In 2003, the BBC reported that a population explosion of Great Gerbils
had destroyed more than 4 million hectares of grasslands in China's north-western Xinjiang region
-- an area about the size of Switzerland. By 2005 the damage covered 5
million hectares, and the Xinjuang Regional Headquarters for Controlling Locusts and Rodents were reported to be breeding and attracting pairs of golden eagles to curb the gerbil population. So McSweeney's Joshuah Bearman was assigned to the story. His report: An Investigation Into Xinjiang's Growing Swarm of Great Gerbils, Which May or May Not be Locked in a Death-Struggle With the Golden Eagle, With Important Parallels and/or Implications Regarding Koala Bears, The Pied Piper, Spongmonkeys, Cane Toads, Black Death, [and] Text-Messaging.
posted by zarq
on Sep 18, 2012 -
"In the space of My Darkest Year, in no particular order, these things happened. My younger son died. My marriage ended. A rabbi and renowned jazz musician whom I’d only met once performed my son’s funeral. People applauded. I fell in love with a blond poet suffering from PTSD. It didn’t work out. My divorce was granted. The only Jewish funeral director in town admitted to me, unbidden, that her life’s passion is improv comedy. My ex-husband threatened my boyfriend’s balls via Facebook. I fled—and sold—my dream house. My older son lost his first tooth and entered kindergarten. I performed stand-up comedy. People applauded. I fell in love again. I realized I’m not afraid of anything."
Michelle Mirsky's column No Fear of Flying: Kamikaze Missions in Sex, Death, and Comedy
won the 2011 McSweeney's Column Contest. It's funny, aching, gutsy, and heartwrenching.
posted by sixswitch
on May 14, 2012 -
is a 24-year-old software writer and escort from Toronto, Ontario. She was born in Hamilton, Ontario and lived in Dublin, Ireland for many years. She likes cash, properly compiled HTML and four star or higher hotels. She dislikes claims of latex allergies. [more inside]
posted by clearly
on Dec 23, 2010 -
Lynsey G. has taken odd writing jobs where she could get them for a few years now, and one day woke up to realize that they were all about sex. [more inside]
posted by minifigs
on Dec 22, 2009 -
Small is Beautiful - The best new journals.
(via Guardian / Observer
) selected by Stephanie Merritt
. "Published out of tiny offices or even editors' apartments, funded by grants, donations or founders' savings, distributed by direct subscription or in selected independent bookshops, paying contributors little or nothing at all, these magazines have nevertheless attracted such eminent writers as to give them an international reputation far beyond their limited circulation."
posted by adamvasco
on Dec 30, 2007 -
Movie Store "Who's on First."
CUSTOMER: Why can't I rent Seven?
CASHIER: Because it's over the limit.
CUSTOMER: Right, but I want Seven. Get rid of Ten.
CASHIER: (Pause.) That would leave negative three.
posted by adrober
on Mar 4, 2005 -
What's a pirate's favorite aspect of computational linguistics?
Happy Talk Like a Pirate day, me hearties!
posted by louigi
on Sep 19, 2004 -
Pros & Cons of Kerry's Veep Choices
14. Ann Coulter
Flattering position would silence her exposing of the true evil liberal agenda
Is composed entirely of spiders and deadly snakes writhing beneath a latex "skin."
Courtesy of McSweeneys
posted by leotrotsky
on May 30, 2004 -
When is violence justified?
I am now the proud owner of one of 3,500 copies of William T. Vollmann's
3,299-page study of violence, Rising Up and Rising Down
, published by McSweeney's
. The book (if you can call something that's seven volumes a "book") has gotten mixed reviews that lean toward positive: Scott McLemee, writing in the New York Times Book Review
(reg. req.), called it a "flood of logorrhea
," while Steven Moore (a literary critic notable for his work on another long-winded writer, William Gaddis
) wrote in the Washington Post
that it is an "achievement beyond the realm of mere mortals," comparing it to Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough
This oral history
tells the story behind how the book came to be published at McSweeney's, and is an interesting look at what needs to happen for a difficult-to-market work to make its way from its author to the general reading public, in a publishing industry that's unfriendly to this kind of thing, to say the least.
posted by Prospero
on Mar 12, 2004 -
Kafka at Camp: The Lost Diaries
July 10,1897—In Arts and Crafts, that humid hut, the teacher stops. He looks down. I look up. I am working on something intricate, something simultaneously nothing and everything. It is made of paper.
"I always wanted you to admire my origami," I say.
"I do. I do admire it."
"Well, you shouldn't," I say.
"You're a weird little dude, Franzie."
posted by GriffX
on Oct 14, 2003 -
Lost Disney Memo Found.
McSweeney's posts a posthumously uncovered memo from the Disney board to Walt regarding his initial plans for a radically different "Disney-Land."
posted by jonson
on Feb 20, 2003 -
Journal of a new COBRA recruit.
"I report to COBRA boot camp out in Utah in the middle of June. The recruiter guy said that everyone around there thinks it's where some crazy old Mormon lives with all his wives. I'm not supposed to say anything about it to anyone. I'm supposed to tell Mom and Dad that I'm going off to work for the phone company."
posted by owillis
on Nov 1, 2002 -
Is McSweeney's Sounding More And More Like Random House?
Or is it just me? As a lifetime subscriber and fan of David Eggers, I'm sickened by the glib, shameless commercialism that now contaminates what was once an interesting website for new writers. What in the hell has happened? Or is the new book-peddling climate just another tiresome take on post-post-post modernism or, more likely, just blatant PR?
(Latest example inside)
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Oct 29, 2001 -
-- Dave Eggers wants to expose the process, "By reprinting your correspondence to me I hope to illuminate the journalist's mind: how a writer starts by telling me he is a fan of my work, supports my company's endeavors, etc, then writes a snippety little thing full of sneering and suspicion." so he's posted ALL of the email correspondance he had with david kirkpatrick before this unflattering piece
was printed... and after.
"I think it's important that our exchange be published. It's the only remedy commensurate with the impact you enjoyed with your original piece. I want your friends and family to see it, and to say 'David, ew.'"
Meanspirited all around, but can you blame him?
posted by palegirl
on Feb 22, 2001 -
suspends lifetime subscriptions. Sure hope mine got in under the wire.
posted by luke
on May 12, 2000 -
is back to normal, rather abruptly. Okay, I give; what was supposed to be funny about this whole thing, anyway?
posted by mrmorgan
on Apr 11, 2000 -