Thursday, February 26, 2009

Even the Symbol is Dumb

All I've got to say to The (&) is this: #%$^&*!   Seriously, "Dear Person: It's not you. It's us." If this is what you came up with for a good rejection, then yes, by all means, please do move along.  (?!)

73 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this for real?

Stupid. Be glad you're not in that thing.

B said...

I feel this surge of (vicarious) embarrassment when I read it. That takes the cake in dorkiness; the sad thing is that they were really trying hard to be cute and funny and probably think that they succeeded.

Their submissions guidelines are just as bad:

"We are looking for creative work, but only good creative work. Give us God, give us god, give us man, give us people & make us laugh. If you can make us cry, do so, if you want to lament loss of pets & family, do not. We enjoy smiling & the bizarre sensation of the rabble-rouse. We want to feel, & we want to want, & we don’t want Cheap Trick jokes inserted here, unless they are awesome. We are strict & unbiased; we value aesthetic above morality; we want to read a good piece as much as our readers, so write one before submitting."

This saying comes to my mind: It is better to keep you mouth closed and let people think that you are stupid, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Oh man, thanks for this post.

so much cake so little time said...

i really don't want to believe that's the real letter. the (&) sounds like one of those douchey people who refers to himself in the third person.

John said...

The ampersand is on my "do not submit" list, which (all things considered) you have to work pretty hard to get onto for any writer trying to make it. I believe they got there because I used some similar construction to "you have to work pretty hard to . . ." in a story, and the editor complained that nobody wanted to read second-person narratives. I asked if this applied to "Call me Ishmael." (You folks know me by now and understand my state of mind here.) The editor lost it, accused me of saying my story is as as good as Moby Dick, accused me of getting attitude with an editor, and explained that we're long past Moby Dick and part of my problem was that I didn't recognize this. By the way, "don't submit again."

Sounds like & is a piece of work. There is a non-trivial number of places where the clueless get their jollies from bullying the unsuspecting.

Anonymous said...

I think my high school lit journal used a rejection like this. At 16, it's cutesy. In the real world, it's obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

yeah, ditto anon 1. look at the website, that color scheme alone...

this is a rejection that affirms you are doing something correct. you should be more upset if you get an acceptance.

CAPS MAN! said...

WE NEED A BIT MORE INFORMATION ON THIS SLIP OF GARBAGE BEFORE WE CAN COMMENT FULLY AND WITH GUSTO. IS THIS A ZINE OR A PRINT JOURNAL OR JUST ANOTHER FLASH IN THE PAN. PLEASE CLARIFY W, R.

John said...

It's a non-paying e-zine whose home page calls it "The Greatest Literary Project of All Time". Flash in the pan probably covers it, but it's worth recognizing that once you've been rejected by AGNI, there's a pretty drastic dropoff in quality of markets out there.

Anonymous said...

jesus fuck CAPS MAN. every commenter here has done the homework to find out what the journal is. lrod is not a place for hand holding. but here's hint, go to duotrope.com to look it up for your self.

i kid, i love you.

B said...

They have God as one of their editors. Maybe God penned the rejections. The website and some of the content is so bad it's actually funny now that I look it over. Perhaps the whole & enterprise is some kind of meta-joke. Ah the hidden treasures of duotrope.

I'm supposed to be working, but I want to sent something to them today so I can get a crazy-ass rejection too.

John said...

Heck, send them one of Steinbeck's Red Pony stories, or Bartleby, and see what & says.

Anonymous said...

But what if they didn't reject your work B? Then you'd have to live with being published by the &

John said...

Well, in the spirit of the rejection letter, just reply and say you thought it was going to work, but you reflected on it, and decided it wouldn't work after all, so & should just be big about it.

NM said...

Yeah, replying to rejection letters and trying to score jejune points (Moby Dick? Really?) is something all the great writers do.

Oh wait, that's not true at all.

CAPS MAN! said...

I FEEL SUDDENLY INESCAPABLY SAD THINKING OF A LITTLE JOURNAL SENDING OUT A REJECTION LETTER AND THEN GETTING MOCKED I MEAN LET'S FACE IT PEOPLE, MONEY IS TIGHT, SO WHY BASH UP ON THE MINNESOTA REVIEW? (ALTHOUGH THIS ONE FROM WHATEVER THE F*** IT IS CALLED IS A LITTLE LOW BROW). STILL, I JUST GOT HOME TO A REJECTION LETTER FROM A SMALL JOURNAL THAT WAS A ONE LINER, A BAD PHOTOCOPY, AND MY HEART BROKE, NOT FOR ME, BUT FOR THEM. LET THE SCUFFLE COMMENCE. THANK YOU AND KEEP UP THE HARD WORK.

Quality said...

After AGNI there's a pretty drastic drop-off? Uh, there are a lot of good markets out there, a lot. You have at least a hundred before you start getting to dodgy territory, and you have at least five hundred before you get to crapville like The &.

John said...

CAPS MAN!, money is tight?? So why did you spend a fiver, including stationery, SASE, postage, and ink, with a postal sub to the idiot small journal? 50 postal subs is $250, which most will never get back. You'll feel better paying the same amount to a scam agent. . .

The $ Review said...

John shut up, you don't know what anybody did or paid.

But CAPS MAN, I think you sense of sympathy is misplaced. These guys have made the choice to spend their free time putting out a 'magazine' and they control the public face of their magazine--the website, the sub guidelines, the rejection letters, everything is in their hands. They could have put on a more professional face so that people would take them seriously. They did not, and now people are laughing at them.

Anonymous said...

"John shut up, you don't know what anybody did or paid."

He has a valid point.

$5 is about the average cost of a postal submission. 50 postal submissions is already $250. It does add up. Why do you think MFA programs allot money for making submissions?

The $ Review said...

$5 is not the average cost of a postal sub. and 50 postal subs is a high figure, especially considering that many high quality journals take online submissions. the few that do charge for electronic subs only charge $2-3. of course, i am not counting narrative or contests.

i would say at most 30 postal subs a year with an average cost of $3 (postage, envelope, paper, ink, if you have a day job, you can get a lot of it for 'free' from work). anyways that's $90.

Anonymous said...

"$5 is not the average cost of a postal sub."

My breakdown: 1 manila envelope, 1 #10 envelope, 25 folios copy paper, 1 20lb bond letterhead, toner, mailing label, return address stamp, $.42 stamp, $1.50 postage. That would come out to $1.92 in postage plus "supplies" which let's say cost a dollar and eight cents. And that's $3. You are absolutely correct.


"50 postal subs is a high figure, especially considering that many high quality journals take online submissions."

I think it depends. I agree that it could be a high figure, depending on what you're aiming for but a *lot* of commercial/quality mags are still only postal. It depends on how ambitious the writer is, I think. What is it now, a story has 20 submissions on average before it finds a home? And that's a figure from the Establishment, I think a popular MFAer said that. If you're going for speed you'll have a single story out at 30-40 mags at once. I wouldn't be surprised if half of them were paper subs. Let's say even a third are paper, that's about 12 submissions. Now say you have 4 stories to place: that's nearly 50 postal subs right there. I think it can happen. It all depends.


"the few that do charge for electronic subs only charge $2-3."

I don't care if it's a penny, I'll never submit to them. Never. American Short Fiction, formerly good, is lame and deserves zero support for their recent move of charging for digital submissions. They are fakers and disgusting and are not interested about literature, or American short fiction, at all. They're only interested in playn' the academic Game. Screw Them.

Hennyways...


"of course, i am not counting narrative"

Right on! No one should. Shame on the "name" writers who support that thing.


"i would say at most 30 postal subs a year"

I don't know about that. Depends on how active and ambitious you are. I know a writer (ahem) who had ten times that many postal subs last year. One percent acceptance rate. Sad.

John said...

25 page sub, not unreasonable. Paper, .26 including cover letter. Postage, 1.55 or so. Clasp envelope .50 SASE .43 (now) plus .10. Ink 1.75. Paper clip .05. Very close to 5.00, I've figued it out.

You sub as much as you please, but 5 per week for postal subs is reasonable; check any source, nearly all the prestige markets are postal subs only, except for a few like Glimmer Train or AGNI.

If you get any of this "free" from work, you're risking termination for cause, not a good idea in this economy, especially for the amounts.

NM said...

It doesn't cost $1.25 of ink to print out a 25 page short story, nor are paper clips five cents a pop (nor are they necessary, actually).

Keep chanting "five bucks per, five bucks per" though...whatever keeps you out of the slushpiles is fine with me.

John said...

35.00 for a cartridge, which will print 500 pages = .07 per page. Times 25 is 1.75, though I forgot about the cover letter, so it's actually 1.82.

Naturally your results may vary, but not by much, I suspect. Same with paper clips. Not sure where you're submitting if you don't use one. I have a feeling that some comments are coming from people who don't really submit, or it they do, don't have a very clear idea of what it's costing them. Do the math. But I'm not going to argue very hard on this point. If you don't want to think about what things cost, there's no way I can convince you they do.

NM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NM said...

My ink toner (for an Epson Stylus C88) costs $17.50 and gets me about 800 pages. And my Epson is hardly a high-level or even current printer.

No need for paper clips on a submission, but what do I know, right? I've only published fifty short stories and edited three anthologies. Just put the pages in an big envelope (no need for a clasp envelope, I usually get plain white ones at the dollar store, six for a pop) along with a SASE. SASEs are about a half-penny each.

Like I said, keep chanting your excuses. Or, if you're actually serious about writing rather than simply collecting publications from webzines that'll publish anyone and give you nothing in exchange, at least learn how to shop for a bargain.

John said...

Your profile looks like you're one of a bunch of MFAs who run some kind of MFA blog, so I'm wondering where you're coming from here. No doubt if you grease the skids, an academic literary journal will take a submission without a paperclip -- in fact, it will probably take something boring and poorly written, provided it's from a homeboy or girl.

But if you've published 50 short stories, I'm not at all sure why you're so reluctant to identify yourself, unless all this publication comes from mutual I'll-run-your-story-if-you'll-run-mine, and any actual real-world interaction with anyone might upset that nice little racket. You can find my stuff; not sure why I can't find yours. Are you afraid that we'll think it's typical MFA drivel, subsidized by the families of the rich wannabe writers who take your classes? I'm not sure why anyone should believe anything you say if it can't be verified.

Check duotrope, by the way; the zines don't accept anyone, and some pay. Most of the postal sub journals don't, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

This was actually my rejection "letter." I'm not exactly pleased to have received it nor have it mocked, but when you're a struggling writer, who has a high opinion of oneself-- and is still unpublished even by the smaller non-paying online publishers--it's still a little disheartening.

NM said...

John,

I actually admire you, a bit, for being the only person (other than myself) ready to link to something that leads to a name. I've made no secret of who I am, and my name has already been revealed on another thread. My name is Nick Mamatas. I decided to get an MFA after selling thirty stories and a novel (why not get a degree in what you are already doing?). My blogger is is NM because my old one (Mamatas) was tied to an old email address to which I no longer have access.

If you can't find my stuff, it may be because you are even dumber than the anonymonkeys who managed to *gasp* click three whole times to find my name!

Or, maybe, as you used the term "homeboy" did read that thread, do know my name, and can only flail about rich kids MFA programs because don't know how to think. (Say, how did you get into Dartmouth? Did your papa attend as well?) Indeed, even if I were published in your little magazines, that wouldn't invalidate the pure FACT that the math you spew is wrong:

You don't have to pay $30 for an ink cartridge, or a nickel a pop for a paper clip. And you can certainly verify, even with your primitive bonobo brain, the cost of toner cartridge from the printer I named.

I know that in the land of the moron, the ten-braincell man is king, but you're dealing with an actual human being now, Johnny boy. You'll have to come up with some new material for your spam-campaign to increase the hits.

I know all about paying webzines: I used to co-edit one (10 cents a word, no form rejections...gee, didn't see your name in the slush pile ever) and my fiction has appeared in a number of them over the years (Strange Horizons, Speculon, Son & Foe, ChiZine, Lenox Ave, Fortean Bureau, Apex Online, etc etc.)

On your homepage, however, I can only find one link to a webzine that pays -- A Long Story Short -- and it only pays for a single story a month.

So, you know, here's another tip for you (the first was to buy cheaper ink); if you're going to lecture someone on a topic like, say, paying webzines, show some skin in the game first.

Jesus Chrysler's Mini-Van said...

Hey Nick:

John is a broken record, as are many of the anonymi. You'll hear "duotrope" and "webzines" until your ears start bleeding. You'll be accused of being part of the MFA cabal, etc., etc., etc. I come here to take the occasional peek at lunacy and paranoia, but one bit of advice: Don't expect to reason with these folks. Whatever you say, there will be an inane answer. And, God forbid, if you're affiliated with a university or have actually published a book, you might as well start letting them pound nails through your palms and feet. But it's always nice to see someone try to reason with the unreasonable. I used to; I finally gave up.

NM said...

Oh, I'm not reasoning with them, just flaunting my superiority and needling them for their casual racism.

I have some free time this week, after all.

John said...

Nick, thanks for the name. I did go to your Wikipedia entry, which provided some interesting info. While I don't really get a whole lot of fun out of MFA-bashing, what I found was that you seem proud of having written term papers for a paper mill. So, having done your little bit to subvert academic integrity, you decide to go a head and -- wait for it -- get another academic degree!! The cynicism here is astonishing.

You're also, as far as I can make out, a genre writer, so complaining that I'm not making enough money out of literary submissions is a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

Where, by the way, is racism?

NM said...

The cynicism here is astonishing.

So, are you going to acknowledge that it doesn't cost $5 to mail out a submission? Or will the cynicism remain astonishing. As far as papers go, writers write, always. Losers shuck and jive. Which are you? (Hint, I see you making excuses for not writing.)

You're also, as far as I can make out, a genre writer, so complaining that I'm not making enough money out of literary submissions is a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

Eh, there are plenty of paying literary markets. I published in one last month (subTERRAIN) and will be published in one next month (Per Contra). I've also had my work appear in magazines that run both realist and fantastical pieces (Razor, now defunct; Polyphony, etc.) I haven't noticed any differences, really, between the genre and literary markets...well, not as someone who knows how to write anyway. How about you, Freebie-Joe? 257 markets on Duotrope come up when one selects "Literary" (which, incidentally, is a nonsense phrase) and "Token Payment and Up."

How many of those markets have you published with? List them, please. None of the venues I checked on your website pay -- all of them seem to recite, like a prayer, that they wish they could pay but they cannot.

Where, by the way, is racism?

As you are a longtime contributor to the Dartmouth Review, a right-wing student paper, it is no surprise to me that you have no idea that sneering at black writers or even international settings in stories and insisting that their publication is the result simply of a "diversity" ideology is racist. That is when the overriding assumption is that such writers and such settings are published only or primarily because the author is a member of a racial minority or because the text features a foreign setting -- that is very straightforward racism. This comment thread is a recent example. One of the anonytards even realizes that whining about "diversity" is just racism with a bow on it, but quickly sees which way the wind blows around here and recants.

John said...

I don't understand. You identify yourself on your site as a Greek-American, so I'm certainly not aiming any sort of insult at you for being non-anglo or something. A homeboy is a gang member, but that applies to a gang member of any race, as far as I can see.

I've written for The Dartmouth Review, but I made it plain to them from the start that I'm not a conservative (most of the articles were at their request). But it's sorta-kinda in the gutter (and certainly incorrect) to suggest that conservative equals racist anyhow. What we have, as far as I can see here, is a white guy hiding behind the race card. Huh? Why can't you just stand behind the merit of your 50-odd pubs and leave it at that?

NM said...

No, actually a "homeboy" isn't a gang member. It's a slang word for a friend from the neighborhood, specifically inner city neighborhoods, and generally doesn't refer to someone of any race. It certainly doesn't refer to someone of any race when one is sneering at a Latino and using the term with contempt.

You don't know what you're talking about, John. Funny though, that you think "homeboy" means "gang member." After all, the word so often comes out of the mouths of blacks and Latinos, right...? What an easy mistake to make!

And hahaha, "race card." Tell me another one. Of course you're a conserative! Nobody else is shameless enough, or foolish enough, to complain about someone playing the "race card" these days.

It's very simple: if someone says that Monica Ali and Zadie Smith are only being published because of their race and location, that's racist. Ditto sneering about the "homeboys" that Yunior in Oscar Wao may as well be hanging out with because the novel isn't all about writing essays and sleeping in a dorm room. It has nothing to do with my being Greek, and it's not a "race card" (another empty bugaboo of the right, along with "political correctness.")

I understand that you and the folks here are used to various privileges. After all, in the workplace your subordinates are paid to pretend that any contradictory or foolish things you say make perfect sense. At home, your families are likely well-cowed; even if they disagree they have learned to tune you out while looking supportive.

And then you hit, horror of horrors, the slushpile! You're not being treated unfairly when you're summarily rejected with a form -- that simply means that your stories were inadequate. When you do get published in ninth-tier freebie webzines, that simply means that you have found your level: publication by similarly inadequate editors.

There's no conspiracy, no race quotas, nothing like that. It's not that you're being treated unfairly in the slush. Indeed, for the first time in your adult life John, you and the anonydopes here ARE being treated fairly, instead of being catered to as you are elsewhere in your lives.

John, I am going to have to insist that you respond to my comments only before your three-gimlet breakfast. Is it really so difficult to understand that when I point to a thread about black and Asian authors from the UK, I'm not talking about Greek-Americans?

I thought the Ivy League instilled in its graduates the ability to keep track of a conversation at the very least. Guess not. Tell me, what was the going rate for a ghostwritten model term paper back in the 60s?

gimme said...

Nick, here's something you might want to consider: joyfully trashing someone like John does not, in fact, make you look superior. It simply makes you look like an even bigger, more arrogant asshead than anyone else here.

Do you feel the slightest bit dirty? You oughtta. You're down in the muck with the blog worms now, raving about your credits, shamelessly trumpeting your own meager achievements and putting down everyone else who dares to disagree with you.

Weak, homeboy. Weak.

ryan call said...

i dont mean to interrupt the conversation here, but i wanted to quickly respond to the 3:15 anon from 2/27.

i wanted to suggest that ASF is not 'lame and deserves zero support for their recent move of charging for digital submissions. They are fakers and disgusting and are not interested about literature, or American short fiction, at all. They're only interested in playn' the academic Game.'

if you havent, check out their publisher: badgerdog press,

Badgerdog

...which appears to be a nonprofit that does a lot of community service, organizes education programs, summer camps, etc, in austin, all of which sounds pretty good to me? i realize that ASF is not doing these things and this drifts a bit further away from the lit mag conversation/submissions cost, but i wanted to suggest that the connection between ASF and badgerdog is meaningful.

i dont know much about the ASF budget, but that submissions manager costs between $330 and $660 (i think); that minor cost indirectly affects badgerdog's financial situation and, however indirectly, their ability to run those other programs. so trying to balance the books here for a nonprofit is pretty important, i guess, and every dollar might make a difference: its a few hundred bucks...likewise, the manager (supposedy) helps the small staff to manage the amount of administrative stuff they have to deal with...

i guess my point is that if/when you do submit to asf, think about the bigger context? i honestly dont think asf is lame or only interested in the academic game and a bunch of fakers, etc. if you dont want to pay that $3, no worries, but i think they do deserve some support, because that support might indirectly help badgerdog with its community outreach. that's how i like to think of it, anyhow. maybe this is an innocent sort of perspective, but yeah. my opinion. cheers.

Anonymous said...

"No, actually a 'homeboy' isn't a gang member. It's a slang word for a friend from the neighborhood, specifically inner city neighborhoods, and generally doesn't refer to someone of any race. It certainly doesn't refer to someone of any race when one is sneering at a Latino and using the term with contempt."
Can anybody make sense of that last sentence of NM's?

NM does exactly what racists do: he categorizes, arrives at inclusive (and baseless) conclusions. He labeled me a racist because of my single use of the word "homeboy" (which, in context, I only used because the character in Oscar Wao, Junior, constantly uses it).
Maybe NM has telepathic powers and was able to see me sneering as I wrote "homeboy," secure in my all-white gated subdivision. He accused me of being the type of person who would move immediately from a neighborhood if a black family moved in; on the basis of what? That word I used: "homeboy."
He knows absolutely nothing about me. Not my race, ethnicity, religion, sex -- nothing.
Btw, why does NM constantly use the spelling "Yunior" -- when Diaz, in the novel, spells it "Junior"? Did he read it in the English or the Spanish version? Que es ello, NM?

And it's called creating a "sense of place" -- one of the jobs of a good writer. In the opening chapters of The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger put forth the effort to create, for the reader, the feel of what it's like going to school at Pencey Prep. Not that Salinger is writing about Pencey Prep -- he isn't. But it's where Holden exists as the book opens, so he accounts for it.
But . . . You can't talk to a brick wall. I should know this. So, why, Dr. Fraud, am I spending time talking to this brick wall called NM?

John said...

NM, your 2:12 post is, as far as I can see, pretty much incoherent. Could you be more specific about what you want me to respond to before my three-gimlet breakfast? (Actually, as far as Dartmouth was concerned, I flew coach and got in via hard work, grades, test scores, and extracurriculars. My dad was a CUNY dropout. Whatever you may have done in your academic life, you presumably didn't have the jism to get into an Ivy on your own merit.)

Tattoo U. said...

"Whatever you may have done in your academic life, you presumably didn't have the jism to get into an Ivy on your own merit."

Your true colors are showing, John. This is just elitist crap. I work with a bunch of Ivy League grads, and it's the only thing they cling to (and, seemingly, the only thing they jizz over). Get over yourself.

CAPS MAN! said...

CASE CLOSED NM YOU HAVE LOST ANY STREET CRED YOU HAD FROM PUBLICATION WITH THIS UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS ON OUR FRIEND JOHN, WHO WE PREFER TO ROUGH UP ON IN A MORE CIVILIZED MANNER. BUT I THINK GIMME SAID IT BEST...YOU ARE NOT THANKED NM AND DO NOT KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

Writer, Rejected said...

All right. All right. Let's tone it down and use the nice words.

Jason Jordan said...

I only have positive things to say about my dealings with The (&). Granted, my first rejection wasn't phrased like the example. Still, their first issue is good. Their current color scheme hates my eyes, though.

John said...

I took a break to go to a funeral yesterday afternoon, and for anyone who thinks I'm a right-winger, it was at a gay Episcopal church where the celebrant was an Anglican bishop named Sergio Carranza, the rector was a gay Welshman, a Reform rabbi read the kadish, and a Rumanian Orthodox priest and UCC pastor were also involved.

But overnight I pondered what we get with NM: the guy is professionally involved in the lit biz as an editor, has 50 plus pubs including something like two novels, and thought processes that are somewhere between reprehensible and impenetrable. And an MFA. Poster child for what's wrong?

You Know Who Your Are said...

"But overnight I pondered what we get with NM: the guy is professionally involved in the lit biz as an editor, has 50 plus pubs including something like two novels, and thought processes that are somewhere between reprehensible and impenetrable. And an MFA. Poster child for what's wrong?"

I love the logical fallacy. I believe this one's called the SWEEPING GENERALIZATION. Oh, wait, they didn't teach you logical fallacies at your ivy league school?

John said...

What's the problem? This thread got started with a rejection note that is, let's face it, bizarre, and that's not the first one that's been cited here. Seems like we have data points that indicate that more than a few folks who are editors, either paid or vanity, aren't all there. There's such a thing as inductive reasoning: these might, after all, be little clues that there's a problem. No sweeping generalization needed. I taught logical fallacies in first-year comp a long time ago; "sweeping generalization", I fear, doesn't appear on this list, which seems pretty exhaustive.

I might point out that it was NM who raised the issue of my education, apparently by doing detailed research into my prior pubs, and then wanted to use it to say something bad about me. Fair game to set the record straight, it seems to me. Again, I'm puzzled at people (NM being the only exception) who want to stay anonymous but then criticize those who have the balls to say who they are for whatever they can find about them -- especially when a little checking on their own records would probably bring up stuff that's worse (like NM's ghostwriting term papers).

NM said...

Oh Gimme, here's something you may want to consider: you have no idea how entertaining this is to other people who have been watching since I decided to start posting. Use those clicking muscles and find out.

As far as the racist whiner, keep digging more holes, friend. (Funny that you seem to imply that only rich whites can be racist, despite you know...everything.) You're also rather obsessed with your school days, much like John.

John, you think conservatives only attend conservative funerals? I mean, is that really your evidence? Do you think it applies? You really do have a short-circuit somewhere, don't you?

CAPSMAN I LOVE YOU.

NM said...

Just to sum up this thread, John and Anonypus #876189724 are easily confused.

I point to a thread detailing a dismissal of Zadie Smith and other black authors in the UK, and John -- too full of "jism" to think, apparently -- decides that somehow I am referring to my own status as a Greek-American.

Of course, he is also too dumb, despite having taught first-year comp (ooh la la!) to have heard of the term "sweeping generalization", and dares to depend on Wikipedia as proof. Surely a real first-year comp instructor would know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (and that Wikipedia is notoriously unreliable). At any rate, some links to discussions of sweeping generalizations: one, two, three.

In order to find proof of something, one should actually look for it. *yawn*



Anonydope #8598436, another wannabe writer, cannot understand the following simple sentence: It certainly doesn't refer to someone of any race when one is sneering at a Latino and using the term with contempt.

To break that down (sorry, I thought this was a group of writers and readers), "it" refers to the word homeboy, as can be seen from the context given in the prior sentence.

Does "homeboy" refer to someone of any race in general? No. Does "homeboy" refer to someone of any race in the specific case of Yunior running with his homeboys? Clearly not.

What's so hard about that? Well, ultimately, we know. John and the Amazing Anonytones here don't know how to think and thus reading becomes very difficult for them. They start with their conclusions, and shuck and jive rather than prove and probe. Thus, dumbass discussions as we see on virtually every thread here, and when someone injects a fact or two then the whining really begins.

Anonydope #8598436, think on this: how much time does Salinger spend describing the mental hospital in which Holden recounts the events of the novel? Where are all the group showers, the awful food, the screaming, the nuts and people with retardation defecating on themselves? Hmm? Does that make the book dishonest, or does Salinger simply focus, as Diaz does, on other, more relevant things?

tommy gun said...

John: You have more unattractive characteristics than anyone else who posts here. One need look no further than your own attacks on people to wonder why you're so aggrieved when you're attacked.

Anonymous said...

"and for anyone who thinks I'm a right-winger"

I don't get it. Are only "left-wingers" allowed? And why should anyone apologize for his/her beliefs/positions/views/ideologies/thoughts?

Anonymous said...

"Oh, wait, they didn't teach you logical fallacies at your ivy league school?"

sounds pc to me

Anonymous said...

NM

"Junior is supposed to be in college and live in a dorm, but there is absolutely no sense of college life: no classes, no studying, no writing of papers, no talk about professors, no ambience of dorm life. Junior could be running the streets with the homeboys."

Nice racism, btw. You could be selling your house the second a black family moves on to your block.

The above comes directly from a comment you posted in response to mine; the quoted words are what I wrote. Your response follows.
Did you or did you not -- based on my words above -- accuse me of racism against blacks?
Your analogy is silly. Yunior (you never answered why you persist in spelling his name that way, when Diaz spells it Junior) is writing from another place further on in his life, and (of course!) I don't expect Junior to describe what he eats, what his bed is like in this place in the future.
Humbert is writing about Lolita from a prison cell. Does he include anything about prison life? Of course not -- that's not the world he's writing about. Humbert does capture the world of 342 Lawn Street, where he becomes a roomer after laying eyes on Lolita. We know that house, that neighborhood.
And you're going to teach people how to write?
You're still coming out with the insults. You seem unable to control yourself. I think it's time for Super Nanny.

John said...

Hey Tommy Gun, you don't know the half of it. But if I were Bukowski, I'd be groping your wife, and she'd enjoy it.

Topic Police said...

Before this discussion ran into the ditch, there was some interesting talk of whether it is appropriate to laugh at The (&), if we should pity them, or if they are not as bad as this rejection portrays.

I notice that they put out a print edition every once in a while, which suggests they are aiming for more prestige than the typical muck of freebie webzines. Okay, so they aren't total amateurs, admirable, but they are shooting themselves in the foot with the rejections and sub guidelines. It makes them seem like tards, even if they aren't really.

The quality of submissions a journal receives is only as high as the quality of the journal itself. (There is no minimum level of quality.) If they want better stuff coming into the slush pile, they need to attract it.

(Btw WR, while the flame war is somewhat entertaining, it get's old quickly. If you want people to follow the rules, you have to enforce them. Delete this nonsense from the comment queue; they'll catch on. I think more of your readers are like me and want to discuss something close to what the original posts are about. Not read this petty quote/misquote crap.)

NM said...


Did you or did you not -- based on my words above -- accuse me of racism against blacks?


It's called an analogy. You clearly find something terrifying about the idea of Yunior going to college without spending 200 pages in a muskrat coat fretting essay exams, and the alternative you've developed for him is running with his"homeboys." Of course, what Yunior is actually doing is telling the story of Oscar.

I call the character Yunior, btw, becuase that is his name. "On the real first day he'd been excited, kept calling me by my full name until I told him, It's Yunior, Oscar. Just Yunior." (p. 189) The characters, Oscar and others, call him Yunior. The character calls himself Yunior. That's why I call the character Yunior. Funny that your guess was that I read the Spanish translation, instead of, you know, the edition you apparently read without basic comprehension.


Humbert is writing about Lolita from a prison cell. Does he include anything about prison life? Of course not -- that's not the world he's writing about.


And likewise, Yunior is NOT writing about college life. Of course, you don't even notice that the character calls himself Yunior.

So too does Diaz, as in this interview: Yunior in the novel tries to transform Oscar into a Yunior Light but it is Oscar in the end who transforms Yunior into an Oscar Plus.

Not only am I going to teach writing, I have. I've presented my bona fides, and indeed Anonydope, so have you: you do not even notice a character's name. You don't know how analogies work. These are your bona fides; you are a bona fide semi-literate. Did you by any chance take a frosh comp course with a guy named John Bruce a few years ago?

Anonymous said...

I pity the students who get you.
Brick walls are always right.

NM said...

I pity the students who get you.
Brick walls are always right.


Anyone who doesn't think the character is named Yunior is invited to go to amazon.com and search inside the hardcover edition of Oscar Wao. Or the New York Times review, or the LA Times review, etc.

When I make a claim, I back it up with links. When the anonywannabes make a claim, they wait till they are shown to be wrong, then ignore the issues they brought up in the first place and just whine about how mean I am.

Well, get used to it. I will be here to introduce facts into these "discussions" quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

In all this mess -- going back to the Mass Rejection post -- I've been wondering what Professor Clements of the WestConn MFA in Professional Writing Program thinks of Nick Mamatas's comments.
I mean, "eat the lice off one another's hairy backs." Would I want my daughter to go to a school that has people who think like that? (Actually, I have no idea what he actually THINKS, and I don't want to know.)
This is relevant because when you click on NM you go directly to the WestConn blog. So what Nick writes here is a reflection on the school.
Professor?
Btw, my daughter has absolutely no interest in being a writer - Praise the Lord!!!

quescaisje said...

NM: Are you really a teacher? Were I a prospective student, and came across this blog, I would be quite frightened of you.

NM said...

No, I have taught writing. I do not currently teach writing.

And I never had any problem filling my classes (which weren't part of some core curriculum or college) either.

Something to think about: not everyone is you.

PS: I graduated from WestConn last May. I'm not sure what anyone might expect "Professor Clements" to do. Further, a blogger account isn't tied, really, to anything except the blogspots to which that account has posting rights. If I started frenchfriesandspaghetti.blogspot.com tomorrow, that would show up on my account too.

Learn to use the Internet. Kthnxbi!

Nicholas said...

quescaisje: I, too, would be afraid to take a class with a professor whose critical eye is so sharp as to actually notice the correct spelling of a protagonist's name.

Anonymous said...

Jeeze, big deal. So sorry I asked the question. Both spellings are used. If you went through the novel and counted how many times "Junior" was used and how many times "Yunior" was used, I'll bet Junior would win by a large margin.
In an interview that was printed in both English and Spanish (same interview) Junot says "I think in some ways Junior is a perfect foil for this, the same way that Oscar is a perfect foil for discussing Dominican international culture."
Spanish version: "Creo que, de alguna manera, Junior es el vehículo perfecto para esto, del mismo modo que Óscar es el vehículo perfecto para el análisis de la cultura dominicana internacional."
And in the La Bloga interview (you think they'd be careful to get it right) here's Diaz: "Junior is hopefully the biggest mystery of the book. . . Junior as the character and that’s the person that tells the college section and then there’s Junior’s narrative persona which is the watcher."
I'm sure Diaz was given the text of these interviews to look over before publication.
So, Nicholas, can't Diaz get the spelling of his own protagonist's name right?
Minor point. Never should have brought it up, because NM seems to think he's scored a big coup. Let him think whatever he wants. Let him think an accusation (a baseless one) is an "analogy." Whatever. Who cares. I'm done with this sordid episode in my life.

NM said...

Anonydope asked, more than one, why I dared spell the name Yunior. Then I was asked why I persisted in spelling it Yunior and refused to answer the question.

It was actually a kindness to gloss over the anon's obvious inability to either read or remember the book. But it continued to insist (who was looking for a coup?) so I answered the question.

Here's the takeaway: you are NOT experts. Do not POST what you do NOT KNOW.

quescaisje said...

"Something to think about: not everyone is you."

I speak only for myself, NM.

NM said...


I speak only for myself, NM.


Then it was more than a little silly to ask whether I was really a teacher based on your individual reaction to my comments, wasn't it?

quescaisje said...

"Then it was more than a little silly to ask whether I was really a teacher based on your individual reaction to my comments, wasn't it?"

Yeah, I guess so. You're still scary. So there!

Anonymous said...

Oh, good. NM / Nick is here to remind us of proper submission etiquette.

You see, he "taught writing." And he had "no problem filling [his] classes."

You'll find he's proficient not only with the Internet, but with a dictionary, too.

You'll also notice that he often doesn't fully understand what he reads, as evidenced by his comments. And no matter how clearly you explain to him that he has failed to understand--to grasp the actual subject at hand--he will continue to insist that he does understand, that we don't, that he's delivering facts.

Sit back and watch. Any time you want a laugh, just respond to a comment he's made--it's like poking a chained bear with a stick.

dorl raed said...

12:51

I have been sitting back and watching, and you're the trained bear that's being poked with a stick. Sorry, but that's the way I see it.

Anonymous said...

dorl raed...

of which anonymous do you speak?

Anonymous said...

"dorl raed...

of which anonymous do you speak?"

doesn't matter. the goof is wrong.

lrod is accomplishing something big and the attacks are only going to get meaner, nastier, more frequent. wouldn't be surprised if they try to shut this blog down. the academics are beginning to realize that their game might be over and they are desperate.

Anonymous said...

You're right, 12:51.
Example (still unresolved, so I keep at it, though this will be the last time):
My words: "Junior could be running the streets with the homeboys."
(Diaz uses "homeboys" about 7000 times in his book -- it's the word Junior/Yunior uses!)
NM's response to my words: "Nice racism, btw. You could be selling your house the second a black family moves on to your block."
I asked him if he had or had not accused me of racism (without knowing one damn thing about me).
His response: "It's called an analogy."
I know I'm an "anonodope" (as he characterizes us), but that is not an analogy.
Why isn't he man enough to admit that he made an accusation based on nothing? (One which is false, so it galls me.)
It's for the reason you give, 12:51: "And no matter how clearly you explain to him that he has failed to understand--to grasp the actual subject at hand--he will continue to insist that he does understand, that we don't, that he's delivering facts."
That's why I call him a brick wall.

Laff Fest said...

9:52 writes, "the academics are beginning to realize that their game might be over and they are desperate."

HaaaaaaaaHaaaaaaaaHaaaaaaaaa. I can't stop laughing. HaaaaaaaaaHaaaaaaaHaaaaaaaa. What delusional world do you live in? Clearly, you live in one where the LROD anonymi take over the world and set fire to universities. But, really: Whichever side you're on, you have to admit that the above quote is from someone who's lost touch with reality.

Anonymous said...

To 11:09:

He's notorious for doing what he's done here, i.e., the onslaught of comment field attacks, which he links to on his live journal, which in turn draws the sycophants who mistake his bluster for actual criticism into the fray.

He's invariably the loudest and longest lasting voice, and he loves cheap shots--calling posters "cowards," pointing out a typo as if that's evidence of anything more than a slip of the key, and other goads, like "anonydope." Schoolyard bully tactics--often quite effective, but also betraying his insecurity (about the value of his writing and editing). He encourages his sycophants to "update those scorecards" and they do, and they rush to tell him that it's hard to believe anyone would see things any way but his, and that those who criticize him are just jealous.

Or that they can't take a joke.

Nick Mamatas is funny, but never intentionally.