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Very Bad Things


August is usually a deathly slow news month, but thus far it’s already being filled with senatorial infidelity, a steady stream of Olympians, and an all-out war. All of which means that we’ve missed out on the important filler stories that usually fill up this wonderful month.

For instance, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, named for the author of the infamous first sentence, “it was a dark and stormy night.”

Each year, the judges choose the worst opening sentence to a novel and present it to the world, relieving the crushing burden of finding something to report in the middle of August. Of course, this year, as the judges note, “it appears that many newspapers have allowed themselves to be distracted by a large athletic contest being staged somewhere in Asia.”


See the winning sentence»

When Writers Get Bored


There are a lot of pages to be filled out there, and only so many ways to make a runway show sound interesting in print. And when their notebooks run dry and writers decide to put that education to use, things get…interesting.

This time, the culprit is the New York Times, who spiced up an article on a Prada show with a Margaret Atwood reference, quaint use of the phrase “men’s wear” and ominous references to social engineering. Most of the offenses are in aid of Village Voice alum Guy Trebay’s extended meditation on Miuccia Prada’s “complex sexual issues.” This being the fashion industry, we imagine she’s in good company. And no, for the record, we had not thought about the deeper social implications of flyless pants.

Our favorite moment in the article »