Dirty Words

If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.

Paper, plastic, or come again?

Mildly subversive or just plain juvenile, David K. Wheeler, a writer and bookseller, knows exactly what he’s doing when he asks if you’re in need of a “sack.”

In other words, Wheeler says: “I couldn’t help but notice you’re buying books; do you need supplementary masculine material to make it all the way home?” It might be perceived as challenging a man’s manhood, or the very existence of it thereof, but Wheeler argues that offering a woman a “bag” isn’t too far removed from calling her a spinster.

In a world that’s becoming increasingly NSFW, Wheeler does make some good points about the mutability of language, the influence of digital publishing, and that “vulgarity is there whether you like it or not, like Amazon.”

Whether or not you agree with Wheeler, at least he’s got the balls to say something.

You can read Wheeler’s essay, “Nuts to You,” at The Morning News.

What would Bukowski say?

Walt Whitman revised Leaves of Grass until he was on his deathbed, fortunately he didn’t live long enough to see his poetry peddling denim. Following on their “O Pioneers” campaign, Levi’s is launching a new, global ad featuring Bukowski’s “The Laughing Heart.”

You can read more about the ad campaign at PSFK (that is, if you give a shit).

Speaking of which…

MTV does give a shit. So much so that they just launched an aptly titled charity network to prove it. To promote Give-A-Shit.org, MTV has a promotional video of actress Nikki Reed saying, “we make real change happen, by making it a part of our daily lives. People all over are shitting their way to a better tomorrow.”

Although MTV is deploying shock value in the name of a good cause, Alex Goldmark writing for GOOD magazine says it isn’t good enough. “The site is a fun read, aimed at the laziest of the lazy in getting them to take that first baby step toward action — a tweet — but really, it doesn’t help anything much at all.”

You can read the rest of GOOD’s response and learn ways to really make a difference by clicking here.

***
— Benjamin Samuel is the Online Editor of Electric Literature. Feel free to call him out on his initials.

More Like This

Signs Your Son May Not Get into Harvard

"Chance Me" from Life Among the Terranauts by Caitlin Horrocks, recommended by Ramona Ausubel

Jan 20 - Caitlin Horrocks

The Problem With White Feminism

In her book, Koa Beck calls for collective action to demolish white feminism and build a more radical and inclusive movement in its place

Jan 20 - Seyward Darby

A New Graphic Novel Shows the History of the Black Panther Party

Even those who know about the movement will learn something new—and see how the past repeats itself

Jan 19 - Jennifer Baker
Thank You!