We can all use a good laugh once in awhile, and one of my favorite places to read funny stuff is the satirical humor web site, McSweeny’s Internet Tendency. The Internet Tendency is part of a larger publishing house that turns out very high-quality material both in print and online.
At McSweeney’s, there is something for everyone. While all of the writing is very good, the editors will consider nearly anything. There are regular “columns” organized into Lists, Open Letters, Monologues and Features, but there are very few rules when it comes to fitting content into these frameworks. While I’ve never ready anything truly vulgar or pornographic on the site, there are definitely some racy-verging-on-lewd things that pop up every now and again. My favorite departments are the Lists and Monologues, which offer witty writers a fairly blank slate on which to construct their poignant satire.
As far as I know, the content on McSweeney’s is 100% freelance, with only a small staff of editors curating the large number of submissions the site receives. Periodically, freelance writers can compete to win an ongoing feature column, which gives them the opportunity to write a series of similarly-themed pieces for the site for a year or (if it’s popular) longer. A recent example of one such column is Hungover Bear and Friends, which is funny, if not exactly my kind of thing.
Because Internet Tendency has so many different columns and because of the essentially open source content (most writers aren’t paid and anyone can access the site’s content for free), there is a huge body of work constantly being generated. I typically have between 10 and 20 titles from the site in my RSS feed at any given time. I love this, though, because it gives me the opportunity to give the titles a quick scan and pick one or two short reads to start my day off with a laugh. Here are a few of the pieces that have given me a chuckle within the past few days:
A word of caution – it’s pretty easy to get sucked down the McSweeney’s rabbit hole and spend a lot of time there. They don’t call it “Internet Tendency” for nothing.