Monday, September 20, 2004

The sound and the fury

Never one to court controversy, let me make a deeply iconoclastic declaration: for a group of people who are supposed to be hip, with-it, and up on all the latest stuff, McSweeney's web site really kind of sucks.

As my one major piece of evidence, let me cite the Future McSweeney's Books page. 'Nuff said. You wouldn't even know that Eggers has a book of short stories due out, unless you found it here on Amazon. (Or read McSweeney's print catalog, which is as beautifully produced as McSweeney's books.)

Although, if you think about it, McSweeney's books kind of suck, too. I have a shiny new nickel for you if you can name anyone besides me who owns any books by McSweeney's that aren't written by Dave Eggers. (A shiny Michigan quarter for you if you can name the two McSweeney's books not written by Dave Eggers that I own. And yes, I will mail said quarter or nickel to you. This offer expires Oct. 1 or after five successful claims, whichever comes first. Here's a hint. Neither of them were all that good.)

Of course, as soon as I decide to make this claim, I start digging through the McSweeney's website and find the McSweeney's Recommends page, which is both cool and very entertaining. Although they are behind the curve on contemporary jazz. I was digging on Brad Mehldau and The Bad Plus a year and a half ago.


Anonymous said...

Amen. Their Web site is crap. Sad thing is, there is some decent content if you can actually find it. But I don't know if I have ever seen a more cumbersome site in this modern age of the Internet. I think Gavin and I have discussed this before, but given that McSweeney's puts quite a bit of effort into the *presentation* (typography, layout, graphic design) of their books, you would think that they might take a similar approach to their Web site. Now the sites for 826 Valencia and 826 NYC (Eggers' sponsored writing centers), and the pirate/superhero stores therein, have a bit more appeal, but I suppose that is in line with Eggers positioning himself as a truly noble dude. It looks like nobility translates into quality of Web site. I imagine if you cornered McSweeney's about all of this, they would argue that to be "hip and with-it" is to not give a hoot about your Web site -- for all the time you spend on the Internet, you should just take your shoes off and go throw a frisbee or something, you latte-drinking-yupee-mother-F'er. Yeah, that's what they would say.

And how 'bout that nickel? Does it count if someone gave me the Future Dictionary of America for my birthday? Or how 'bout if I have a subscription to the Quarterly Concern?

And I had to preorder How We are Hungry from Amazon. The ideals touted for YSKOV seem to have dropped off the map.

Robin said...

Yeah, I always interpreted the suckola design of the website as being sort've deeply intentional -- ostentatiously lo-rez.

Seriously, though, who else does McSweeney's publish? I have no idea. Neal Pollack? You must have a book by Neal Pollack. And I don't think Heidi Julavits' book was published by McS., but I'll guess that anyway. Do I win $0.25?

Gavin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gavin said...

Neal Pollack is one of my non-Eggers McSweeney's books, but for the Quarter, you need both. :-)