It’s the End of Twitter As We Know It and I Feel ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
November 2022 Newsletter
The current hot topic in the writing world seems to be what to do about a problem called Twitter. It’s had sinking ship vibes the past few weeks after a certain billionaire took over and a lot of writers I know are wondering whether they should stay or go.
I’ve been conflicted about Twitter for a while—there is a great community of funny people on there, it’s super helpful for finding editors and writing opportunities, and I find it one of the easier platforms to be on that doesn’t take a lot of time/overthinking on my part to participate in (although I think Instagram stories is a close second). However, it can also be a big distraction and general dumpster fire at times, which I realize is not great for getting writing done.
However, it does offer something that existing platforms don’t and it is my biggest social media platform, so for now, I’m staying to see what happens. I may just ride the Twitter ship out until we have to get into the lifeboats or cling to a door in the cold iceberg water.
Some users have been migrating to Mastodon but I have not managed a lot of enthusiasm for it because it sounds a little confusing and not like a great solution to me, but if you are a Mastodon super fan (of the tech site and not the prehistoric animal) feel free to let me know.
In other news, last month I attended the Erma Bombeck writing conference in exotic Dayton, Ohio, and was reminded why it’s so great to see and meet internet friends in real life. As an introvert, I do find conferences draining and have to be strategic about taking breaks and stick to a no-roommate-at-conferences policy, but I still really love the chance to connect with like-minded writers and talk shop. Writing can be solitary and getting the chance to hang with other writers is always great for me.
Keep reading for a Q&A with the co-authors of the new funny joke book Jokes to Offend Men and way too many links to things on Twitter.
Funny stuff and other distractions:
There was a recent tweet thread of people’s favorite funny tweets (which the one above comes from). Check out the full thread here.
If you are panicking about where you are going to share your jokes with Twitter imploding, here are some solid ideas.
This month in TV, the show Never Have I Ever has been making me laugh and I am maybe a little too invested in following an Indian-American teen’s love triangle. (Shout out to newsletter reader Tina Neidlein for the recommendation)
I’ve been listening to You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey, which uses humor to tell stories about racism. This is obviously not an inherently funny topic, but I think using humor to deliver serious topics can be a good approach. It works pretty well in audio since it’s the authors are telling the stories although they are referencing a few visuals that make me also want to get a look at the print book.
Q&A with the co-authors of Jokes to Offend Men
This month I talked to Allison Kelley, Danielle Kraese, Kate Herzlin, and Ysabel Yates about their new co-authored feminist joke book Jokes to Offend Men.
Congrats on the book! What is the book's origin story?
Thank you! Back in February 2020, we co-wrote a piece for McSweeney’s called “Jokes I’ve Told That My Male Colleagues Didn’t Like,” which was inspired by something Michael Bloomberg said at a presidential debate. When pressed about the multiple harassment lawsuits filed against his company by former employees, and the NDAs they were forced to sign as a result, he essentially blamed those workers for their inability to “take a joke.” This didn’t sit right with us, as people who have been told all their life to “lighten up and take a joke” by unfunny men behaving badly.
Once the McSweeney’s piece took off, we saw how it resonated with readers and we started thinking about ways we could expand our jokes beyond the workplace. We put together a book proposal outlining 11 chapters that included other areas of life where sexism is pervasive, including: at home, in the doctor’s office, in politics, in Hollywood, and in academics.
Throughout that process, we sought the guidance of other humor writers we knew and we were consistently blown away by how willing they were to offer guidance and resources (note: Julie included!). After finding a fabulous agent who believed in our vision, getting a publishing deal with a wonderful press, writing and rewriting and rewriting the book some more – and a mere two and a half years later, here we are with our very own book!
Any favorite jokes in the book?
It’s like choosing a favorite child! Here are a few that we like in particular:
“Why is the sun the center of the solar system?
Because his dad owns the universe.”
This was definitely a group effort joke involving some light planetary research. Also, this takes us back to our high school science classrooms and how we wish we were clever enough to give this punchline back then. We offer it up to any teen who has the opportunity…
“Why did the duck cross the road?
You don’t have to be a chicken to leave a situation that’s not right for you.”
We love the empathy, layers, twist, hopefulness, and humor of the above–we’re pretty sure it’s unlike any other “chicken crossing the road” joke told before.
“What’s the best Godfather movie?”
You’ve Got Mail
At some point we all bonded over the fact that we love the movie You’ve Got Mail. In the movie, Tom Hanks’ favorite movie is The Godfather and he defends its supposed brilliance to inspire Meg Ryan to fight for her beloved bookstore (which, spoiler, he eventually is responsible for shutting down). He quotes from The Godfather so often in that movie that we consider it a spiritual successor to the franchise.
And finally, needing no explanation…
“Did you hear about the writing workshop with just men?
It disbanded after one meeting because they all agreed their writing was perfect.”
How did you logistically work out co-writing the book? [Read the rest of the interview including co-writing tips and funny stuff recs here]
Reductress is open for two winter fellows, get more details here.
One writing opportunity that caught my eye because they also mention being open to humor is The Muse. Check out the thread with more info here.
Always happy to see other writers owning up to their envy. And that piece reminds me that I need to read more Kevin Wilson books other than Nothing to See Here. Let me know if you recommend any of them to check out next.
News from Me
I won a thing! My book won the best title award at the Zibby Awards, so sometimes brainstorming approximately 1 million titles does pay off!
Evil Witches is one of my favorite parenting newsletters, so I was happy to contribute some advice to this recent newsletter.
That’s it for this month — thanks for reading until the end. You deserve some sort of prize. Perhaps some leftover Halloween candy that you’ve stashed away?
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