Seven Truly Ill-Advised Pieces I Have Mostly Written but Never Published

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I have written so very many things that should never have existed. Most of those I have published! Oops. Yet somehow, there are things that I have abandoned as too difficult, or too stupid, or just too… bad. I combed through our unpublished drafts to find my very worst and most misguided unpublished writing of all time!

“Fake Sluts”

Fake Sluts is a piece that will never exist because it requires too many disclaimers and assertions of authority to write. Also it is pretty much a bad idea, though I still feel like “I am basically right” about it. (Always worry about that “I am right” feeling.) Basically, it was pegged to this REALLY pretty amazing interview with Mandy Stadtmiller in 2013, but also calls back to this time that Mandy went to see a male worker in the arts of sex for a stunt piece back in 2010 but then didn’t sleep with him? How do you go to a brothel as a stunt and then not engage in the services??? But totally separate, there was a bunch of other ladyblog stuff at the time where all these young women were writing pieces where the subtext or the actual text was like “I AM SUCH A SLUT, OMG I have literally had sex with 11 or 12 men!” Haha, uh, “yeah, me… too.” It was like when What’s Your Number? came out in 2011 and everyone was pretending to be ashamed or proud of having had sex with all of like 14 people. Like, people going on Slutwalks who like maybe once slept with someone while not on a date with them. (There are definitely Male Fake Sluts too, of course.) It was interesting, though, that women were adopting “slut” as a moniker, like when women were greeting each other with “hey hooker” and the like. And yet they weren’t really “slutty,” God forbid, you know? They weren’t in a position to reclaim anything. So it was an attempted critique of an usurped identity, which was shame-reinforcing, but mostly a look at the publishing system that was encouraging women to write and exist like this. But yeah, this piece is TOTALLY terrible and I hereby call it dead. Like the buried point here was to reclaim actual sluttiness for actual sluts, but whatever, we’re fine. In my mind this would have had a really blistering interview with Cat Marnell, for some reason? Also in my mind people weren’t reading this and shaking their head. I guess in part I just couldn’t face the policing. Heh. Anyway. No man needed to write this.

“American Chavs”

Once on the F train (90% of my pitches start like this, which is why I don’t pitch), I saw these two kids passed out on top of each other and I took a creepshot because they were 100% in like early 00s chav gear, but with like… a Pacific Northwest inflection and an updated brand melange? Like they’d brought something new to tracksuits and gold chains and white hip hop hair. So like there was a borrowed vocabulary of ostentatious hood-rich yet downmarket style being adopted and rewritten, and once I saw it there, I started seeing it EVERYWHERE. This has since evolved into the weird thing gay dudes are doing now with the black athletic garments (I mean the color black, the people invoked and exhibiting are of all ethnicities) and the calf-high tight black socks, the whole weird new wave goth Kanye gay “I just got back from Berlin and I’m a spider and also I did some porn” look. Gay Black Goth Chavs. It’s a thing. Now you’ll see it everywhere, I’ve incepted you. This was a bad piece.

“Bryce Dallas Howard Is the Worst Ginger”

I don’t know why I was writing this, but I think I was mad because she was in all those movies at once and she wasn’t really that great, and nepotism blah blah blah, but you know what, I got over it, because we have worse problems in Hollywood, you know? The best thing about this draft was that it was just that headline, I didn’t even bother to try to write anything, and I bet I sat there and looked at it for a while, and was like, yeahhhhh buddy. Then my emotional labor was done and I closed that tab, never to return. No man needed to write this.

HBO Shows Ranked I Guess???

This is a draft dated March 10, 2014, and consists just of:

I guess this was an EDGY take on the love for True Detective back in season one. LOL. Probably some man should have written this one! I miss Looking.

“Great White Gen X Music That Millennials Should Know”

I started writing this post in September of 2014 because I was at some party with some young people who literally had never heard music made before 9/11. This is as far as I got:

We Gen Xers grew up in a world where all music was amazing and everything was wonderful all the time. It’s true! Nothing bad ever happened in the 80s. I can say that, because my first concert was Prince’s “Purple Rain” tour. What millennial can compete with that? Oh, you saw Britney on the “…Baby One More Time” tour? That’s neat.

As the 80s lumbered along, New Wave and soul, funk and hip hop met and entwined; disco became something; goths prefigured Kanye West’s black new wave by three decades; older artists like Curtis Mayfield, on the heels of the work of Afrika Bambaataa, put out albums like “We Come In Peace With A Message Of Love” (1985) that were hybrids of literally all the music. Also, we didn’t have the Twitters and stuff, and everyone thought Wendy and Lisa and also Teena Marie (who did start out placing on the “Black Singles Chart”) were black.

Also there was Bow Wow Wow.

But there was also a core of largely white music, a strand of New Wave, post-punk, New Romantic and shoegaze that has fallen by the wayside, even as young people mine the great unknown of the music that came before them.

This was probably a not TERRIBLE post but literally where was I suppose to go from there? How hard do you really wanna work to get into the Best American Music Writing anthology or whatever, LOL. Sometimes you write yourself into the box, sometimes the box… something something.

“The New Yorker’s Success Problem”

Well… this is an unfinished piece from September 2013, spurred by the fact that the New Yorker published its profiles of Bryan Goldberg (founder of Bustle) and Eileen Fisher (founder of clothing and adult womanhood) on the same date. This is a pretty great fact, one that will stick with me until I die, and I can’t really explain why. Apparently I wrote:

In reading both, something obvious finally occurred to me, which is that The New Yorker is primarily a magazine about success. Closely related is that the New Yorker is run for the most part like a newspaper, which is to say, so much is timely, nearly every story “pegged.”

“The first Eileen Fisher shop opened in 1987, on Ninth Street in the East Village. Today, Eileen Fisher is an enterprise with nearly a thousand employees.”

“Bustle’s articles are modest, but the ambitions of its founder, a young Silicon Valley entrepreneur named Bryan Goldberg, are not…. He was in the process of raising an unusually large amount of pre-launch money.”

In the previous issue was the profile of Bryan Cranston, which was not put online, and therefore was not much discussed, but was there to accompany the final days of “Breaking Bad.” (Cranston comes across as delightful.) There was the Claire Danes profile, for the return of “Homeland.” (Danes comes off as somewhat delightful, but the profile is more wan.)

I wandered off. It’s true, still, I think, and it would be interesting to me if the New Yorker were less-success-obsessed, and also who cares. How many times am I going to insult the New Yorker in my life? What is up with that?

IDK Even What This Was But I Bet It Was About Whiteness

I have a draft post in the backend here which is just a screenshot of a cover of Kinfolk. It really was all I had to say, I should have just hit publish on that one.