Sometime in college I discovered (or was introduced to) the website McSweeney’s, more completely known as McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. The website is part of the what could be described as the McSweeney’s literary conglomerate——but since the word “conglomerate” reeks of evil corporate connotations, I’ll call it the McSweeney’s literary amalgamation, since I haven’t used the word amalgamation enough to learn which of its connotations would dissuade me from using it. Anyways, McSweeney’s was initially founded in the late 90s as a literary journal by author David Eggers (who wrote the great book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius). Since then it’s been marvelously successful and has grown into a number of small, connected enterprises, including McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and the publishing house McSweeney’s Books. All the information here comes from the McSweeney website’s “About” page, which you can look at here.
Basically, McSweeney’s involves a whole lot of bright, creative people being bright and creative, so I definitely recommend you check out the pieces available on their website, lots of which are hilarious, and snag a copy of the journal if you spot it in a bookstore or a library (or subscribe to it on their website). Their pieces have great titles like “Little Housing Crisis on the Prairie,” “Excerpts From My Mother’s Editorial Notes On My Letters To Santa, 1987-2000,” “Arse Poetica,” and “How the Apocalypse Would Happen if Heaven Were a Small Non-Profit.”
Due to the craziness of this past e-book Christmas, with Amazon making a big to-do about the fact that they sold more electronic books than real books on Christmas day——a statistic that has incited various responses from the blogs and book websites I keep up with, varying from “Who the @*!# cares??” to “Real books are as good as dead and we might as well start mourning them now…”——, and in honor of colleges around the country that are returning for their second semester of classes, I thought I’d link to this article, titled “Internet-Age Writing Syllabus and Course Overview,” by Robert Lanham. It’s wonderfully funny, if just a tiny bit frightening. Enjoy!