The very funny and popular website McSweeney’s is running its annual column contest, and I am planning to enter.
The guidelines are thus:
We are looking for writing that is engaging and interesting, in a “we know it when we see it” way. It would probably be a mistake to look at our current columns and try to replicate them. We love those columns, but they came about by authors simply following their own paths. Write about subject matter you’re interested in, in the way you find most compelling. Our site is primarily known for printing funny things, but columns need not be comic in nature. They just need to be good reading. Please take your time to make your submission as good as possible. One of the criteria we’re looking for is a writer who is reliable and obsessive over their own work.
With this in mind, I have been assembling a list of column ideas and would love to know what you think would make the best column.
Here are some ideas so far:
1. A column on how perceptions change after you become a father
My recent post about Dirty Dancing is an example of what this column would be like. The goal of the column would to provide amusing but accurate accounts of the way in which fatherhood can radically shift the way a person once viewed something. Items from my own life and from pop culture would be used as subject matter for future columns.
2. Sequel protection
I’ve been working on a series of posts designed to protect future generations from bad sequels in both movies and books. Each column would describe the reasons why you should avoid a specific sequel while also providing a synopsis of the important cultural references that may be missed by not watching the sequel.
For example, I would advise future generations to only watch the the first and third Indiana Jones films, but I would explain (among other things) the whole heart-ripping-out powers of the high priest in the film since it is occasionally referenced in other films and books and is the signature moment of the movie.
3. Literary analysis of toddler’s fiction
I recently posted a literary analysis of my daughter’s first story, and it proved to be surprisingly popular. I could do the same in future posts, using my daughter’s stories (provided she tells me any more) and stories submitted by readers as source material. I could also analyze some of the stranger nursery rhymes that my daughter is currently reading like Hickory Dickory Dock.
Or perhaps you have liked something else that I’ve written in the past that I could expand into a column?
Suggestions are appreciated!