Take Risks But Be Safe

Short Stories: Stories shouldn’t exceed five-hundred words. We are not too drawn to erotica but, if it’s tasteful, we will see what happens. Excessive cursing is unnecessary and all stories should “show,” “flow,” and “move.” Woody Allen or Hemingway or anyone entangled in the scifi-romance-whatever Midnight in Paris wrote, “No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.” Please, remember to dot your I’s and cross your T’s. In this circumstance, this means that all punctuation should be where they’re supposed to be, all proper nouns and every word after a period should be capitalized, if you’re indenting, all paragraphs should be indented, and the tense of the story should be constant. Call us anal. We are anal.

Poetry: Poetry should be no more than ten lines or just not unreasonably long. We prefer abstract pieces that veer from the usual sonnets and haikus. If you are influenced by the works of the Beat Generation, you are the one for us. But any art is perfect as long as you put your heart into it. We are also fans of spoken word particularly similar to Brian Dykstra and Steve Colman. We respect that many spoken word artists are emotive but we believe that there is a way to express yourself while saving us from the gore. Sunni Patterson and Talib Kweli are two of our favorite limit-pushing spoken word artists. If you stumbled upon this page and are new to writing in all, read up on poetry to get started.

Photography: Everything is art. High-resolution photos only, though.

The Actual Damage of Virals and Memes

Twitter is rife with miscellaneous embarrassing Vines and photos. Let’s jump right into this with lists and photos before we lose your attention.

Example One – The Miami police officer who once did porn

  • We are still controversial beings and are drawn in by the internet’s way of writing intriguing headlines but that doesn’t make the feedback this story received okay. Sabine Raymonvil is the real-life version of the stripper-1paying-her-way-through-college character. Raymonvil did a couple porns and it didn’t interfere with her career until a swarm of Local 10 News stalked her while she was on the job. Surely, it wasn’t a swarm but we could exaggerate things, too. Feminism is in full application here. We don’t mean to sound too Cosmo-esque but.. why do we care again? #feminism!

Example Two – The kid who could’ve just said “Nineteen”

  • On a lighter note, the kid’s life will never be the same but the jokes were all in good fun. Vine exploded with “twenty-one” videos, redefining the number completely. Hopefully the little guy in the poorly-lit video (do we even know what he actually looks like?) isn’t too emotionally damaged by how vulnerable we are and how quickly the internet can swallow us whole.

Example Three – Blatant cyber bullying

  • A mother who carried, birthed, and loves her daughter who was born with a chromosonal syndrome was victim to internet users using her daughter’s photo as a meme with the daughter’s appearance the sick punch line. The innocent family was faced with the unexpected and permanent hurt the internet can cause all due to the mother probably sharing her daughter’s photo in positive fun. Can we just imagine that for a moment? You wait nine long months to meet the purest, most helpless creature in the world and then you get news that she might be sick. But that doesn’t stop you because, deep down with your maternal instinct, you see that’s she just as perfect and pure and innocent as you imagined. She loves you unconditionally and you the same. She is completely dependent on you and you’re making a huge impact on her life by sourcing her with the self esteem she’s gonna need in this progressive big bad world. Then some underexposed individual seeks to tarnish it! Worse, all of this holds no consequence to the first person who posted the girl’s photo. Put your mother or your sister in the little girl’s position. Just anyone can have their picture taken and torn apart by the internet. The fear of being cyber bullied across the world is mortifying and needs to not be a thing. The same goes for the part of the internet that thinks it’s okay to openly make fun of heavier individuals.

Scenario One:

  • A teenage boy takes a sly video of a mother disciplining her son in the middle of Target. She’s down at his level and speaking to him calmly but he smacks some hangers out of her hand and screams “Shut up, mom!” Typically, the internet responds by comparing her lack of firmness to every single one of their mother’s perfect parenting. In a perfect world, some stand up for her and the negative guys retreat. Mother responds: Thank you, Internet, for not hating me for something that had nothing to do with you anyway!

Scenario Two:

  • A couple is sitting in a food court people watching. Naturally, they are judging because that’s what “people watching” is. They make facetious remarks about the people they see– “Look at me, I have purple hair. I’m following the rainbow hair movement. I’m like so current and I’m totally gonna land a good job.” “My goodness, what a fucking mom letting her kid sit on the dirty floor. The kid’s gonna get sick. And then we wonder where all these viruses are coming from.” A security camera catches every single word and the footage ends up on the nightly news headlined “Couple People Watches At Mall, Judges and Bashes Bystanders For Hours: Is This The Current Thought Process? How You Can Make a Change!” The couple’s online life is forever ruined and they are stamped small-minded, ignorant, and, in some way, racist. As we know, we’re in the middle of a race era so anything and everything that has to do with race (good or bad) is internet gold.

Hopefully, somewhere in internetdom, someone can realistically not allow a total stranger’s actions affect them since that person will be just as ignorant and racist making any observation they want to make. So long as we’re not going out of our way to hurt each other, almost grimacing at a revealing man in a speedo at the beach is okay. We all have to live with our flaws and we’re never proud of them. Shaming each other as a result of a shameful trait (let alone for no good reason) is not conducive to anything. And why does it matter anyway? The internet is the mecca for avoiding direct communicate yet the internet will communicate directly to address their disagreement toward something that has nothing to do with them in the first place. Let us make personal decisions that we disagree with as extinct as the old attack-grammar-in-the-middle-of-an-argument move. Let us not birth a morbid fear of being attacked by the internet on matters that is, in truth, none of our business.

Words and Phrases to Eliminate From Your Vocabulary

In order to sound and be more professional, we must practice proper phrasing. Next to Italian and Spanish, French is one of the most sophisticated languages in the world. A lot of the sentence structure is similar to the way Britain structures their sentence. For example, “s’il vous plait” directly translates to “if you may.” Sounds super English! Meanwhile, us Americans just say “please.” And, ironically, a preface to apologize for vulgar language in America is “pardon my French.” We don’t have to speak exactly like the French or the English but we should strive to eliminate certain words and phrases from our vocabulary so we can sound more.. like grownups. This isn’t to say that us regular folk speak perfectly all of the time. In writing, integrating the overused filler “like” into dialogue might make the characterization relatable. But try!

  • Obviously
    • Starting a sentence with the word “obviously” is not only repetitive to what can be seen with the human eye; it obnoxiously downplays what could be learned information.
  • “Honestly,” “in my opinion,” or both– “Honestly, in my opinion”
    • It’s safe to assume that a statement is going to be an honest one coming from the speaker’s brain.
  • “They” or “It”
    • Who said? Who are “they?” Usually, “they” is used in reference to one person on behalf of an institution. Find out who said what (and which department they’re in) and share the information that way. CW Demarreau in Purchasing resubmitted my medical paperwork.
  • Sentences starting with “It’s like”
    • Again, what’s like? What is “it.” It’s the feeling you get when you’re falling can be Descending a roller coaster is similar to the adrenaline that rushes through your body when you’re falling. You really have to tap into what “it” is, though. Only then will your sentence be upgraded to 2.0!
  • “Told me” or “He said [that]”
    • Technically, not everything is physically told. To assist in sounding less juvenile, try I was told or So-and-so informed me. This kind of wording addresses the fact that information was shared but not specifically verbally. If the individual did “say,” the sentence can stand alone as He said he went to the banquet as opposed to He said that he went to the banquet. Same with “I believe that” but we won’t be using “I believe,” now will we?
  • “In a sense of” or “On an intellectual level”
    • You might be doing too much if you start or extend your sentences with “in a sense of.” Utilizing “level” to provide description might also be too wordy. Try simplifying with simple adjectives like what you’re actually trying to describe. Further, “utilizing” is unnecessary when you actually mean “using.” Sometimes “utilizing” is utilized just to sound smarter. In that case, don’t stop there– say “for the utility of” or “in the function of.” Reusing words is acceptable (we just did so four sentences ago). “In a sense” defines feeling so no fact is actually in a sense. On an intellectual level, you surpass can be Intellectually, you surpass. Don’t rely too heavily on Microsoft Word’s right-click > Synonyms.

Seventeen Terms that Make Journalism So 2015

In this day-and-age, journalism has conformed with technology users’ aptitude for convenience. Yahoo!, Cosmopolitan, and BuzzFeed are all big on the list-making. In fact, BuzzFeed was created to test a content’s viral-ability so, naturally, they appeal to those individuals basically driving what’s popular on the internet. The news is obtained on Twitter and Tumblr nowadays. The tweets and posts don’t even have to include citations. In fact, Ok! Magazine doesn’t reference public relations representative specific– they just write “a source.” The older the internet becomes, the more compact the website layout, the larger the photos, the lesser the words. Users want the internet to be a picture book summarizing what they’re reading as opposed to real news articles offering actual, credible information. Too many times the news has had to backtrack or change their tone because they were too much in a rush for you all to read all about it.

Although minimalism is good in some aspects (like this 1990 Yahoo! homepage juxtaposed with current Yahoo! for example), it’s annoying in others like when posting these article-lists is considered credible practice of journalism and a three part rant about 90’s cartoons lands the writer a job with the New Yorker. We’re not envious, though.

Old Yahoo! - so many links!

Old Yahoo! – so many links!

We adore BuzzFeed and will gladly, quickly skim through the numbered, bolded text of their “15 Scenes That Made Us Go ‘Gah!'” We’ve even conformed! We just wish the places we depend on for information wasn’t so receptive of the BuzzFeed-esque publishing technique. Cosmopolitan, which was once a magazine women relied on for hygiene and beauty, has fit into the total-teeny-bopper part of things with their stories so trendy they may as well be drawn-out Facebook statuses. For example, not only does the writer utilize the à la mode, jejune term “all the feels” in this post, no actual news was given. Either we’re going through an information deficit (which is odd as we are in the age of sharing) or we’re all so eager to be the first one to know about anything, we’re willing to knock tables over in our fit to rush and blurt out the first thing we learn.

With that being said, here are seventeen terms (that stem from the slam-my-hands-on-my-keyboard-to-type trend) that professional writers are using these days. It doesn’t make any sense but it adds that comical flare Brian Williams definitely needed/could’ve used:

  1. bae
  2. on fleek
  3. ornah
  4. turnt
  5. slay
  6. throwing shade
  7. basic bitch
  8. side piece
  9. all the feels
  10. this is life/what is life
  11. bye, felicia
  12. yass
  13. dead
  14. no chill
  15. no tea/give me the tea
  16. romantical

We’ve also noticed an increase in the purposely misleading term “slam” and the word “monicer.” Just an observ, though. Observ– use that!