McSweeney’s

Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

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An Open Letter to My Kindergarten Teacher Who Taught Me Everything I Needed to Know (About Racism and White Supremacy)

Dear Ms. Lily, That was your name. A flower. Delicate and sweet. I have so much to thank you for. You taught me the ways of the world, and for that I cannot begin my endless list of gratitude. With each interaction I have had since your class, I have been reminded of your crucial life lesson, reminded of the ways you so eloquently instilled within me...

Dan Kennedy Solves Your Problems With Storytelling

I’ve spent over 20 years traveling and sharing stages and microphones with some of the smartest people in the world — Pulitzer Prize winners, neuroscientists, astronauts, a white-collar criminal, that one guy who used to show up at storytelling gigs in New York and sit up front, look angry, and make everyone feel like a knife fight was going to happen....

Daphne du Maurier’s Melania — A Gothic Tale of Mystery and Suspense for 2020

Last night I dreamt I went to the White House again. Like all who sleep to dream, I moved both lazily and at once. Suddenly possessed with the powers of the spirit world, my body passed through the iron gates and over the lush green lawns. I floated over the Rose Garden, once vibrant and full of life in better years, now renovated, bloomed muted and...

Famous Show Tunes, Revised for 2020

Oliver! “Food Glorious Food (Limit 2 Per Customer)” Bye Bye Birdie “Put On a Happy Face Covering” Avenue Q “The Internet Is for Porn, and Work, and School, and Ordering Groceries, and Everything Else” Rent “525,600 Cases”; “The Tango Quar’ tine” South Pacific “I’m Gonna Wash That Skin Right Off Of My Hands” West Side Story “Gee, Dr. Fauci!”; “I Feel...

It’s Just a Beach Read

Oh this? It’s just a beach read. I honestly don’t know how it got into my tote bag. I certainly would never have meant to pack a book like this. I’m pretty sure it’s not even mine. A friend must’ve lent it to me! When I’m not at the beach, I carry a well-worn copy of Ulysses in this bag. I would never even look at a book like this one if I wasn’t so...

How to Unlock Luigi in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time

In Search of Lost Time is universally hailed as one of the most influential literary works of the twentieth century, having revolutionized the modern novel’s capacity to engage with the subjective experience of abstract thought. But did you know that you can also read through it as everybody’s second-favorite Mario Brother, Luigi? Here’s how to unlock...

Omega Theta Chi’s COVID-19 Flip Cup Rules

“The University of Alabama system reports between August 28 and September 3, 846 UA students tested positive for the virus in Tuscaloosa… University officials say nothing has gone wrong with its approach to combating the virus and spread.” – WBRC Fox6 News - - - 1. To figure out how much beer you need for a game of flip cup, multiply the cost of tuition...

Virtual Birdwatching Saved My Sanity During the Pandemic

Trills and caws fill the room. Rain is falling, bouncing off the birds and making the squirrels dance underneath. A yellow-bellied sapsucker (a term only ever used by me years ago on a schoolyard) pecks the suet as a pair of warring grackles fight for corn. The pond in the background sways with swimming mallards and Canadian geese. My cat and I sit...

How the Pandemic Has Affected the Production of My College Sex-Comedy, Sex University

As the pandemic rages on, Hollywood is still figuring out how to resume production on films and television shows safely. As a screenwriter, I’m right in the thick of this. Before the pandemic hit, I was about to begin production on my feature-length college sex-comedy Sex University, a classic college-romp in the vein of Animal House or Van Wilder about...

Hercule Poirot Solves the Case of the COVID Comorbidities

The assembled dignitaries took their seats before a small lean man with an upward curled moustache. “Messieurs et Mesdames,” began Hercule Poirot. “You all know the facts of this case. Over 190,000 Americans have been killed by the coronavirus. For six percent of the victims, local coroners listed COVID as the sole cause of death. But the death certificates...

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