This Week in Words – Jun 16

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

Next week marks the official start of summer! To coincide with the summer solstice—which is Wednesday—Treehouse is introducing its second issue beginning with new material on Monday! Make sure you check it out. We’ve got some really excellent material lined up for this issue. I am not biased, I swear.

This Is Not an Interview
Caleb Andrew Ward, noted book reviewer and Jennifer Egan fan, sent me a link to a New Yorker article that’s certainly worth talking about, both for content and writing. The article was written by Avi Steinberg for the Culture Desk blog, which reports on arts and entertainment. “Hotties, Hunks, Beat Up, Celebrities: The Allure of the Mug Shot” is, in short, about mug shots and why they appeal to the public masses. It raises some excellent questions and commentaries about the cultural tastes of people as a whole, and it is intelligently written (which is pretty much what you can/should expect from the New Yorker). Steinberg even closes with an Updike quote that suggests the public’s attraction to mug shots “invites, like a psychoanalyst’s silence, self-exposure.” The article is full of well-crafted sentences, but it was this gem that hooked me, when Steinberg explained that some mug shot sites include links to the perp’s social networking sites: “Mug shots are the gargoyles crouching at the ledges of the cathedral of Facebook.”

Lit Mags that Aren’t Us
A couple of online lit mags I want to mention. First, from the West Coast, is a self-proclaimed “fledgling” mag called A Few Lines Magazine. It was started by some English students at Cal Poly Pomona with the hope of attracting “every form of individual expression” by “artists of all kinds.” Especially interesting is that they offer a workshop on their discussion board for emerging artists to share their work with likeminded individuals and get some feedback from readers. I think there can never be enough of these kinds of projects. Personally, I appreciate all the help I can get in making my work “publication-ready.”

The second magazine I just have to tell you about comes to us from across the pond. Straight out of Bath, England comes the fantastically named Ginger Piglet. Try saying that without a British accent. On their about page—rather, their “Behind the Scenes” page—they confess the name came from an actual group of three ginger piglets fighting over food. More specifically, they took note of a fourth pig who seemed to care nothing for the food, and “her independence and refusal of societal norms was noted and appreciated.” As far as origin stories go, I don’t think it gets any better than that. They publish pretty much anything with a “good, strong, interesting voice” both online and in print.