L E T T E R S.

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Date: April 25, 2000
From: Möose

Dear McSweeney's:

I adöred the "12 minutes over reykjavík" piece. It really broke up my böredom. Keep these sharp multicultural pieces cöming. I just wish I had söme herring to eat while reading it.

BS Möose

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Date: April 24, 2000
From: Sean Carman

Dear McSweeney's:

Sarah Vowell will be reading from Take the Canolli, her new collection of contributions to This American Life, at Elliot Bay Bookstore in Seattle on Thursday the 27th. If you add hyper-links to every capitalized noun in the previous sentence (except the date, of course) it will be quite colorful. But my point is, you only have three days to arrange an introduction for me, her alter-ego (see earlier letter). Otherwise I'll have to introduce myself cold as "that guy who wrote that thing on the website about David Gergen," and frankly, I just don't know how well that's going to go over. I don't have a ticket yet, and the reading may well be sold out, which will only makes things that much more wonderful for me if you contact her on my behalf, and that much more difficult and embarassing for Ms. Vowell and me if you don't.

Thanks in advance,

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Date: April 24, 2000
Subject: [none]

Dearest Sirs and Madams or Representatives and Whatnot:

You are aware already, no doubt, of this new young German hotshot writer who is now being published in the states after much hoopla and fanfare in his native country at the tender age of 18. Publication here, in the states at the age 18, that is. The book was written and encouraged aforementioned hoopla and fanfare when this young man, named Benjamin Lebert, was actually only 16. I say you are already aware because you kind of people must be the very image of "the hip, downtown literati set" various media are talking about when they use that particular phrasing, whether said facetiously, sneeringly, or not. So, since we may assume that you are hip and knowing, then you must know about young Benjamin Lebert. In the past certain authors (and achievers in various other disciplines) have had the label wunderkind atttached to them. Writers such as David Foster Wallace or perhaps even Bret Easton Ellis since they were young and tender when they wrote their first books. John Hawkes was young and tender when he wrote his first novel, The Cannibal, but that was ages ago and sadly no one yells drunkenly and with panache in bars about Hawkes' work any longer. The point being, these aforementioned young and tender writers (and others that have not been mentioned) were not as young as 16 or even 18. Nor were they German. This is important. I don't consider a 22- or 24-year-old writer a child, even though they may be young and tender. A 16-year-old author may more likely be considered a child. Plus, he's German. And wunderkind (loosely translated "wonder child" or "super child" or "amazing child") is a German word. Therefore, this guy, this Benjamin Lebert has emerged almost messianically as a kind of Original Wunderkind. The Platonic Form of wunderkind. The Ubërwunderkind. He has come to reclaim that much tossed-around descriptor and to save it from further abuse. So let's pronounce a moratorium. No more calling people wunderkind. Okay? Are we on the same page here? Are our ducks in a row? I hope so. I can't do it without you, you the voice of "the hip and knowing downtown literati" (even if "downtown" now actually applies to sections of Williamsburg and not the Fratboy-ish East Village) scene. Pass it on.

I am as ever Teutonically yours,
William "Bill" Spratch Davair

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Date: April 13, 2000
Subject: About time

Dear McSwoneys,

It looks like you've made some changes! It's about time you lowered the quality of your writing! No, but seriously, Hi. (It's so liberating to put two spaces after a period again!). This is great, it's like some kind of religious thing. "No, I'm the MR, see, I'm in Rome!" "So what? you've perverted Jesus, I'm the MR!" Personally I don't take much stock in any religion not run by the Queen of England [that's a metaphor].

Best of luck

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Date: April 13, 2000
Subject: The crap that happens to me.

Dear McSweeneys,

Today I was banned for life from my favorite deli. They had no Combos and I alerted them, and everyone else there, to that fact and begged the Creator for an explanation. All this: fortissimo. They said I had to go and could never come back. Why? For causing a disturbance. I disagreed. They told me that wearing a "Here comes trouble" t-shirt did not constitute permission.

Also my supervisor was stuttering (he's not normally a stutterer, I am not a clod who makes fun of stutterers) trying to say "no." And says "nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh" and I go "Batman!" I didn't get fired but let me tell you, this is some hostile working environment. Things have definitely turned out of my favor.

Yours truly, deeply, madly,
Paschel L. Barkin, hapless drone

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Date: April 13, 2000
Subject: Twins

Twins. (Twins).

"The chain-smoking twins with their long hair, vacant expressions and claims of divinity became the objects of wide-spread curiosity abroad."

(You have an endearing mop, no doubt, and a twinkle in your eye.)

Bu Lu and Bu Joh are the 12 year old twin leaders of God's Army. In God's Army, there are 400,000 invisible heavenly soldiers.

(According to sitemeter.com, mcsweeneys.net and .com combined got 15,523 hits this week. Times 52 weeks is 807,196 hits a year.)

Unfortunately, each soldier in God's Army has three magic bullets, and each magic bullet makes 10 holes. That's 12,000,000 holes.

(A full 17% of your hits come from .EDU domains.)

Once, when Bu Joh was bathing in a stream, he shouted to everybody, "Look at me!" and he jumped into the water. When he came out he was an old man with long white hair and a white beard. All the soldiers were afraid, but he said, "Don't be afraid: I'm Bu Joh! If you don't believe me, I'll change back." And he jumped back into the water and came out as a boy again.

(The water at Galapagos is 4 inches deep.)

What we need, my new friends, are not dreams, but miracles. Miracles, and LOTS of magic bullets.

Sam Stark

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Date: April 13, 2000
Subject: ha ha

A-Sinistra McSweeneys,,

okay. you can stop now. your shit isn't that funny. and the real mcsweeneys is back. your protest has lost its teeth. avoid the MM deluge now, while you're still on the tail end of clever.

Portland, Maine

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Date: April 12, 2000
Subject: Apology

Dear M.R.

Oh man, oh man. I have been cleaning out my old email. Reviewed the eight (or so) letters I sent to the M.R. during the M.M. debacle/triumph/miasma. Seven were sort of okay, light little fluffy things, essentially harmless and all-in-good-fun but then OH-MY-GOD was one horrible and rude and vicious, to the point that I am so dreadfully embarassed and ashamed that I have been trying to convince myself that I must have been possessed by some kind of Rosemary's Baby-like demon when I wrote it. Awful, awful. But unfortunately I am not a person who acheives a state of denial very easily and I have thus come to the conclusion that I must be a complete and total f--king dick.

I actually hope that you have no record of the email in question. I pray that it was screened by someone other than Mr. Eggers and given the immediate vaporization it so richly deserved. I offer no excuse for my words (though jealousy certainly provided motivation). I do not expect or even ask forgiveness; to do so would give further insult. I am writing only to apologize and to compliment.

Thank you for producing your fine webpage(s), and other superlative texts which I have previously disparaged.

Steven Bock

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Date: April 12, 2000

Lewis Tate is a hoax, and uses the word faux when he really means folks. He fails, yet tries, to use too many letters in his words. And his emotions are all the wrong color. Please disregard him.

Semper Fi!

Marshall McLaughlin

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Date: April 12, 2000
From: David Leadingham

Dear McSweeneys,

I don't understand. The first McSweeneys sight said that YOU were the impersonation, which I think is true, but after the whole MM situation, I don't know what to believe. Are you all owned by one person who finds some perverse pleasure in watching its readers become confused, or are you someone who has nothing to do with the first sight, but saw all the angry mail about the MMs, and decided to make your own McSweeneys in the image of the original? At any rate, the pictures are too many pictures to be the real thing, but I'm still curious about what's going on.

Valerie L.

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Date: April 12, 2000
Subject: Catchpole, Old North French, cachepol, literally, chicken chaser

Dear Other McSweeney's,

I am losing perspective. Things seem funny one minute and stupid the next. Like that long letter I sent you.


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Date: April 12, 2000
Subject: dark grey cotton socks

Two weeks ago I sent you three pairs of dark grey cotton socks with good support up top. Two days later I received a handwritten thank-you note and a package of homemade chocolate chip cookies from you. Three days after that I received your mix tape. (Is that you singing "Jungle Love" on the third track? It does not sound like Steve Miller.) And then just yesterday I received six signed copies of your book and an envelope containing what might be your toenail clippings.

Please don't send anything more. The cookies were enough.

Tom Castro

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Date: April 12, 2000
Subject: Wow

keep up the creepy imitation!

Neda Pourang

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Date: April 12, 2000
Subject: No Subject-Seriously

You are not them but who cares? I don't. It whudduv worked had life been a bit different but it didn't so who cares? Do you? At least you tried but now that it didn't, you might as well put it to use: follow your own voice(s) and create something grand! (Do you hate the word grand like Haulden does? I don't but I don't like it either.) dotnet is good. dotcom sucks. dotorg can be grand if you try right. Try Try Try. Your own voice(s). Comeonyoucandoit! You must! Must Must Must. You got some attention­you do­and you got to use it. Now! Be different because people love Dave and they will go to him, not you, if the pages are the same. They will. They do. So take a step, that dangerous step and create something while you have the chance! the attention! You must. Because they will forget you soon. So soon. And if you do not make a mark now, if you do not get over your admiration for Dave, you will be just like them (not Dave): wathcing watching watching. Createdammit! Create! Because even if you are better than Dave; Because even if you are worse than Dave: he was first and you will always be shadows and shadows are very rarely seen when the light has passed. Comeonyoumustchangeandbegreat, sogreat! sogreat. Grand. ohsogrand! youmustbegrand. grand!

Ugly Genius

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Date: April 12, 2000
From: kbiber

What is the name of the old brown dog?

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Date: April 12, 2000
Subject: Hello!

Dear McS,

Well, I don't mind at all! It is kind of like Twins. Like two beautiful twin brothers. One is so gorgeous and the leader, the other equally as gorgeous, but maybe the follower of the two brothers. Who cares? Not me.

There is plenty of me to go around - I will write to both of you, and read both of you and submit to both of you. (Your older brother - the leader - he's so popular anyway that he's too busy with us all. Perhaps you will have time to consider submissions in a more timely fashion than he does.)

Have fun. I will.

Katy Fillmore

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Date: April 12, 2000
Subject: Who are you

Yes, who are you? And can you put me in touch with Sarah Vowell? I also played the baritone in my high school marching band, grew up in a Rocky Mountain state in a family transplanted from Oklahoma, developed interests in literature and rock music, and watched in wonder as my dad manufactured ammunition in the basement. I even played the recorder for a time there. But I drive. That's one thing she must know. I enjoy driving.

Sean Carman

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Date: April 12, 2000
From: UC Public Library Public PC User
Subject: hi there

I think I would like it much better if you impersonated the Masachussetts McSweeneys rather than the fine website that disappeared and reappeared.

strangely peeved

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Date: April 11, 2000
Subject: (No Subject)

Thirteen probable terms for readers of McSweeney's, to be used affectionately, derisively, or without forethought:

1. McSwamis
2. McSwaggarts
3. McSwells
4. McSweater-girls
5. McSwoon-beams
6. McSwarms
7. McSweet-Pants
8. McSwassachussets
9. McSwill
10. McSwiggles
11. McSwaggles
12. McSwuggles
13. McSweenies

Smithee Skarsgaard.

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Date: April 11, 2000
Subject: McSweeney unbound

I may have seen him, Gerry, in the food court of the Burlington Mall. He may have been weeping and certainly the tall stutue he was carrying was weeping....I'm almost pretty certain of this. Our elbows may have brushed, at least that's what he told mall security, and the statue may have been, I'm sad to report, smashed beyond repair. The person who may have been Gerry seemed bitter. And who could blame him? His 15 minutes lasting less than ...say 13 minutes. Is that fair?

yours in faith
Jim Hanrahan

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Date: April 11, 2000

I don't know who the real author is of this site, or what exactly its purpose is. I am a 31-year-old entrepreneur, and as you can see, McSweeney is my last name too. I'm somewhat impressed with the layout and design of both McSweeney's.net and McSweeney's.org (McSweeney's.com is some kind of run-of-the mill family vanity site - what a shame). I'm not quite sure what the site is good for in terms of content, or what you guys are trying to accomplish. I did read something on Salon mentioning some financial troubles. If you would be willing to engage in some first-round profitability discussions, I am willing to providemore than pocket change.

Yours sincerely,
James A. McSweeney
Palo Alto, California

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Date: April 11, 2000
Subject: Too Funny

I swear to God, I almost picked up the domain name myself at basically the same time you did. Nice job.

Kicking myself,

ps --- could you make it, oh, I don't know, more blue??

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Date: April 11, 2000
Subject: Oh, Joy!

You have made my day, in all of your silliness.

Gloriously happy (right this very second),

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Date: April 11, 2000

I like the piece by C.C. Baxter. Who the hell are you guys? Or, is there only one...

Amie Barrodale

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Date: April 11, 2000
Subject: That OTHER Site

Dear Editor(s):

That impersonation site with the .ORG extension is really lame. Someone should probably let them know without being too unkind.

Yours truly,
Wyatt Bonikowski

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Date: April 11, 2000

I don't understand why you have two sites up. Three? I don't understand why one is mocking a nice little family, by all appearances. One is the same old stuff there always was. And one seems to be emerging from nothing. I don't understand. And I am beginning to think its all shit.

Is it all shit?


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Date: April 10, 2000
Subject: Sorry

This is another hoax. You are trying, yet failing, to sound like the real M.R.

Also, too many pictures. Nice try.

Lewis Tate

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Date: Apr 10, 2000
Subject: Unhappiness

I don't think you realize what kind of fucked-up turmoil you've caused in the hearts and minds of your readers. I really don't think this if you had known what kind of toll had to be paid by your loyal followers. Last week we started a betting pool at work - only programmers - about whether there was a true mcsweeney's site and where it resides. And then this site comes up and now we don't have a clue as to how to divide the $6.82. This is really kind of mean. We have no where to turn. Thanks for nothing.

Lucinda X

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Date: Apr 10, 2000
Subject: On Your Return

You're back. Thank you for returning, that whole McSweeneys.com charade was really getting tired. Excepting of course the six hundred thousand captivating letters from your loyal and quite talented readership. I suppose poor Trev will be up late posting those for may months to come. Quite sinistra if you ask me. But maybe Trev does not exist?

[Having checked I now see the family has deleted all mention of the 'switchover'. Wow, you are very impressive in your attention to detail.]

Anywho, nice to see the delicate graphics, the white background, the overly explicative submission guidelines, and I expect so much more to come?

Anthony McSweeney

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Date: Apr 9, 2000
From: John B. Carman

you're back? thank god.

tara wray

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Date: Apr 9, 2000
Subject: Hello, I love you, won't you tell me...

Is it really you? If so, when is the rest of the stuff coming? (Links to archives, etc. are not working.) How nice it is to see you. You are wonderful and beautiful and not blue and emoticon free, although incomplete. I eagerly await the coming developments.

Elana White

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Date: Apr 8, 2000
Subject: Surreally, surreally confused

Well, I'm looking for your old website, I'm hoping this is the McSweeney's magazine email address, but I can't tell anymore. McSweeneys.net looks like you, except there are family pictures there. Truly inspired!!! However, now it's time to 'fess up --- where did you put all of your old content? Or is this in fact another McSweeney's scam along with .net?

Paul Wischow

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Date: Apr 7, 2000
From: Rod Smith

Dear Persons,
It wasn't that difficult. It really wasn't that difficult. Gerry sort of gave it away in the suck interview. Glad you're here.

Rod Smith