I got very interested in the flap over The Onion calling Quvenzhane Wallis "a cunt" in an unfortunate tweet. notodette and milk_and_glass both wrote good responses to this incident on their non-LJ blogs, and so did Wired.
Speaking as a comedian, The Onion was right to make that Tweet. They pushed the boundaries of comedy, and that’s their job. And when you’re pushing the bounds of comedy, sometimes you score big and sometimes the patient dies. This time, they stepped too far. Then they took it down, apologized promptly (and without that bullshit, “if anyone was offended” phrasing) and got back down to making more comedy. But comedians have to be willing to take chances and fail if they’re going to be good. Better to fail big than succeed a little. This also does Wallis a favor in the long run—her profile’s been raised and more people know who she is. Now it's her job to stay classy and amazing (which is not a stretch for her by any means), and keep doing her work while The Onion does theirs.
For my money, Seth McFarlane’s hosting was a far more insidious case of overstepping the comedy bounds—when I show up to watch Family Guy, yes, I’m there to watch transgressive humor, let’s push the edges on race-baiting and woman-bashing and going where we “shouldn’t” go, being “too soon.” But the combination of the wrong occasion for his comedy with a television audience that largely wasn’t in on the joke, and he bombed bigger than he needed to. He failed for the same reason The Onion did, and as Maureen Ryan ably pointed out in The Huffington Post—it’s funny when you take down people in power. It’s not funny to pick on the powerless.
Sent in a pitch to Definitely Not The Opera on ‘food’ (the Fornetti story), it was not picked up so I put it on LJ instead. And I responded to a Craigslist ad for a freelancer to write a business plan but they were looking for someone to write on commission. Um, no thank you.
Contacted Snap Judgment, a pretty cool radio show on NPR, and asked about being on the freelancers’ list, and they have added me. Haven’t heard anything yet, so I may need to just start pitching to their website.
OPPORTUNITY OF THE WEEK
The Lascaux Flash contest is up again this year! Deadline is March 20, and this time they will be interspersing the entries with words of writing advice from accomplished writers. If you’re a flash fiction person in general, Marie Alexander is taking literary flash fiction sequences until June 1—a good way to get your foot in the door of a small but respected publishing house. They have a terrific website that includes a downloadable PDF of sample material from work they’ve published, an easy way to figure out what they're looking for.
ME ME ME ME ME: THIS WEEK’S SUBMISSION(S)
While I was being up-too-late-on-the-internet-again, I found a no-fee contest on The Kenyon Review that was taking short fiction, and the deadline was in 15 minutes!
They are a noted American literary magazine, and getting something in would be great for the resume. It’s also rare to find no-fee contests.
I copy-pasted the shit out of the entry process and got in under the wire, They also have a writer’s conference that sounds wonderful and that fits my dates, so I’m going to apply to that, too.
A short-short story, Tara, that I originally wrote for the second week of LJ Idol. She’s shown up a few times since, and I suspect she’ll be a book at some point.
And then I hit ‘send’. WHICH IS LIKE DRIVING TWO AND A HALF HOURS TO MEET YOUR INTERNET FRIEND AND PRE-COMMITTING TO DINNER, DARLENA PLEASE DON’T SECRETLY HATE ME.
LINK OF THE WEEK
Here’s a fascinating article about structure and using the writer as a character in non-fiction, centering on how Rebecca Skloot built her smash non-fiction book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
“The other thing I knew was that I wanted my book to read like a novel but be entirely true. That to me is the definition of Creative Nonfiction. So instead of reading nonfiction books as models, I turned to fiction. As soon as I realized I had to structure the book in a disjointed way, I went to a local bookseller, explained the story to her and said, Find me any novel you can find that takes place in multiple time periods, with multiple characters and voices, and jumps around a lot.”
What are you writing right now?