In January of this year, as this humble journal was approaching its first anniversary, our pioneering colleagues at Haypenny announced that the time had come to close its imaginary doors forever. Y.P.R. was shocked and saddened by this news, and knew immediately there was only one thing for us to do: call it quits, A.S.A.P. So, following in Haypenny’s size-15 footsteps, on January 21st, 2004, this stupid Web site shut down forever. For a day.
whatfore (dot org) parodied what was, at the time, the hotttest thing spreading across the wires: the goofy patois of everybody’s favorite gossipmonger, Uncle Grambo, proprietor of, obvs, whatevs (dot org). Huzzah!
February, the runty month, was devoted to Writers on Writing: tales of rejection and revision, lessons in how to write well, letters to and from editors, and poets on poetry. Some highlights to begin:
Pitching to Cousin Graydon by K. Robinson CarterFor us, March actually rolled in lamblike but left leoninely. The first of the month saw the release of official merchandise from The Passion of the Christ, and the ides brought “Sem Ordnilap Ytir Belec,” a silly little collection of celebrity palindromes that for reasons unfathomable became a hot link across the Internets, bringing over two billion new readers to Y.P.R.
Valentines Affairs of the Famous; as Revealed by Their Love Sonnets by George Motisher
‘And Another Thing About Bush 43’ by Maureen Dowd by Mick Stingley
More Writers on Writing Month
Soon afterward, this very humble journal presented its psychosexual thriller, La Caída Pequeña, La Elevación Grande: a parody of the late, lamented The Minor Fall, the Major Lift. (Past parodies? The Believer, The New York Times Book Review, Gawker, and McSweeney’s.) This pasquinade caught the attention of the lady journalist Ms. Cynthia Cox, who wrote about this meager journal in her Press Clips column in The Village Voice as the B-side to the hit single “California, Ho!,” about The New Yorker’s Californian readership being mightier than its home crowd. Y.P.R.’s readership struck 500,000,000,000,000. This flatulent journal responded with a thorough investigation of Ms. Cott’s shoddy fact-checking, and she was soon eighty-sixed. (Sorry!)
Later that month, your modest coëditor Josh Abraham read an expanded (and propped) version of “Who’s the Pop Diva Queen Now, Bitch?” a personal essay by Christina Aguilera, at the inaugural installment of The Ritalin® Reading Series (short readings for people with short attention spans) Piano’s hosted by Ms. Lindsay Robertson, and featuring very funny readings by the very funny writers Ms. Jami Attenberg, Mr. Andrew Hearst, Ms. Maura Johnston, Mr. Will Leitch, Ms. Sarah Lewitinn, and Ms. Whitney Pastorek. (Pieces read by Ms. Attenberg and Mr. Leitch, (“Things My Nana Levenstein Taught Me about Love” and “If I Had a Million Dollars,” respectively) were subsequently contributed by the authors to this humble journal. Something else entirely by Ms. Pastorek lies here: “An Assortment of Love Poems Written with the Assistance of a Pamphlet Entitled “How 2 Write Love Poems That Don’t Suck,” Distributed by Delias.com, a Clothing Company That Caters to Pre-Teen Girls.”) A very nice article about that event, featuring a large and quite unflattering photograph of Mr. Abraham (which, it should be said, was both snapped and printed without his awareness), ran in Time Out New York.
When April rains came, and this awkward journal was fumbling through puperty—expanding in content, reach, and proofreding—a new design was needed to accomodate our lanky limbs. We retired the durable but boring layout for what turned out to be a slick-looking lemon that caused readers using Netscape or Mozilla browsers to see only jumbled gobbledygook.
Luckily, Jon Armstrong, the writer and Web designer, came to the rescue. He cleaned up our faulty code and gave us a paint job. The current layout you see before you now crashes Mozilla only.
Some of April’s highlights:
Friday Morning Lament by Lisa GroverThe very merry month of May saw the launch of The Hunter Becomes the Hunted, a series of interviews with interviewers about the art of the interview. Interviewees included:
Dear Penthouse Forum
I Do Something Terrible, Liz Removes Her Underwear, & You Start Talking Dirty by Nicanor Garcia
Dave Chappelle, the Grand Impostor
Excerpts from the Hipster Law Treatise by Peter B. Silverman
Pimpin’ Like a Pirate by Nick Jezarian
My Zombie Movie by S. E. Shepherd
Who Has the Bigger : Democratic Nominee John Kerry or President George W. Bush? by Julie Koch
Eat, Shoot, & Leave This!: A Letter to Lynne Truss by Josh Abraham
Also in May, Y.P.R. posted the complete text of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. It’s pretty good so far.Claire Zulkey, Zulkey.com
A.J. Daulerio, The Black Table’s “Rock and a Hard Place”
Andrew Krucoff, Gothamist’s “Young Manhattanite Interview”
Robert Birnbaum, Identity Theory’s “Narrative Thread”
James Lipton (Almost), “Inside the Actor’s Studio”
Daniel Robert Epstein, SuicideGirls
Suzanne Yeagley, McSweeney’s “Interviews with People Who Have Interesting or Unusual Jobs”
I like New York in June , how about you? Y.P.R. enjoyed the month quite a bit, because our formerly salacious and illegal thoughts about Mary-Kate and Ashley turned into salacious and legal thoughts about M-K & A.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in: “Mary-Kate & Ashley Turn 18!”
The Pope and the Lawyer: What Befell Them upon Entering Heaven, or, Herman Melville Tells a Joke by Amy Shearn
David Foster Wallace and Gromit by Michael Ward
Highlights from the Recent Network Upfront Hoopla by Nick Jezarian
During July’s sweaty malaise, Y.P.R. assembled its own panel of D-list talking heads to share memories and commentary of VH1’s retro retrospectives in I ♥ “I LOVE THE [X]0s”. Participants included Dennis DiClaudio of (parenthetical note); Matthew Tobey of The City of Floating Blogs and Haypenny; Claire Zulkey; non-blogger of Zulkey.com, low-rent rock critic Mick Stingley;, Donnie Boman, editor of Über; Christopher Monks, writer of Utter Wonder; Amy Stender, of Fluid Motion; Jami Attenberg, writer of Whatever-Whenever; and the artist formerly known as Bunsen, editor of The Defamer.
Please note that Y.P.R. learned how to write the heart symbol months before everyone was hearting Huckabees.
In the canicular days of August, Choire Sicha announced he would step down from the captain’s seat of the blogosphere and Y.P.R. cooked up another Roast. Roasters included Mr. Sicha’s fellow Evanston High School alumna, Ms. Claire Zulkey; Gawker’s new editrix, Ms. Jessica Coen; Banterist’s grammar cop, Mr. Brian Sack; Gawker’s statistician, Mr. Andrew Krucoff; and many more.
When the Republican National Convention came stampeding into town, Y.P.R. was there to cover it. Special correspondents Dennis DiClaudio, Matthew Tobey, Tony Antoniadis, Will Layman, and Rob Theakston contributed to Y.P.R.’s R.N.C. in N.Y.C. 2004.
We even sold T-shirts.
Other August highlights include:
From “The Amazing E-mail Letters of Dr. Maria Marinario and Dr. Humphrey Ichovitzsky” by Carol Novack
Three Short Stories by Emily Comstock
Belated Apologies to Girls I Have Known by Brian Graham
Come September, as the political climate was approaching its boiling point, the Y.P.R. editors collaborated with Dennis DiClaudio of (parenthetical note) and Matthew Tobey of The City of Floating Blogs on a new Web site called The Starboard View, providing an outlet for conservative thought on the liberal blogosphere. Unfortunately, like the dreams of the reality-based community, it did not last.
Carrying on, September also saw the dèbut of The Y.P.R. Book Club—the only book club for which absolutely no reading is required. Y.P.R. readers participated by submitting parodies, deleted chapters, adaptations, and reviews of an assortment of topical books including:
Kitty Kelley’s The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty
Nicholson Baker’s Checkpoint
Other autumnal highlights:
Dispatches from the V.I.P. Lounge by Daniel Maurer
Conversations with My Mother Which Suggest She May Secretly Be a Primatologist by Kevin Zeidler
October and Y.P.R. geared up for the big showdown with truckloads of election-related material. It was fun, those days full of rosy optimism and unbridled hope. Sigh.
November spawned a monster by way of a mandate from the people. Y.P.R. did not handle this well. We dimly remember making rash suggestions on the morning after.
Struggling with Optimism in the
Face of a Mandate
by Three New Yorkers and a Michigander
How to Get a Boyfriend, as Explained to Me by My 11-Year-Old Sister by Leigh Stein
“Dear John” Letter from Oprah’s Dog by Diana Wurn
And in December, we pretty much took the whole month off. Y.P.R.: we try sometimes. Selected Tips from Emily Post’s Etiquette for Ukrainian Dinner Parties
Finally, we’d like to thank all of our good-looking contributors, and tip our hats to those who, no matter how many times we said no, kept submitting.