Hi there. My name is Jason, the host of this here thing. How was your 2015? Mine was…not good and not bad. Challenging? Interesting? Uneven? Unparalleled? (You don’t want to know. And I’m not going to tell you anyway.) This is my last post to kottke.org this year. I’m leaving on the first proper capital-V vacation I’ve had in years. I am unplugging. No email, no Facebook, no Twitter, very little Instagram. This week, the site will be in the good hands of Susannah Breslin, who guest edited back in March. And next week, the site will be on vacation until January 4. (At least I think it will. A bunch of past editors still have working logins so who know what will happen.) Thanks, and I’ll see you in Jan. And now, Susannah…
I had a great time guest-blogging here this week! Thanks so much to Jason and to everyone who read, some of the smartest, most interesting readers I’ve found online. It was really a thrill. It was like being Krang inside the exosuit, but in a good way.
When Jason originally put out the call on Twitter for a guest blogger, he tweeted, “It’s a paid gig or you can do it for the lolz and we’ll donate the fee to a charity of your choosing.” So we’re donating the money to Girls Write Now, a terrific New York City-based non-profit that pairs talented at-risk teen girls with professional writer mentors to create the next generation of great women writers.
You can find me online here or on Twitter.
Update (from Jason): Thanks, Susannah! It’s been great having you here. I just dropped your fee into the coffers of Girls Write Now. If some of you would like to do the same, you can donate here; it’ll only take you a couple minutes.
And since Susannah was too courteous to promote her recently published short story, The Tumor, I’ll do it.
Hello! I’m going to be off for the next week and Susannah Breslin will be editing the site in my stead. From her bio:
I created one of the internet’s first sex blogs, The Reverse Cowgirl, and I’ve been called a “modern-age Studs Terkel.” In 2008, TIME named me one of the top 25 bloggers of the year. I’m best known for my longform investigation of the Great Recession’s impact on the porn industry: “They Shoot Porn Stars, Don’t They?” I’ve written for Harper’s Bazaar, Details, Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Daily Beast, Marie Claire, Variety, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The LA Weekly. I’ve appeared on CNN, NPR, and “Politically Incorrect.”
Her newest work is a new short story called The Tumor that was drawn from her breast cancer diagnosis a few years ago. Susannah has long sent me interesting links and emails, so I’m excited to see what she gets up to this week. Welcome, Susannah!
When I was just out of college, my dad and I went to Beijing. One of my anxieties about the trip concerned my left-handedness, specifically going against the custom of not using your left hand (aka your bathroom hand) to eat. It turned out fine; the semi-expected reprimand never came.
Times have changed. Now, in Shanghai, you can go to a restaurant called Modern Toilet, which is actually one in a chain of Taiwanese stores that are toilet themed.
We are a group of “muckrakers” following our dreams. It all started when one of us was reading the manga, Dr. Slump on the toilet — and the rest is history. In the beginning, we mainly sold ice cream — a big pile of chocolate ice cream sold in containers shaped like a squat toilet. This humorous spin became a great success.
Susannah Breslin visited the Shanghai Modern Toilet and offers this report.
Upstairs, I took a seat at a table. My seat was a toilet. The table had a glass top. Under it, there was a bowl. In the bowl, there was a plastic swirly turd. The place mats were decorated with smiling turds.
Over at Forbes, Susannah Breslin is documenting the process that she goes through as she works on a story.
I’m neither Woodward nor Bernstein. This doesn’t mean I am a lousy journalist. This means that I am a certain kind of journalist. Basically, who I am as a journalist is who I am as a person. I am an observer. I am not a run-after-you-with-a-mic-in-your-face type of journalist. I am a get-out-of-the-way-and-the-story-will-present-itself-to-you type of journalist.