Monday, November 22, 2004

Full-On Rant

Okay, I haven't engaged in a full-on rant in quite some time. Well, it's time. NOW.

About a month ago, I picked up McSweeney's No. 12. (I think it's No. 12. The cover is butt ugly, and hard to read.) It's from 2003, so I really should not have picked it up when I saw it in Olssen's, but it seemed interesting, so I did.

I haven't gotten all the way through it yet, but I have to rant about the "Letters" section. There's a series of letters, correspondence between McSweeney's and somebody who claimed to have wrote a piece called "Gorilla Girl." The deal: somebody submitted a story with no contact information, and I guess they liked it, because they posted on their Web site, that they were looking for the author. A few people wrote back, but they targeted one guy who seemed a likely candidate.

Apparently, this guy's computer was broken, and the copy McSweeney's received was the only hard copy, that his friend had sent to them. They wanted him to prove that he wrote it, however, and the guy answered that he had NO RECOLLECTION of it, because he (a supposed college student) was drunker than he'd ever been in his life when he wrote it, and they just freakin' go back and forth and back and forth trying to squeeze information out of him, and he just keeps on saying he doesn't remember it. They even get his friend who sent it in to write to "prove" authorship, and his friend didn't read it, so HE didn't even know what it was about.

Okay, it IS funny, I do have to admit. It was funny while I was reading and oh-so-weird and all that crap. HOWEVER. This is the magazine that NEVER FAVORED ME WITH A RESPONSE TO MY SUBMISSION, and they're chasing down an "author" (drunk, stupid college student?) who not only didn't follow the mechanics of manuscript submission in the tiniest amount? The jackass's NAME wasn't even on it??? When I was in college, I wrote plenty of manuscripts drunk or otherwise impaired but I also knew what they were about and put my freakin' name on them.

Maybe it's all a joke, or poking fun at what jackasses people can be, and I'm always into that. But, all I could think of was this editor wasting weeks on this bullshit when he should have just thrown the damn thing out. No name, no service. I'm sure it was a great way to get some hoots out of the doldrums of the daily slushpile for an "Important" lit mag. It's kind of cool they wanted readers to decide, and included an email address for voting (I'm sure that was great fun back in 2003.) But, I don't think I ever want to submit to McSweeney's again. The whole thing struck me as making a mockery of people who work really hard at the business of writing -- AND, to not piss off editors. Apparently some editors will blow some people off while wasting time on one of life's dumbasses? That's what I get out of that.

Maybe I'm being petty. But hey, this is my petty blog where I can rant!



Blogger Maktaaq said...

Please do rant.

Yes, I can see why this editor sucked in 2003 and probbaly still sucks to this day.

Actually they've proven that people sober up immediately when faced with an emergency. So they should not be able to use drunkeness as excuses...

Not that this was an emergency. But, damn, I've been drunk lots of times, and the times I've been so drunk I have no recollection of what happened - I know for certain that I wasn't writing short stories.

Unless I, too, was a drunk, stupid college student jackass.

9:28 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Yeah, seriously, man! Not only is it hard to accept this guy was that obliterated and wrote it, but hell, I used to make being obliterated my one and only goal at times, and I sure as hell wasn't writing some short story that I couldn't remember. From my own personal experience, when you're that obliterated you're usually off breaking something or vomiting or chewing the leg of a barstool or something.

The editor did write something funny back about that, "Unless you wrote the story in some sort of fugue state, dissociative disorder or whatnot, which could raise a lot of interesting questions about the true nature of authorship, but perhaps that is not the matter at hand." Okay, yes, that is funny. But still I resent that this guy took this much time to deal with said drunken poseur writer. Grrrr.... ;)

Okay, now I'm beginning to get through my thick head, well, ok, the editor was toying with the jackass. It still doesn't make me feel better!

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has to be bullshit, I mean the guy sounds like a jerk AND a phony, speaking as someone who spent many years obliterated.

First of all, you remember all the stuff you do when you're hammered, you just pretend you don't (and it sometimes takes a couple of days and you get the details and sequence all wrong).

Secondly, if his friend DIDN'T read it, why in the hell did he send it in? It could have been a laundry list or a drunken love letter.

I think this is just those waycool McSweeney's folks having some hipster fun.

Btw -- I hate McSweeney's because I think that David Eggers is a fraud and the name irks the shit out of me. About as genuine as one of those "Irish / Mexican " pubs, Tequila O'Reilleys or whatever.

But I love your blog.

And I like posting comments, I can just rant! rant! rant! To hell with spelling, grammar AND manners!

like this fellowBrian

11:25 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Hey Brian - yeah, it's true, it could be that I'm taking it all too literally and maybe it's not that literal. I dunno. Maybe it is just a joke... and yeah that waycool McSweeney's hipsterism, those bastards! HA!

Actually, I do have to beg to dif, because back when I drank I would black out, and truly remember nothing (even though I would function in a way that only certain people could tell whether I was out of my mind or not -- sometimes I supposedly functioned quite well that way). But I seriously was NOT writing anything for Christ's sake.

Oh well, even if it is a joke, and waycool hipster fun, and I know you will agree with me on this -- it's still kind of mean spirited on many levels. Again, like I said, they were too high and mighty to slap a rejection notice in the mail or through email but have time to either entertain this correspondence or cook the whole thing up? Bastards!

Thanks for ranting along. :)

11:33 PM  
Blogger Hebdomeros said...

That's the only issue of McSweeney's I've ever bought (there is some good stuff in it...just wait for the story about the couple stealing a squid from a museum). I do remember that letter, and I'm pretty sure it's fake. I just started reading the Non-Required Reading 2004, also edited by Eggers, and the intro is filled with what look like fake letters, or at least letters trying way hard to be wacky. Letters from dogs, letters asking bizarre questions like "what will this book do for korea", etc, etc.

Eggers, I think, likes to walk a fine line between reality and fiction. I vaguely remember some sort of controversy about some people in his "memoir" feeling they were misrepresented, and that he wrote things that never happened.

I do feel your frustration, though. Keep the rants coming!

8:26 AM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Hey Hebdomeros,

Thanks. That's interesting you've read this one, at least we can converse about it! :)

I guess if I had known more about Eggers I might have "gotten" the joke. But really, my biggest exposure to McSweeney's was the "The Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales," and of course, that's not really a good example of what they do, given the subject matter.

I can totally dig the preposterous questions from dogs, etc. And truly, I'm so down with the whole idea of blurred reality and all that. I guess this one just hit close to home, given the fact that my submission never got a response. However, it felt good to get that rant off my chest, it sure did. ;)

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