy of The Elements of Style and a quick primer in ethical journalism. Name your sources, Mr. Sullivan.

The substance of the piece is less impressive. We learn that Rhodes scholars are bores because none has ever been president [oh, but that would later come to pass, wouldn’t it?], and what they have been – Harvard professor, House speaker, Pulitzer winner – isn’t worth much. Suggest something better, scion of the Old World. What no one in this eclectic collection has been, quite obviously, is a snide, keen-eyed young wit ready to make his mark in his adopted home. Pass the Pimm’s.

May I make a modest proposal that Spy subscribers be permitted to chip in and buy the page now (apparently and regularly) occupied by the Dom Ruinart ad, on which might be printed COMPLIMENTS OF YOUR FRIENDS or something equally compelling? It would be less creative but far more palatable than the ersatz chichi bullshit now being served us!

‘Punchline’ The horrors of 1980s celebrity-manufacturing cinema came rushing back when I flipped the page and saw an advertisement for a movie I always assumed had to be dreadfully unfunny, Punch Line (or is it Punchline?). How in the name of G-d could Sally Field be funny, let alone in the company of Tom Hanks?

Why does this movie strike me as another Hollywood effort to colonize and misrepresent an industry or occupation? And the movies do not last. How well are Heart Like a Wheel and Backdraft (“Bankdraft”) remembered today?

Take it away, Roger Ebert.

When did the laughs go out of stand-up comedy? When did stand-up comedians stop being humorists and start being “personalities,” whose career moves follow a carefully defined trajectory from local clubs to big clubs to the “Tonight Show” to cable to network to movie stardom? When did stand-ups start being bores? [...]

Everybody knows that stand-up comics represent the unhappiest and most screwed-up people in show business, and it is not by accident that their routines are filled with hostility toward the audience (“This’ll kill ya”) and masochistic self-pity (“I’m dying up here!”). Occasionally a comedian is able to make this funny, as Rodney Dangerfield and Jay Leno and, yes, Shandling, do in their contrasting ways, but usually it is simply sick, a public display of ego and ambition unmatched by talent or imagination. If these guys want to perform so badly, why didn’t they take accordion lessons?

This outburst is occasioned by Punchline, a pathetic movie into which a great deal of energy and talent has disappeared. The movie stars Sally Field as a housewife and mother who dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian and Tom Hanks as a failed medical student who also wants to be a comic and has had more experience than Field. They meet at a middle-level comedy club, where Field flops, Hanks succeeds, they become friends and he tries to teach her the ropes, while meanwhile her marriage is falling apart and her husband is threatening to take the kids and leave. [...]

It is a fact, sad but true, that none of the stand-up routines by Field in this movie are any good – not the ones that are supposed to be bad and not the ones that are supposed to be good, either. And Hanks barely does better. The movie does not seem to know it is about two would-be comics who are both lacking in talent.

The structure of the film will be familiar to Field fans. It shows her with lots of heart and pluck as she does what she knows is right. At the end, of course, she gets it both ways: She succeeds, while her husband and children cheer her on and learn to accept Mom’s new obsession.... The problem may be that the movie isn’t nearly tough enough. It needs to be more hard-boiled, more merciless in its dissection of egos, more perceptive about the cutthroat nature of show business....

Comics used to be part of the act in show business – along with singers, dancers, tumblers and magicians and anybody else Ed Sullivan could dredge up. But why a whole evening of nothing but comedy? Nobody wants to laugh that much. What’s really going on is that the audience is judging the gall and self-confidence of would-be comics, who often fail and perhaps enjoy failing. It is some kind of masochistic rite that has little to do with humor, which is why when a comic makes it big he immediately turns into a humanitarian statesman and starts volunteering for charity telethons. If you’re born feeling guilty, and the audience has stopped giving you the rejection you know you so richly deserve, then you’ve got to find another way to feed your conscience. Punchline doesn’t seem to know this, or much else about stand-up comedy.

Oh, but it’s worse than that. Much worse. I recall the advertisements for this celebrity vehicle when they originally came out. I recall Sally Field “onstage,” microphone in one hand, pointing at an unseen audiencemember with the other, upraised eyebrows at once stating and demanding confirmation of “Yeah? You liked that.” One can just imagine the faux-funny, faux-homey higher vocal pitch.

But seen 14 years (ago in Spy) later, I notice her red dress and black tie (or sash or whatever it is – unfurled down to her waist). But the dress is like a Quaker schoolmarm’s. It suggests fecundity and modesty, i.e., the modesty of old-fashioned women who covered up from neck to toe but were expected to whelp every ten or so months, often starting that process six months into their loveless marriage.

Tom Hanks also looks risible in T-shirt and blazer and frizzy hair. There simply is nothing funny about him. HAVE YOU HEARD THE ONE ABOUT SALLY FIELD AND TOM HANKS? Could you please shut up about it?

It would be amusing to compare the original video’s 1989-era captions to the kind we produce today. Unbeknownst to many, I have a growing collection of late-’80s commercial videotapes I am stashing specifically to prove to people how much captioning has changed in the intervening years.

How to use Letraset

‘The Whitey Album’; Bandito Two ads stacked atop each other on page 34 represent “kool,” “rad” homemade typography. You couldn’t be kool or rad in New York in the 1980s without an overt allegiance to Sonic Youth. Were they really that good? No. But they were critics’ darlings, and since rock critics all have the same tastes and write solely for each other’s reinforcement, we were relentlessly told Sonic Youth meant something. On a lark – indulged artiste types are permitted larks, you see – Sonic Youth “released” The Whitey Album under the nom de plume Ciccone Youth.

How tremendously recherché!

And for added DIY cred – as though doing something yourself, albeit ineptly, were in any way a substitute for experience, savoir faire, or professionalism – the advertisement is typeset using poorly-letterspaced Letraset. Charmingly, it lists enormously complex catalogue numbers for all three formats (“LP,” “CD,” [Mama] “CASS”), I guess so your backwater record store in Williamsburg, Park Slope, or the Village could somehow place an order and manage to get it for you.

And the paralytically uncommunicative and cold Kim Gordon is how old now and has had how much work done?

The advertisement beneath this humdinger – “MOM SAYS; Bandito Mexican Restaurant & Bar” – seems genuinely homegrown by comparison. And the errant semicolon is the best.

How to be in a “human photo”: Spokesmodel for Swatch. Except this time, Run-DMC isn’t involved. It’s an unnamed Diane Keaton–in–Baby Boom–esque hip professional chick in colourful tie, jacket, and satchel.

A&S Plaza But it gets much, much worse. Does New York City now or did it ever need “an urban shopping centre”? The Eaton Centre here is bad enough, though I find it convenient for echt-mainstream needs. “ARRIVING SOON – A&S PLAZA   Finally, an urban shopping centre New Yorkers can relate to. Nine levels of exciting retail.” Like I frigging want to schlep up nine stories.

Who’s in the photo? A costume designer for Making Mr. Right and that of Desperately Seeking Susan, apparently.

MTV Record Club Oxymoron alert: Are you “the perfect candidate for the world’s first not-for-everyone record club from MTV!”?

If I told you your answer would be coloured by the “albums” (LP, CASS, no CD) pictured in the ad – Bobby Brown, Steve Winwood, Tiffany – would you respond differently?

“Ersatz chichi bullshit” à l’italien

There’s a reason why the April 1989 ish is so very thick: A 32-pageSpy advertising supplement” vaguely related to Italian pop culture, with hideously overlarge News Gothic type outfitted with neutral apostrophes and hideously overlarge leading, which, when viewed together, altogether fail to camouflage the fact that the copy is skimpy and provided solely to pad out the “supplement.”

How to grow out of the Cocteau Twins

I can’t muster any enthusiasm for the Cocteau Twins here in the Aughties. Or Kate Bush, XTC, Big Country, or any other indisputably talented musical artiste from the 1980s.

Have I grown out of them? Apparently.

This month, Spy treats us to a poorly-typeset advert for the Cocteau Twins’ Blue Bell Knoll, which I only ever owned on CASS (not CD or LP). In the slipshod typography, the T is in lowercase inside the small-caps typesetting, and the S is cut off halfway by the edge of the paper. And what’s that vague, low-resolution, newspaper-style B&W photo to the left?

It is not altogether for nought. The full text of the headline reads “Cocteau Twins: ‘A Kissed-Out Red Floatboat,’ a Love Song from the Album Blue Bell Knoll.”

The Cocteau Twins remain unmatched in rapturous majesty of neologism.

When I read that WGBH had actually captioned Cocteau Twins music videos, I became quite upset. Where the fuck was I? And one recalls the .sig of Ron Buckmire back in the 1990s: “The Lyrics Transcription Project: Cocteau Twins Division, Section 319.”

Surprisingly extensive coverage of haircuts of “famous” men. “Hollywood’s most prominent celebrities turn out to be clients of none other than press agent Michael Levine, whom readers of this space will instantly recognize as the superenthusiastic, René Auberjonois–like-yet-oddly-nondescript publicist.” Spy spoke to his hairdresser, Janis Buller, Vidal Sassoon Beverly Hills.

How often does Michael have his hair styled?
Probably... once a month.
What kind of styling does Michael go in for?
It’s a layered cut. Short in the back, short on the sides, longer on top. He always looks really stylish.
Did Michael used to have hippie hair?
He wore it longer when that was the style.
Did Michael ever have a Mohawk?
Does Michael colour his hair or use extensions?
No... it’s completely natural. His hair is very thick.
What’s Michael like?
[No answer]
Well, say you had to use one adjective to describe Michael. What would it be?
Is Michael a good tipper?
I can’t discuss that.

A mere ten pages later, we view a shocking photo essay on dilapidated old men with combovers. “Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry has defined the combover as ‘a grand total of eight greasy strands of hair, which [one] grows real long and combs across the top of his head so that he looks, when viewed from above, like an egg in the grasp of a giant spider.’ ”

Divine, we’re talking about you.

A Nature of Things episode on animal testing actually interviewed Dr. Heimlich of Manœuvre fame. The interview enabled the doctor to deride plans to drown dogs and give them the Heimlich manœuvre later to prove that the method can save drowning victims by expelling water from the lungs. According to the episode, that planned experiment never happened, due, if memory serves, to Heimlich’s direct intervention, which went along the following lines: “I can tell you right now that the Heimlich manœuvre expels water from the lungs.”

“No Choking: Post-Heimlich New York: A Look Back at the Dislodged-Food Decade”:

An epochal event in the life of New York City occurred on Friday, March 8, 1979. In compliance with local law, the first blue-and-orange “choking poster” was taped to a prominent glass partition in Le Périgord, on East 52nd Street.... Maître d’s are, by default, the usual Heimlich manœuvrers, and even the most standoffish of them can recount a few instances of burrowing their fists into the stomachs of strangers. These testimonials tend to share salient details. For example, the female choking victim is always small and fragile, usually in her seventies, never young. The male victim, by contrast, is always a giant of a man, six foot two to six foot four and well over 200 pounds.... And the punchline [with Sally Field] is, invariably, And then he/she sat down and finished his/her meal as if nothing had happened!

Spy’s Exclusive Monthly Behind-the-Scenes Celebrity Vignette” features... Cesar Romero?

Next Woody Allen’s gonna get his own action figure. Or Randolph “Randy” Mantooth.

You Are There! CROSSOVER DREAMS!  The stars really do come out on Oscar night, and the biggest end up in the superexclusive backstage greenroom. Mr. T showed up to celebrate the sixth anniversary of his blockbuster D.C. Cab with two armfuls of red-hot superstar. Dangling from one bicep was Cheryl (formerly a Charlie’s Angel) Ladd, who, if the buzz about her film Millennium is on target, might next year be snuggling with Oscar. And on the other side, T did bicep curls with Cher. Now a serious actress, Cher is surely looking to complete that set of Oscar bookends in ’90 with her 1930s showgirl biopic Rain or Shine [Punchline, shurely?! – Ed.]. Who’s that greeting Oscar-deserver Sly Stallone? Ayyye! – it’s nicest-guy-in-Hollywood Henry (formerly the Fonz) Winkler! Could be Winkler is trying to get Sly for a cameo in his upcoming blockbuster Turner & Hooch. And Cesar Romero, “joking” around in his vintage Batman-villain outfit, got a chance to hobnob with some of today’s Hollywood biggies!

One is still nursing his Spy Notes. Or perhaps “ignoring,” “neglecting,” or “forgetting about entirely.”

Still, “Ten Years Ago in Spy” this month, from whence this very page draws its name, explicates:

“You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning.... You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head. The club is either Trax or the Mudd Club. All might come clear if you could just slip into the bathroom and do a little more Colombian Nose Candy”

Lynn Geller’s second-person retrospective of jazz musician/actor John Lurie’s trip to Brazil and its treatment in the press was fact-packed and fascinating.

“It’s Never Too Early to Begin Labeling the Aughties.”

Now, who cares about the rest of the story when you start off that strong?

“Ambivalence Means Never Having to Say You’re Anything” by Mary Schafer starts off with:

Well, aren’t we the clever miss? Aren’t we original, coming up with a winning way to say, in a personal ad, how well-rounded we are? “As comfortable in jeans as in an evening gown.” Wise up – no one is giving formal affairs for the likes of us. Better you should take out an ad asking for someone who is as comfortable on a bus as on a subway. [...] Used to be, all a girl had to know how to do was cook and clean. Now she must be equally at home tap-dancing and sailing a catamaran. Once, a guy could like sports and just wear sporty clothes. These days he must look as good in a lion-tamer’s outfit as he does in a clown mask.

New York personal ads excerpted include (excerpted):

But the kicker? Said kicking taking place with sneakers?

“Shall we wear Armani and Ungaro to Lutèce or jeans and sneakers for pizza in the Village?” You’re riding for a fall, my friend. You keep asking for someone who enjoys everything from theatre and dining out to camping and canoeing, and you’re going to wind up with basket cases who wear tennis shoes with evening gowns and eat with their hands.

“They Threw It All Away” by John Brodie and Bob Mack is an article the cover declares is “a scientific, sanitary, and not-at-all-unseemly Spy investigation.” Essentially, “the New York monthly” dumpster-dives.

Fourteen years later, I could ID the owners of only one collection of trash disinterred and examined by a dietitian (or “nutritionist,” depending on whether you believe the story copy or photo caption), an anthropologist, and a private dick.

“East 67th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues,” as surveyed in this experiment, was obviously the home of Bob Guccione, Jr. and Kathy Keller. Remember, I used to read Omni when I was a kid and think its design æsthetic is unheralded.

From other experimental runs:

If Spy de l’époque had a failing, it was overlong feature articles. There actually can be too much of a good thing.

An overlong feature article by Guy Martin, “It’s Morning in Amerika,” posits that, even as the Soviets (Soviets! Remember them?) “embraced” American values, America had, under our very noses, evolved into a numbing Soviet-style bureaucracy.

The massive, but slightly predictable, opening illustration by Joo Chung includes brutalist realism, perspective, English hacked out of Cyrillic-esque characters (but they didn’t know quite what to do with the apostrophe in “Don’t Worry. Be Happy”), and unrecognizable figures (possibly George H.W. Bush, possibly some Midwestern salaryman) depicted in giant red banners.

Our art director this month is B.W. Honeycutt. I am not convinced his typography is up to scratch, with rather hideous letterspaced words. Then again, that was a 1980s trope. At any rate, here he combines mustard yellow with red-tinted spy photographs of “Three New York Case Studies”: a towing garage, the courts, and an unemployment office. A later story documents the endless queues at the passport office (where the photographeuse’s film was confiscated) and, of course, Astor Place Hair, where I got a shitty cut from a Russian ten years ago. I certainly appreciated the segment on queuing to buy subway tokens one at a time.

[I]n order for a nation to become truly Sovietized, its people must practice a mulish and highly aggressive sort of apathy, a stony indifference in the face of moral entropy and social breakdown. The absolute rule of Sovietness is that one must do nothing in life except avoid being bruted about by the authorities while attempting to satisfy one’s appetite for small luxuries. Small luxuries – a laptop, a Volvo 240DL, children at Dalton, a dacha on the Vineyard – make the time pass quickly on the way to the grave, and they confer much-needed social legibility in our officially classless nation. [...] Generally speaking, any shoddy product shoddily applied to a shoddy end is a symptom of Sovietized America.

People have mostly forgotten this drab, Tarkovsky-length, Soviet-style epic of an article, but I believe some of us recall the Mikhail Gorbachev lick ’n’ stick head tattoo. “Now you can look just like Gorby! with this official life-size rub-on Mikhail Gorbachev birthmark decal.”

  1. Put on boxy grey suit, white shirt and tie; expose and lightly moisten right side of forehead.
  2. Correctly position, then firmly press official birthmark decal against right side of forehead.
  3. Remove decal; greet astonished passersby.

In retrospect, the 1970s-era television curios we watched with little or no understanding – one thinks of Match Game or The Liars[’] Club – were make-work projects for a declining cadre of has-been stars and comedians who were famous for being famous and/or Jewish. (Homer: “A Jewish entertainer? Get out of here!”) Krusty the Clown is in fact an homage to this genre of “entertainer,” at whose apex sat Milton Berle.

“ ‘Fuck you!’ screamed Milton Berle, pointing a liverish finger at his tormentor. ‘Get the fuck out of here!’ ” Thus shrieks a hot-pink double-truck Garamond 3 subhed in “Friarsgate,” an exposé of the Beverly Hills Friars Club by Frank Feldinger, where, apparently, Uncle Miltie enjoyed “a free personal secretary and a private [red] telephone for certain... confidential activities (such as placing racetrack and football bets).”

“He’s about the cheapest guy in the world,” says one former Friar fondly. “He’ll go into the club kitchen and take home sandwiches.” Indeed, it is something of a tradition at the Friars Club for millionaires to steal bread.... between $100,000 and $200,000 of the annual dining-room costs are of questionable legitimacy, much of them apparently a result of pilferage.

What the story fails to impart is the sheer loathsomeness of Berle and his ilk. Jowly, dissipated, orotund, ill-groomed has-beens with foul mouths and short tempers, they were never funny. (Few tears were shed over the recent loss of Buddy Hackett, for example.) If you didn’t know who these guys were, at a glance you’d think they were dirty old men. Worse yet, dirty, blubbery old men.

And of the female ilk? The likes of Phyllis Diller simply cannot be taken seriously enough to evoke any feelings whatsoever, except perhaps a dim recollection of a fright wig glimpsed on a television program watched simply because it was on.

I don’t talk enough about this Spy back-of-book mainstay, written, in this era, by an unintelligible pseudonym, Ignatz Raztwikzwizki.

Once upon a time (the issue before last) I began this column with the pulse-quickening phrase Once upon a time. I did so because, like all serious reviewers, I take my stylistic cues from the New York Times, where any lead good enough for “Little Red Riding Hood” is good enough for Arthur Gelb, the paper’s cultural overlord....

The reviewer who begins his essay “Once upon a time” does so not because the phrase captures his thought precisely but because his deadline is looming and he wants to go home. He has considered all conceivable alternatives, down to and possibly including the newsweekly classic Dear Mom: I just saw a great new television show and wanted to tell you about it.... All hope abandoned, he crawls beneath his desk, gathers himself into a fetal curl and whimpers softly with closed eyes as he relives comforting moments from childhood.

Later, there is some unpleasant invective hurled at the name of a dance troupe I favour, DV8 Physical Theatre. But I don’t want to play favourites.

Ronald Perelman “and his wife, Claudia Cohen, the TV gossipeuse of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, have found themselves thrice traipsing to court to do battle over money they refuse to pay” to contractors.

How had the supposed debt become higher than the original estimate for the whole job? Well, the cost escalated to $1,069,987... because of the 95 changes – count ’em, 95 – that were made in the original plans, nearly all of them initiated by the high-strung couple. [...]

The air conditioning, for example. Cohen wanted the house to be cold, and she wanted it to turn cold the very instant she felt the first waves of summer heat shimmer across her tight brow....[A]fter much ripping out of ceilings and much putting back in of ceilings, the contractors supplied the Perelmans with a 15,000-ton air-conditioning system... capable of dropping room temperatures 25 degrees in five minutes. [...]

The marble in Cohen’s bathroom was also a disaster – an absolute disaster! ...It was the wrong colour, she insisted. Pink amid all that white? That’s insane! I never selected it! I never approved it! Take it out! Take it out! Now! Now! Now! [...]

Cohen even has difficulty visualizing herself, it would seem. A bedroom mirror in the East Hampton house had to be replaced twice, once on a Sunday. The rejected mirrors – faulty, malmanufactured, bad, bad, terrible mirrors – all, she complained, made her look too fat.

Ellis Weiner’s column “How to Be a Grown-Up” I adored at the time. Ten Years Later in Spy, I barely read it. Today I forced myself. Sean Connery accepts the Oscar for The Untouchables (in which K. Costner never looked better) by acknowledging his friends “and then added, with an ironic little laugh, ‘and a few enemies.’ ”

As though awakening from a lifelong mental slumber, I wondered, Could it be that the getting and having of enemies was the secret to a heathy, happy, successful life? Eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, acquire implacable foes – was that the formula? [...] Friends? Children have friends. Adults have enemies. Indeed, enemies are proof that one is an adult, that one has in word or deed asserted oneself emphatically in a world run by institutions dedicated to pacifying or intimidating – i.e., to infantilizing. [...]

Whom should the Man Who Would be Grown-up emulate: Christ? Or Connery?

An absolute scream this month, replete with “all kinds of fascinating, soigné, really, really classy people.” Maybe later I’ll cover the ongoing Spy Nightlife Decathlon. Maybe I have already. It’s been 22 issues, you know.

Further on the epic-length Spy sagas: A thirteen-page article by Mark Lasswell on the proliferation of vapid awards for innumerable causes and dubious achievements (yea verily, including the Dubious Achievement Awards) has only one punchline. (It has a typographic error in a headline – “Year/ Month/Week” – but only one punchline.) “The Prize to End All Prizes” is the Spyie Award™, “given to the American or international award that bestows the highest honours while subjecting itself to the least amount of undue influence.”

And the winner of the one-time-only Spyie Award™ is... The Giant Schnauzer Club of America Brood Bitch of the Year Award!

Accepting the award is William Rusch, former secretary of the Giant Schnauzer Club of America: “Thank you.... The Brood Bitch Award is an award that’s honourable and worked for – you don’t come up with a great brood bitch for no reason. It takes a bitch, and it takes an owner who knows what he’s doing.”

I’ll say!

You are here: fawny.orgTen Years Ago in SPYArchives → April 1989

Posted: 2003.07.05 ¶ Updated: 2003.07.22

See also: Interview with Alex Isley, former SPY art director