What’s that, you say? You thought we were through ranting about a low-rated, highly annoying reality show aired only at 3:30 a.m. in Zurich on holidays? Well, trust us: We thought we were finished with I’m From Rolling Stone. But now n+1–the only literary magazine whose title begs for a a “Weird Al”-style parody–has a first-person essay by a woman who helped cast the show, and who had to sit through hours upon hours of applicant videos:
I got increasingly fed up with hearing about [the applicants'] sex lives, the banal assumptions reflected in what was “crazy” to them, the childhood victories that convinced them they were bound for penmanship and glory. They crowed about their “passion for words” but made the grammatical mistakes of the poorly read. I tired of their repeated demands that we give them a job because they were excited and enthusiastic. (Excited about what, exactly? Music! What music? All music! And words! Their passion for music and words!) When I got to the 700th “I want to inspire people,” I wrote in my notes, “I hate you.”
They claimed to be “inspired” by Hunter S. Thompson–but not inspired to mock hypocrisy and greed, not inspired to rage at a world that needed their rage to wake it up. They were just “inspired.” They were inspired by fame. They were excited to join the passionate and musical adventure in the sky that was a job at Rolling Stone.
We did get applications from many, many good writers, even great writers. We interviewed every single one of them. I swear to you. When we were really impressed or even a little impressed by the writing, we went for the next step. We were prepared to have a talented and charismatic and truly funny-looking cast. (Good writers, it turns out, tend toward the funny-looking.)
Well, that explains why we’re not funny-looking. There’s also this assessment of Russell Moore, the San Fran writer who seemed to be in character half the time:
For a while I felt tormented about Russell, until I wrote him an email asking if he hated me for getting him into this mess. While I waited for his response, I had a nightmare about being forced to empty trash cans for Joe Levy. But Russell told me he was fine with it. “My only regret,” he wrote, “is that the show itself is not that good. It’s actually kind of boring, and I don’t know how that’s possible.”
We’re guessing it’s because music writers don’t do anything during the day except dodge publicists’ emails, Google the phrase “winehouse nude??” and wear giant headphones that insulate them from ever having to engage in an actual conversation. That, and obsess over obscure TV shows about once-glorious publications.