Buzz

Dirty old high-tech men
A survey conducted by the Dallas-Fort Worth edition of Computer Currents magazine finds that the local byways of the information superhighway are dominated by men (89 percent). No surprise here. But one of the reasons women aren't out there, writes associate publisher Cade Herzog in the January issue, is that the only truly profitable local online services are adult-oriented--offering downloadable explicit erotic material. "And the users that seek this information, and pay readily, are predominately male," he notes. (Could explain the popularity of laptop computers.)

Short circuit
CompUSA just doesn't get it. And we're not sure we do either. The Dallas-based computer retail chain is the butt of a joke in the January issue of the hyper-hip WIRED magazine. But the joke is so obtuse that CompUSA's spokeswoman temporarily mistook the swipe for a company-sponsored promotional effort.

Not quite.
A Wired spokeswoman says editors were tweaking the retail chain for its prudish reaction to the magazine's past use of profanity.

In fine print, in the "Electric Word" section ("bulletins from the front line of the digital revolution"), the editors write, "One more look: First reader to guess the secret code on our cover this month wins a free subscription and a trip to your local CompUSA to find out why we had to make it a secret in the first place."

The cover is embossed with Braille letters spelling out "Get Wired." More significantly, says the hot-Wired flack, the contents page sports the greeting, "Happy Fucking New Year."

The last time editors gave the F-word such prominent display, she says, was February 1993, when "Don't fuck with the DMV" (Department of Motor Vehicles) appeared on the magazine's contents page. CompUSA management reacted swiftly, ripping the WIREDs out of store shelves. So far, that hasn't happened this time.

Come to think of it, we'll pass on that free subscription.

She's a pill
If it's true that "there's no such thing as bad press," ex-Dallas Morning News plagiarist and world-famous depressive Elizabeth Wurtzel, the author of the widely reviled Prozac Nation, had a terrific year.

Before the holidays, she rated a mention in New York magazine for showing up barefoot to a literary reading, and appeared that same month on New York 1 television enthusiastically comparing alternative rockfest Lollapalooza to Woodstock. "Anesthetize yourself," entreated The New York Press.

There were holiday tidings, too. Wurtzel's autobiography took the top slot on Entertainment Weekly's five worst books of '94 ("a book-length whine...a tedious rant").

In the same magazine, the bummer princess offered insight into her muse. Wurtzel shared her personal reading list: the medical suspense novel The Hot Zone ("I'm obsessed with viruses and diseases"); Out of the Garden, essays about the Bible's victimized women; and the obscure thriller Need, about a psychiatrist whose husband is cheating on her with one of her suicidal patients. "Anyone who's been in therapy will identify with it," Wurtzel explained.

You can Buzz us at 757-8439 (voice) or 757-8593 (fax) or via Internet at observer@mcimail.com. If you remain incorrigibly low tech, try us at P.O. Box 190289, Dallas, 75219.

 
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