So we’ve found ourselves in possession of this wonderful photograph, taken by Heather D’Augustine:

We think this is a great image to use to promote D. R. Haney’s Subversia, the maiden TNB Book, because, and I’m pretty sure Don Draper mentioned this in his pitch to the folks at London Fog, and even Peggy Olsen would agree, if you can build your ad campaign around either a photo of an infirm dude in a hospital bed or a photo of a woman’s pretty legs, you go with the legs.

The only problem is, we can’t seem to come up with a decent tagline.  So we figured, hey, Milo’s limerick contest went pretty well, and everyone digs that cartoon caption contest on the back page of The New Yorker (I actually can’t stand that contest, but whatever)– why don’t we do the same thing?

So here it is: Think of a good tagline for the picture.  Post it in the comments section below.  Enter as often as you like.

The criteria, naturally, is something that will make a visitor to the site want to click on the slide and buy the book. It doesn’t have to be the funniest or the sexiest or anything other than, simply, terrific ad copy.

The contest closes at the stroke of midnight, PST, on Monday, December 27. The winner receives a signed copy of Subversia, plus a personal note from the author…and the honor of having bested the best minds of the TNB Universe.

Thanks, folks.  Now go make Don Draper proud (and Duke happy).

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The Nervous Breakdown is an online culture magazine and literary community. It was founded in 2006. Our masthead can be found here.

135 responses to “Pretty Legs And All: The Subversia Photo Caption Contest”

  1. dogboi says:

    Click here to see more

    (it will never fail. No one ever said what they’d be seeing more of.)

  2. Joe J. says:

    Subversia: So good, you want it between your legs.

  3. Joe J. says:

    Subversia: It’s like underwear, but readable

  4. Joe J. says:

    D.R. Haney has been to the places you’ve wished you could go.

  5. Joe J. says:

    Hopefully I’ve inspired someone to come up with something better than that crap. 🙂

  6. LoBWit says:

    The Great American Non-Novel

  7. LoBWit says:

    The Great American UnNovel

  8. julieako says:

    Read Me

  9. Subversia by Duke Haney. Includes the acclaimed essays, “What’s for Dinner?,” “Are Those Converse?” and “Yes, You Can Use That as Dental Floss.”

  10. Kymberlee says:

    You know you want to know what’s inside.

  11. SUBVERSIA…because you’re not dead yet.

  12. tammy allen says:

    A direct quote from you:

    “The only way to get a lot back is to put a lot out”

  13. tammy allen says:

    Have you seen my head?

  14. tammy allen says:


    A collection of true stories with legs.

  15. Connie says:

    Between the Lines.

  16. tammy allen says:


    One man’s walk on the wild side.



    Would these eyes lie?



    Hardly the lap of luxury.

  17. tammy allen says:


    will steal your heart.

  18. tammy allen says:


    A brutally alluring comedy of one man’s life.

  19. Janine Adair Kohanim Ferrell says:

    EAT ME. (what? It’s an Alice in Wonderland reference…very literary)

  20. dwoz says:

    Something old (enough), Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue.

  21. dwoz says:


  22. dwoz says:

    “…before you can eat your dessert, you have to read your dinner.”

  23. bubba-boudreau says:

    Subversia: Everyone has a few pages of life worth the fondle.

  24. Subversia™ gave me the slim, toned thighs I’ve always wanted! Thanks, Subversia™!

    (Consult your doctor before beginning a course of Subversia™. May contain anal leakage)

  25. Please note that the health warning featured there was not a comment on the quality of Duke’s writing. It was a Joke™.

  26. Gloria says:

    Subversia – it’s crotch-sized!

  27. Nathaniel Missildine says:

    Someone’s bound to go down on you tonight.

  28. Not your mother’s lap dance.

  29. admin says:

    Click where there isn’t a dick.

  30. Ben Loory says:

    long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.

  31. dwoz says:

    “…one of these things is not like the others…”

  32. dwoz says:

    “…two things you may want to take your time exploring.”

  33. dwoz says:

    “…Coitus Interruptus.”

  34. Erika Rae says:

    Your mom read this book.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Actually, my mom hasn’t read either of my books. I told her not to read the first, which after all starts with “It all began with a fuck,” and she objects to the cover of Subversia. She thinks it’s awful that I’m all beaten up.

  35. Erika Rae says:

    Duke Haney goes all the way in Subversia.

  36. Erika Rae says:

    Duke Haney is begging you not to put him down.

  37. Erika Rae says:

    Go underground with D.R. Haney.

  38. Erika Rae says:

    Subversia: A book to go down with the best of them.

  39. Erika Rae says:

    D.R. Haney in Subversia: Where no man has gone before.

  40. Erika Rae says:

    Subversia: Read it without pants.

  41. Scott W. says:

    Subversia: Get intimate with Haney’s intimate life.

  42. Art Edwards says:

    You know what you want.

  43. D.R. Haney says:

    Wow. This is going to be hard.

    That isn’t a caption! I’m talking about picking a winner.

    Keep ’em coming, if you can. Maybe a clear-cut winner will emerge from the bunch — something everyone can immediately agree outpaces the others.

  44. tammy allen says:


    The birth of . . .

  45. Don Mitchell says:

    Asnicker and Old Lace

    Nah. But I’ve already typed it.

  46. Don Mitchell says:

    Click where to enter?

  47. Nathaniel Missildine says:

    Some guys only think about getting laid up.

  48. Hmm, this photo looks tres Lolita to me with the girlish inward tip of the sneakers. Which calls to mind the tagline on the movie poster in the SUBVERSIA documentary … what was it … “your daughters will never be safe again”? Or maybe that’s *too* subversive 😉

    • D.R. Haney says:

      That was a ridiculous tagline. I’m sure it was used “ironically” in the doc.

      I think Heather’s inspiration for the photo was high-end girlie-magazine stuff from the early seventies. So she told me. Her husband had recently sent away for way-old back issues of Playboy and its forgotten sister publication Oui, and she probably took note of my rapt absorption in scanning the magazines when they came.

      Field research. Always field research.

  49. Samuel Derek Parnell says:

    How about: “Smart Chics Read” or simply “Smart People Read”. The irony is perhaps that in our current culture, reading itself is a bit subversive. There you have it, “Reading Is Subversive”.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Derek, you know James Reid, don’t you? Well, at one point, seven or eight years ago, in the course of remarking on how hard it is to be “rebellious” now that so much is permissible, he asked me what I thought it would take to be rebellious these days. I said, reflexively, “Be intelligent.” James went around quoting me for years. I would meet people, and James would say, “This is the guy who said, ‘Be intelligent’!”

      So good to see you here, man. Can you please please please hang out soon?

      • Samuel Derek Parnell says:

        What with the depression, I mean recession, and all, I was genuinely hoping to win a copy of your book. Not trying to schmooze with the judges or anything, but I really dug your article on failed artist children stories. I had a good laugh/cry of it.

        How about: “Subversia: Afternoon Delight”?

        You ever listen to the Subhumans? Your title always reminds me of Subvert City.

        Wait, I’ve got it: “Subversia: Getting the pants off of young women everywhere”.

  50. Debb says:

    Go ahead, take a peek.

  51. Subversia: Read between the legs.

  52. dwoz says:

    “…I know what girls want…

    …I know what guys need…”

  53. Zara Potts says:

    Subversia – Feed Your Head.

  54. Jacqui says:

    I love this site, read often and enjoy your writing – pretty much all of it. Its funny, intelligent, thought provoking, challenging. Really great writing.

    So, even having read the explanation for the inspiration for the photo……..(taking a deep breath)

    I was surprised to see this photo and this competition.

    When you show part of a woman’s (girl’s) body, not the whole, in a sexualised context, its dehumanising, degrading. And gross. And exploitative. Its mainstream. Not subversive.

    Don’t think it fits Duke’s writing at all.

    Caption – The book is way better than the photograph.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      To be fair, the photo itself isn’t particularly sexualized unless you consider any photo of a woman that doesn’t include her face exploitative, which is problematic, as sometimes it’s a fine line between feminism and a sort of Victorian fear of/shame about sexuality.

      The comments/commentary are what sexualize it.

      On a totally feminism-unrelated note, I thought the innuendo-based taglines were simply bad strategy. Unless you’re only trying to sell the book to men. Maybe that’s the plan. I don’t know.

      So the challenge is for folks like you and I, who recognize the gender issues inherent in using an innuendo-based tagline (regardless of what we think which among them is the most problematic) is to come up with something that isn’t innuendo-based.

      So far, I’ve got nothing.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        That’s an interesting point, Becky, about innuendo. Obviously, there would be no plan to sell the book only to men.

        This is in no way meant as a slight to the photo, but I did have qualms about suggesting it as a promotional slide for the reason that Jacqui states: I knew it could be taken as exploitive.

        I wasn’t thinking about whether the picture was “subversive,” which I don’t think is a selling point for the book anyway, not particularly, despite the title. The picture already existed, and I was flattered that my friend had taken it, and one of the things that struck me, when I first saw it, was that the cover image was used in a way that I would never thought to use it — that is, the head was used as just that. Also, the photo is here run sideways, but the feet in it are meant to be at the top of the frame so that the body is upside down, just as the head on the cover of Subversia is turned on its side, so there was an interesting thing, to me, about bodies not being as they are, as well as a kind of meta thing. I also thought the lighting was painterly.

        In any case, the concerns raised here are certainly something that should be taken into account, and they will be, I’m sure.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          I agree with you about the photo, Duke.

          My first reaction to it, as yours, was one of “that’s a cool photo,” not, “should I be offended by this?”

          I hope I didn’t give the impression it was the other way around.

          And I don’t think innuendo should be disqualified. I was just trying to acknowledge Jacqui’s objection while at the same time standing up for the pic.

          I think it’s a great pic, for many of the reasons you mention. And also because I like her shoes.

          I think you should use it.

          And I think you should use any tagline you want.

          If TNB and/or its book brand undertook such an over-careful PC stance that this photo could not be used, I’m sure Jacqui wouldn’t find the site nearly as appealing. I know I wouldn’t.

          We are all bound to take offense at some point. Thank God.

        • Jadzie says:

          I’d buy this book based on the photograph and I sprinkled my menstrual blood on a Bora Ring as a fuck you.

        • Samuel Derek Parnell says:

          Stick your tongue in your cheek and make somebody laugh. That will sell the book.

  55. Richard Lynne says:

    Eat these words.

  56. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Subversia… If you’re into a Freudian slip.

  57. Justin Benton says:

    Peel slowly and read.

  58. dwoz says:

    “…curl up (or, not) with a good book.”

  59. dwoz says:

    “…you can try to put it down…”

  60. dwoz says:

    “…what innuendo? “

  61. dwoz says:

    “…not forbidden. Just slightly dangerous.”

  62. dwoz says:

    “…short skirts and short stories for short attention spans…”

  63. dwoz says:

    not showing up for some reason:


  64. Subersia: Because a Dirty Mind is its Own Reward.

  65. Sorry, late at night SUBVERSIA! Forgot the V.

  66. Michael Farkas says:


    Keeping my Subversia jacket *on* because even in my inanimate state I can smell her yeast infection.

  67. Steven Marker says:

    “Sometimes it IS what’s between your legs that’s important.”

  68. MizzSabra says:

    Subversia: Not the girl next door

  69. Debbie Heaney says:

    Subversia: A Book that You just can’t put Down

  70. “Outside of a woman, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a woman, it’s too dark to read.” is what Groucho would have said if he read this book.

    Subversia, dark enough to want you to try anyway…

  71. Subversia…you’d want your face buried in this.

  72. Kristin says:

    Slip and Fall

    Crotch Rocket

  73. dwoz says:

    “…just one more story.”

  74. sheree says:

    Brilliant photo. Forgive my ignorance. What does Subversia mean? I’ve never heard the word and google is not providing me with a definition of the word. So I’m stuck in stupid mode with no hope for escape. Little help please and thanks.

  75. something something American Apparel something

  76. […] Awhile back, we held a contest concerning a caption for a cool photo. […]

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