Saturday, April 07, 2007

Speaking of conflict

A rather tactless maneuver on the part of Eggers & Co. sends our thoroughly Gamma friend Jamie into an uncharacteristic diatribe:

I find myself compelled to write you angrily regarding the letter and "Proposal" you recently sent to lifetime subscribers thanking us for helping you through your “infancy” but now inquiring whether we might be willing to “move on,” that is, to begin paying you for a “normal yearly” subscription, now that you’re a full-grown and thriving professional magazine. In short, I respond: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
When Pretty Lady, herself not having been as prescient as dear Jamie in obtaining a lifetime subscription to McSweeney's for a mere c-note, read the offending proposal, she could understand his ire. For all its trademarked clever irony, the document comes across as distinctly passive-aggressive. Distinctly.

(Click to Read In Full. In fact, she highly recommends that you darlings click to read the entirety of Jamie's rant as well; the gentleman has certainly surpassed himself.)

What chiefly strikes Pretty Lady about this incident is that the selfsame tactics of self-referential irony and slapdash iconoclasm which rocketed our dear friend Mr. Eggers to fame and fortune are aging rather badly. What was cute and forgivable in a permanent adolescent are despicable, and perhaps legally actionable, business tactics.

This whole brouhaha, moreover, could have been avoided by the simple expedient of Owning Up to One's Mistakes; if McSweeney's, as an organization, had done the honorable by approaching its subscribers, hat in hand, and explaining, "We find ourselves in the embarrassing position of being the victims of our own success. Honestly, we didn't expect to survive for this long--not long enough to have our publishing house go out of business before we did. We made our name by sticking it to The Man, and now, we find to our consternation that we ARE The Man. And being The Man is more difficult than ever we imagined. It involves, for one thing, having to charge market rate for our subscriptions."

Of course, Gawker broke the news about this before ever Pretty Lady heard about it. Such a retiring life she lives, these days.


mitzibel said...

Dave Eggers is, in part, responsible for me thinking I could write a memoir. I read his, and the whole way through I was thinking, "Oh, how very "clever." Not a single sentence of this work that his friends did not consider to be terribly "clever" made it into the final draft. I could write this hack out of the water."

Pretty Lady said...

You certainly can, Mitzibel. Writing by Gen X Committee has had its day, and that day is OVER. Rock on.