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Area woman and aspiring writer Jodi Tannenbaum, after a third attempt at getting published by the literary website McSweeney’s (in its “Lists” section), found herself “totally in the middle of that scene from Swingers.”

“You know that famous scene,” she said, “where the guy, not Vince Vaughn… the other guy…he calls a girl he likes and says something embarrassing on her answering machine, so he calls back again to explain, and then again to explain that—wait—what do you mean you didn’t see it?”

When Tannenbaum’s humor piece about 80s alt-rock band The Smiths was not accepted, she noticed that her rejection letter did not include the “keep trying” tag she had received in two previous rejection letters. She attempted to brushed it off as a possible error or a matter of the editor “being in a rush.”

The following day, however, when she saw a headline on the Pitchfork website breaking news about Morrissey’s upcoming tour, she couldn’t help but respond to the rejection letter by attaching a link to the Pitchfork piece with a short note asking McSweeney’s if they were “sure.”

Tannenbaum later qualified this by saying, “I went back and forth about whether or not to use a winking smiley face emoji but figured that would be frowned upon in McSweeney’s circles, so ultimately I opted against it. But then I pretty much tortured myself for the rest of the day wondering if my questioning their decision would be perceived as ‘hostile.'”

As of this reporting, McSweeney’s has not responded to Tannenbaum’s follow-up letter, but she remains hopeful that come May, when Morrissey is in San Francisco, she may yet hear back from [email protected]




Titles Of Songs By The Smiths
If Morrissey Hadn’t Been Miserable
Or Maybe Had Grown Up In San Diego

by Jodi Tannenbaum


“Panic” – “Centered”

“How Soon Is Now?” – “I Don’t Mind Waiting”

“There is a Light That Never Goes Out” – “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”

“Meat is Murder” – “I Could Live on Bean and Cheese Burritos”

“Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” – “It’s Possible I Got Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed”

“Girlfriend in a Coma” – (scrapped)

“This Charming Man” – “This Charming Man”

“The Headmaster Ritual” – “She Said She’s Waiting Til Marriage”

“Bigmouth Strikes Again” – “I Misspoke”

“What Difference Does It Make” – “Everything Happens For A Reason”

“That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” – “That Joke Was Hilarious”

“Still Ill” – “Still Illin'”

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RACHEL POLLON is a native Los Angeleno. Her writing has appeared online at The Nervous Breakdown, The Coachella Review, The Rumpus and The Weeklings, and in paperback form in The Beautiful Anthology and Teen Girls’ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny. These pieces and more can be found on her website SeismicDrift.com. On Twitter she’s @RachPo and on Instagram @RachPoWills.

6 responses to “Area Woman, Rejected By McSweeney’s, Comes Close to Totally Reenacting That Scene from Swingers

  1. dave eggers says:

    very possible this wasn’t published because it’s dreadfully unfunny.

  2. topher eggers says:

    because pretending to be someone famous when you so woefully aren’t is high hilarity, right? make your own dinner, bro.

  3. Hi RachPo

    These comments are giving me a meta-headache.

    I’m a skinny bespectacled white bloke from north west England, born in 1971, but I’ve never been a Smiths fan. How is this possible?

    • Rachel says:

      I know. I feel like a grown up Alice in Wonderland crawling through a meta tunnel in a McSweeneys-themed house of horrors. (I do quite fancy this Topher bloke though.)

      I don’t know how you grew up not liking The Smiths. Maybe they needed to come on the scene when you were more of an angst-ridden young adult rather than a coming of age teen. All I know is I stopped eating meat for six months because of my devotion to them. Maybe you should put them on in the background while you do this and that and see what might seep in. Or maybe you should wait for the San Diego remix limited edition red vinyl LP to be released.

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