LIFE OF A DUDE IN PUBLISHING

I work in publishing, and I have a Y chromosome. This is my life.

areadersperspective-main asked: Hi, Im currently a 1st year in University studying english, and I want to end up working in publishing. Any advice?

This is a question I’ve received a few times - so rather than construct you a new answer, or punt and refer you to my past answers, I’ll spell it out in a handy mnemonic.

Q is for Question: Question why you want to work in publishing. Seriously question this. There are many reasons to want to work in this multifarious and ever-shifting industry where the object is to make people’s brains work in a zillion subtle ways in your favor. Do you want to be a part of this because you think it’s easy? Because other people you know did it? Because you like reading? Because you like writing? Because you don’t think you have any other option due to your inevitable qualifications or lack thereof? Because you enjoy the company of women? Ask yourselves these questions because you will be called upon to present answers when you inevitably interview - and the thing every interviewer wants to know, without asking directly, is “can you do this job when it sucks and not be grouse-y and moan-y about it?” And in order to answer in the affirmative and do so honestly, you must know why you are doing this in the first place. And if the answer is “I don’t know”? GOOD. You don’t need to know. But you do need to know you don’t know in order to move forward realistically once the time comes to take classes, apply to jobs, do research on the industry, etc etc etc

U is for Use: You should use everything at your disposal to learn about the industry and the part of it you wish to enter, and the opportunities you end up pursuing after you learn enough. Use everything and everyone; ask for friends of friends to introduce you to people, browse every website and newsletter and aggregator you possibly can, figure out the jargon, get friends who work in bookstores or other book-related businesses to slip you free copies, dredge up every single connection you possibly can - not because publishing is such a closed-off sphere that you need to Know Someone to enter, but it just makes it easier - especially once you do start working in publishing, and you suddenly realize you don’t know any of the names people are dropping or the books they’re using as comps. (Learn what comps are.)

E is for Everywhere: Approach publishing from every angle, and by that I mean don’t think that it’s just editors and then a finished book at the end of the conveyer belt. Figure out the different parts of large and small presses, as well as the various imprints within; production, inventory, sales, publicity, marketing, digital vs. print - and which imprint puts out the award-magnet titles and which puts out the shitty but lucrative ones. You might be intimidated by this, and that’s okay, because most people in publishing don’t understand how their fellow departments do stuff - it’s all very blurry sometimes, and even we aren’t quite sure how the books manage to get read, but your passion for the industry and to learn will be a great help when you’re starting out, and continuing, and eventually dying at your desk (kidding! we won’t have desks in the future, just treadmills with feeding tubes, touch screens, and an IV Keurig drip we have to sterilize ourselves)

S is for Shitty: Plenty of publishing jobs are shitty. I’ve had one, most of my readers have had one, plenty still do. Even if you do land a great job and you have a nice attitude, it’ll be at least a little shitty. As all jobs are and should be, and it’s important to embrace that because to come to this industry from a reading background is a bit of a shock - to see that flawed humans with poorly designed and managed chains of command and custody can somehow produce the thing that made you feel so Different and Amazing and New inside. If you get a shitty job, but it’s something you feel you can get better at, get better until it’s time to leave, then get a new job. If you get a shitty job and you feel like you can make it better by working your ass off with the resources available, good for you. If your job is shitty but your boss is great, your call. But do not ever think that your choice to enter the industry and your worth as a human should be put to a referendum because your job is shitty. And you should also remember that S is for Stakes - they’re low. Publishing is publishing. If you fuck up or you have a hard time, remember; nobody’s gonna die. If you’re not having fun at ALL, then change jobs, but for the love of god don’t cut yourself off from enjoyment if you can manage it.

And finally T is for Try: Try new things. Try new books. Try new authors. Try new organizational strategies. Try new foods. Try new sights. Try new partners. Try new authors. Try bad books. Try huge books. Try kid’s books. Try checklists - try none. Publishing will die at the hands of the timid and lethargic, mark my words. Houses will rot from the inside on the insistence that “what’s the point? it’s not going to help”. I’m not parroting DISRUPT DISRUPT DISRUPT here - I’m saying let NOBODY TELL YOU IT WON’T WORK. Listen to advice and follow orders - but don’t get sucked into the creeping sludge of complacency and defeat. You can always make things better - it’s not always easy or quick, but this is an industry that will be broken by “meh” and made by “I’m gonna try it anyway”.

QUEST. Because it is one. Good luck.

lalanene333 asked: Quick question: What's the worst thing you've ever seen in a query letter?

This:

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I referenced it in a previous post (though I got the state wrong) - and it remains taped up next to my computer. I’ve given this letter some thought since the original post - as I’ve changed offices twice and retained it both times, I have the occasion to question every element of my workspace - and there is no one reason I keep it. I get that numb off-site sadness at being confronted by a stranger’s sad story, the suspicion that anyone who reads query letters feels when the text of the letter is designed to engender sympathy, and anger.

Anger at myself because it would have taken me zero effort to call that redacted cell phone number - it wouldn’t take much for me to tell this person that while we appreciate the letter and the contents therein, they will have no success sending blind faxes - no matter what her book is.  

Anger at my industry because we like to laugh about the “crazy” and “pathetic” attempts people make to get our attention - as if every single successful book was published by a bunch of people being polite and respectful to each other - and how we’ve learned to shut down all of our empathy when we sense a stranger approaching who wants to climb whatever ineffable golden ladder they think we oversee. We phrase things carefully, we give no contact info, and we comport ourselves as smoothly and briskly as we can so that this person will Just. Go. Away.

I have hand-written reply notes to jail mail; I have (amateurishly) edited full manuscripts for no charge simply because I can’t stand the idea that someone who wrote a manuscript, even (especially) a badly conceived and poorly written one, doesn’t deserve honesty instead of indifference. I have always said “email me what you have” instead of “not interested”. I will never stop doing this. But I know, above everything, that I am limited in my professional and personal capacities, and that letters like these written by people like that will almost definitely remain in the Motel 6’s of the world. Good or bad, wrongheaded or not, properly formatted or crayon - it doesn’t matter what I do, or they do, that will never stop happening. 

Which is a necessary and fantastically sad concept that we in publishing rush ourselves toward being inured to, because we only have so much emotional energy to direct toward all the other sadness and/or unknowns of our work. We focus on the positive because it helps us not focus on the inherently negative side of book publishing and acquisition and writing in general; failure, indifference, and getting fucked over by unknown unknowns.

So that’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in a query letter, and that’s why I refuse to forget it.

THE DUDE READS #4: WOLF IN WHITE VAN

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John Darnielle can’t shut up, and that’s a good thing.

I listened to one Mountain Goats album closely, which is “All Hail West Texas” - for those who haven’t had the pleasure, it’s one of his press-record-on-a-boombox albums where he wraps short stories into verse/chorus over solo acoustic guitar - the last one he recorded on his boombox, in fact, and I’d wager that it’s a piece of equipment that for LD/MGs fans has the legend and weight of Van Halen’s Frankenstrat, or Cormac McCarthy’s typewriter. “All Hail West Texas” was suggested to me by someone who gladly wasted a couple years on me, as did I her; the album has not stuck nearly as much as the others she pressed on me, but I’m always reminded of the commute into my shitty retail job, taking the bus to the subway, listening to songs where even the tape hiss sounded plaintive.

But here’s the thing about this book; clearly you don’t have to like JD’s music or even know it exists to enjoy it, or to recognize the skill in its construction, pacing, and full-on weirdness. If this was “debut novelist John Darnielle” (which some reviews claim is true, and then someone’s all “uhhh he wrote a 33 1/3 book which was basically a novella” and to that I say anyone who gets the chance to write a 33 and 1/3 book and comes back with fiction can deal with being called a debut novelist a few years later), this would be just as menacing, uneasy, and fluid of a novel. Its surface is smooth as glass but it curves in so many strange directions like an avant-garde opera hall facade - finely tuned and fussed-over prose, a character whose regular plunges down the memory hole and laps run through his own thoughts are perfectly contextualized (he’s a scarred recluse who spends his day writing letters and turning emotions over in the rock polisher of his skull) and an effectively rendered portrait of childhood unhappiness and instability that may not mirror JD’s but certainly carries the same gear. It’s hard not to read this as a young JD, lying alone in his room, sweating and uneasy, finding fixed points in sword & sorcery and in-skull adventures.

Sean, in the meanwhile, is a bit of a cypher - which is a functional device because Sean has had a life of interiors; actions playing out through barriers, distance, and remove, despite any claims that Sean makes to a life of inner vividness. And vivid it is - the analog MMORPG that Sean uses as both a source of income and a reason for continued existence, a social network with plenty of safe distance between him and others in which the goal is the journey, not the (unreachable) destination. The game, Trace Italian, is played through the mail - players are given context and options, and they then make “moves”, which they send to Sean, who responds with more context and directions, etc - and this pursuit, no matter how implausible, is so finely described and so compassionately constructed that the question becomes: does Sean run Trace Italian because he’s a recluse, or is he a recluse so he can write Trace Italian? And why is he all scarred?

To go to into detail about this book’s plot would not be hard, because in truth only a few things actually Happen to Sean, the narrator. This book concerns itself more with the why, not the how, and the jumble of memories and flashbacks and significances takes on a horrifying dream logic as we further understand why Sean’s disfigured, and why he dealt with the aftermath as he did. So my view is that as a self-contained, ornately crafted box of a book, WIWV unquestionably succeeds. It is not large, or overly ambitious, or concerned with much beyond Sean’s unique brand of solipsism - but it doesn’t need to be, as JD has never been someone to do The Expected Thing, or even The Trademark Thing. Ss an extension of JD’s refusal to sacrifice nuance for effect, the book handles itself as admirably as any of his many, many hyperliterate song lyrics. I would warn anyone looking for a satisfying narrative to not approach this book as such. It’s a literary automat of constant low-band loneliness, eerie resignation, truncated sadness and ennui that ends on a textual knife-twist. Do not expect to walk out of this book with a full and balanced heart.

SHORT SHORT STORIES FOR DONATIONS #2: THE DEVIL IS BEATING HIS WIFE

Lincoln has a lot to say about Metallica. Which he fucking better well because he’s got Dell in the automotive equivalent of a full nelson - on a high July heatstroke of a Monday, in sphincter-tight traffic, air conditioning wussing out the vents. Dell wouldn’t get six feet if he bailed - he’d de-shape like a butter pat and end up a blot of bubbly flesh on the asphalt. But there will be much to discuss about Metallica, much indeed - and Lincoln produces thoughts with such agility and flavor that Dell’s resentment settles at the sump.

The story of the Metal Up Your Ass pressings is nearing the denouement; Dell unslumps, avoiding the gasrange window. The plug ahead is an empty construction patch, an entire unsullied lane roped off with carrot-colored plastic stumps. “Do you know anyone who works construction?” asks Dell. Lincoln finishes his sentence and clearly plans to begin another - Dell scoops the moment. “Do you know anyone who works construction?”

Lincoln allows a “nahdude” and continues. Dell, unfazed, reclaims the air and continues. “Because we should know someone who works construction. It is so hugely a moneymaker in this county. I was a kid who thought that when I grew up they’d be finished with the construction. Which is dumbshit thinking but it’s not just because stuff breaks but because it’s a moneymaker.”

"I know," says Lincoln. "City contracts are gluetraps for lawyers and mob dudes. Everyone knows that."

"Con law people know that," says Dell.

Lincoln snorks, a zing of mucus in his skull. “You should go to law school. You’ll see how stuff works. So says my uncle.”

A burning oil derrick in Dell’s guts - buffalo chicken tenders and burnt coffee. Dell can feel his body softening. No ready and cheap access to a gym, and the roads of his hometown taunt his gasping ass when he jogs them, gravelly noodles that drain him brutally. Running the grid of the city was checklisted deadline. Suburbs are melting him from inside and out.  

If you want a short short story writen just for you, donate to Tim’s page and email your receipt at dudeinpublishing@gmail.com.

SHORT SHORT STORIES FOR DONATIONS #1: THE CRACK FORTRESS

Forms of ingress into a location with unknown hostiles and/or civilians are divided into two types: warm and cold.

Cold ingress points rely on externalized sourcing; blueprints, visual surveillance, and any intel we can gather from locals if it’s a residence. We work up a complete outside profile - there’s not a single hole or seam visible that we don’t work into our planning. You’ll know the obvious - doors, windows, skylights, chimneys, vents, and the odd ventilation shaft - but the subtle cold ingress points are the trickiest, and the most rewarding if you like tricky, which I very much do.

Consider, par example, a scrounged blueprint that indicates an addition was build on within the last few years. Say we do our research and discover that there’s no insulation in the addition - maybe they couldn’t decide between fiberglass or blown cellulose or maybe they’re just short on liquidity or motivation - and what this tells us is that there’s a cold ingress point in the space behind the drywall. Not large enough for a human (or at least not one that’s legal to employ for the hours we’d need her) but large enough for a directional mic with a thermal sensing feed and who knows, maybe a directional charge. That’s how you make a door in less than three seconds. Try to hit a cold ingress point with a battering ram and it’ll take three seconds, assuming there’s nobody on the other side. Impossible to detect the heat signature unless you’ve got the sensor on the door, and any location that we put this much calories into crafting the perfect breach will have at least one shitty camera trained smack on that door. Know when to make a door. Measure twice, cut once.

Warm ingress points are cold ingress points that for become viable for their minimal obstacles and time sensitivity. Say the loading dock is unmanned during shift change, only two minutes a week but that’s the chance. Maybe the side office is closed while the manager takes a vacation - once every three years. Maybe the sunlight hits the north face of the bank building on November 18th at 2:13 PM and dazzles the entire block like disco. Warm ingress points are like the boy in high school you never considered viable until a few years later, when you’re riding that hometown bar into the witching hour, and he shows up all cute and airy and well-dressed as if all the work you passed on putting into him got picked up by some other nobler girl. The warm ingress point and you may not work out, but the golden window is there. You will laugh about the three things you both held onto from school - the molest-y teacher, the stolen trophies, the mold. will You drink in a livid sort of joy. You will toss off his mention of a girlfriend. You will breach him.

If you want a short short story writen just for you, donate to Tim’s page and email your receipt at dudeinpublishing@gmail.com.

LITERARY SPEED DATING AT HOUSING WORKS IS THE ONLY THING YOU NEED TO BE THINKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW

Dear men of the tri-state area who feel hemmed in by the swipe-left philosophy that extrudes the dating process through a series of sterile tubes: STOP.

There is hope. There’s also beautiful women. Real ones. Not just avatars. Note that I said beautiful - beautiful in soul, spirit, bookshelves, and probably glasses. Not just pretty. Beautiful.

  • Do you wish that there was someone out there who shared your deep abiding love of Alice Munro AND could keep you warm at night?
  • Do you sometimes wish that the dating process was less deterministic and more like a gentle flow of current, bringing you ever closer to true happiness and satisfaction?
  • Is your bookshelf filled with books you haven’t read yet?
  • Do you know who Roxane Gay is?
  • Do you tire of visiting bookstores and rightfully keeping your graceful pickup lines to yourself, wishing that there was an appropriate context to politely compliment women who are for the time being tolerating your presence?
  • Do you wake up all alone and wonder where you are? 

Then stop fucking around and go to literary speed dating at housingworksbookstore on 10/16, courtesy of coverspy

I’ll be honest with you - the joke of “oh wow if you’re a straight (Editor’s note: or straight-passing) guy in publishing you really just have an embarrassment of dating options” IT’S TRUE IT’S TRUE IT’S TRUE but you NEED TO MEET THE RIGHT PEOPLE. As the Cat In The Hat (an icon all males should aspire to) said, "it is fun to have fun but you have to know how."

So come to Housing Works, have a drink, buy that copy of A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, make fun of Knausgaard despite having not read him, and meet the best eligible ladies that the city has.

And save money by entering promo code “WOOLF" at checkout. Spelled like the author, not like this:

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MORTIFICATION OF THE FLESH FOR CHARITY

By now, the bloom is still on the crowdfunding rose, but it’s not nearly as dewy fresh as it once was. Whether it’s the backlash at celebrities who use the system to gain independence from their corporate overlords, the inanity of certain projects, or the fact that the hard unglamorous toil of charity is still not fully compatible with a browser-eye-view of the world that values short, hot, and sexy (content-wise), the process of using direct-to-donator approaches to cut through the bullshit and amass necessary resources without having to kowtow to (too many) middlemen is still valid - it’s just being marketed now, which distorts any idealism that’s run through it. 

Tim is one of my best and oldest friends and he has seen me through many phases of my life, often seeing me at my worst. He’s a strikingly noble person with a mind the size of a country and an iron sense of community that he’s retained despite New York City and associated elements’ best attempts to dispell or deteriorate it (remember, it’s harder for people to sell you stuff when you don’t feel alone). 

And you don’t know him. You very well never may. (Though considering how small this city is I’d be unsurprised if you did.) What’s worth knowing is that he’s running the NYC marathon in November for the simple reason that he’s a runner who wants to make money for an organization about which he cares a great deal. They give STEM classes and training to high school students who’d otherwise have the socioeconomic deck stacked against them. Pretty fucking awesome stuff.

I lived with Tim for a year and a half, while he was teaching school in Connecticut and commuting from New York. It was grueling. He spent his time teaching, commuting, and running. He never became bitter, and now, he’s in a better place - and he’s giving to a cause he aligns with, using the hard-won skill of being able to beat the shit out of your body over long distances.

I don’t expect that you’ll read this and immediately donate; that’d be insane, right? Altruism to a Tumblr stranger’s friend makes little sense without the element of trust. Sure it’s tax deductible. Sure it’s good to give. But there must be more to this. So here’s what I’m proposing:

If you find it in your heart and pockets to donate to Tim’s fundraiser, send me the email confirmation at dudeinpublishing@gmail.com, and in return for your generosity, I will write you a brand new short short story, and either post it for all to see to remind people of your generosity, or keep it just between you and me, whatever you prefer. And Tim will beat the shit out of his body using the streets of New York as a weapon, and high school gets get a bigger slice of the pie of chance. 

Tim’s page is here.

THE SLEEPING POINT

When I first heard Suzanne Collins’ name it was right as Mockingjay came out. I was working in a bookstore, so I had no fucking excuse for this oversight. But I snagged a copy of Hunger Games from the table and read it on my lunch break and immediately tore through the next two (which, for those of you who have not yet read the trilogy, I don’t recommend doing at this pace. Mockingjay is largely incoherent if fascinating and it requires a full night’s sleep and at least two square meals under your belt at all times.) 

A piece of writing like Collins’ has a cultural footprint, and it expands on the basis of three things, the first two of which can be directly managed by authors and publishers.

The first is marketing; which is how the book looks to those who haven’t yet read it.

The second is publicity; how it looks to those who have read it who are talking to others who haven’t read it.

The third, which is largely outside of publisher control, is word-of-mouth, which is an amalgam of the previous two, and I designate it as a third category because it’s the uranium standard of a book’s success. Which is to say that if you can gather and refine and centrifuge word of mouth using a qualified crew of sellers and readers and marketers, you can power the whole goddamn company. Or you can scorch the earth (more on that later).

Years ago I recall that my dad mused out loud about what makes a “sleeper”; a book or movie or whatever that experiences a growth in popularity over time rather than an initial burst which quickly fades (as most art commodities do). This was of course before the advent of the Internet as we now know it, so his musing was very open-ended and there were no analytics or archives that he had at his disposal to consider; what’s the stochastic system that culminates in someone you trust pleading/demanding that you read/watch/listen to this thing? Which, for the purposes of this piece, I’ll call the sleeping point.

The Hunger Games trilogy reached its sleeping point well before the movie was released (and were arguably never sleeper books to begin with), but the movie(s) have turned it from publishing phenomenon into cultural phenomenon. The marketing campaign was given a second act by the movies, and what an act. Now folks consider class differences using the the Districts as their critical template. Now we see the host of imitations as creators and publishers rush to mine the same uranium vein and producing…mixed results. Trace this back to previous phenomena; Twilight, The Giver books, hell a Wrinkle In Time; books that people read and wouldn’t quit talking about, which got pimped and/or adapted and/or included in curricula and by one way or another got bolted to the popular consciousness as a result.

Take another Jennifer Lawrence project, Silver Linings Playbook. This was a movie that the studio correctly pronounced a sleeper well before release; and having marketed it with this in mind, it became the runaway success they hoped for and was quickly followed by two more re-teamings of the leads (American Hustle and the ominously-delayed Serena), the success of which is always compared to that of the original pairing. Matthew Quick’s source novel was snapped up by the fans of the movie, though his follow-up wasn’t able to ride the wave to similar success (though the adaptation is in the works, so we’ll see). Again, this relied on chance; for every sleeper film there are dozens of equally fascinating or entertaining movies that never see the light of a listicle or Netflix queue.

The actual mechanics of that process have likely been explored by people who aren’t writing this in the hour before the workday begins, and who have university library cards and nice couches. I’m not one of those people (though my couch is pretty great) - my thoughts on this come because the sixth season of The Good Wife, a show I’ve actively participated in pushing to the sleeping point, is currently airing.

TV shows hit their sleeping point at a similar pace as books (or series) that get adapted to screen. With a few exceptions (Hemlock Grove basically), books or series adapted to TV or film (Dexter, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Gossip Girl, The Leftovers) find their new fans a few years after publication and/or into their series run, which means that the word-of-mouth for each new season consequently impacts the marketing plans for new books; tie-in covers, bigger budgets, different placement and quantity in retail locations. TV shows are similar; for fans who come in two or three seasons into the show’s run, they encounter an established fanbase and storyline and characters, which is quite a pleasing experience as a consumer but also as a critic, armchair or otherwise. You’ve suddenly got a new common point with strangers and acquaintances and even your parents.

The Good Wife is such a common point, but it’s taken so long to reach its sleeping point exactly because of its initial marketing. Many of you may be thinking “The Good Wife? That show my parents watch?” And that’s true; the demographics for this show as well as other CBS offerings skew towards the demographic that has cable, a landline, and stays in on weeknights. And The Good Wife is consistently highly rated by critics, but so was The Closer, and if you can show me someone in the 18-30 demographic who’s seen every episode, I would be amazed. Critical acclaim does not equal popular acclaim does not equal popular coverage does not equal cultural importance. 

Critics and I agree that the show’s fifth season was a risky move and the show’s writers and cast pulled it off impeccably; not to spoil anything, but it makes a few hard turns in plot and cast and underlays a few subplots which are just cracklingly fucking good. I came to the show halfway through the airing of this season and watched upwards of 100 episodes in three weeks to catch up. It was intense. I watched it while I walked. I watched it while I ate. I watched it whenever I was alone and I texted who’d listen as I did, every time I recognized an actor (seriously it’s like American Doctor Who, EVERYONE is on it) or saw something I’d never seen on TV. Which was often.

This year, CBS sent out a For Your Consideration mailing that basically said what I had come to understand, which is that the reason why The Good Wife is a sleeper is that, basically, viewers don’t know what’s good for them. They’re used to a particular format, when what they really should be looking for is good TV in any form (a sentiment that anyone who knows good web series can agree with). 

The Good Wife is the heir apparent to the format that The West Wing built and then abandoned. 20 or more episodes a season, hour-long primetime slot, ensemble cast, serialized plot, engagement with current events, distinctive writing, luminous production design, and an impressive (and, at times, precarious) balance of entertainment with sheer intelligence and craft. The Good Wife is a skyscraper of a show that for years was just blindly passed over by all the people I knew who considered The West Wing the measure for bingeworthy ideal heavyweight non-premium drama. 

Now we see the blogger outreach and conversation about this show change. Now it’s not “this show you’ve heard of but have no interest in is amazing, you should check it out and be surprised”. It’s “you do yourself a disservice by not watching the show”. I don’t know why it’s not on Netflix; complicated reasons involving licensing and fees and who knows, I’m a consumer not a publisher (of TV). But it’s not an overstatement that this show could save your life.

It is big, it is deep, and it is smart. If you need a palliative break from trauma, you just broke up with someone or lost someone or fucked up your chance at a new life or snapped a femur, watch the entire show. If you want to understand why law students are so insufferable, watch this show. If you want to see the only dramatic TV show that takes on modern tech trends with glee, watch this show. If you’re not easily impressed, watch this show. If you’re a feminist, watch this show. If you’re not a feminist, watch this show. If you want to see why TV awards shows exist, watch this show. This show will renew your faith in mass culture’s ability to foster beautiful, smart, awe-inspiring storytelling. It is not a “legal drama”. It is not about “a disgraced politician’s wife”. This show is about disappointment and regret and professionalism and loss and the way that life constantly, brutally goes on and we do what we can with the people we have to make the best of it. This show employs original  music in a way that I have never heard any other show employ original music - I listened to one track from the soundtrack every time I headed to a job interview simply because it filled me with a neon geyser of mad energy.

I only watched Burn Notice because someone on the internet I trust wrote about it. Another show smarter than its marketing. Word of mouth; it changes your fate in ways so small and manifold it may well define your cultural experience in all ways, agency be damned. 

It doesn’t matter when you start. It doesn’t matter who you are. The people whose livelihood depends on their talent to foster and promote and bring into being new culture are only one part of the process. No tastemaker or thought leader or marketing genius is worth shit without the consent of the consumer; this is why so many resources are devoted to removing the agency of the consumer, whether it’s preying on their laziness or stress, suppressing alternate options, or encouraging the popular conception that equating quality to money as a one-to-one. 

The Good Wife is not the best show that has ever been made nor the best that ever will. But it is an experience like none other that you can participate in for various levels of free, and if you are reading this on the internet, you can start now. Fight your way to me. I’ll be waiting.

SOME GAWKER HEADLINES FROM THE NEXT FEW MONTHS

Lena Dunham Still Hasn’t Specified How She Will Be “Compensating” Her Book Tour Openers

Lena Dunham Promises “Openers Will Be Paid In Money, Obviously” So We Know She’s Gouging Them

We’re Offering Fifty Dollars To Anyone Who Can Produce A Pay Statement For One Of Lena Dunham Tour Openers 

We Break Down The Costs Of Lena Dunham’s Book Tour To Indicate How Little The Openers Were Actually Paid So You Won’t Have To

A Stream Of Trashpile Rats Reviews Lena Dunham’s Book

Real Slick Nick Denton Non-Reference In The Season Premiere Of GIRLS, Lena Dunham

Did Lena Dunham Harass One Of Her Tour Openers? Yes.

Did Lena Dunham Neglect Lamby The Dog During Her Book Tour?

Did Lena Dunham Smother Lamby The Dog During Her Book Tour?

We’re Offering One Hundred Dollars For Pictures Of Lamby The Dog Next To Today’s Newspaper

A Death Row Inmate Reviews This Season Of Girls

We Slept With Lena Dunham’s Assistant So You Wouldn’t Have To

We’re Offering A Job To Any Accountant Who Can Provide Us With Lena Dunham’s W2

It’s Lost All Meaning Now, Seriously, No Matter How Many Times We Say It, Lena Dunham Lena Dunham Lena Dunham