A Different Jane to Bitch About

Jane Pratt has finally launched her new online magazine and I want to know why something so awful and pointless can even get off the ground. Everything about it is stupid and bad.

And where’s Tavi?? Remember when this was going to be a joint project? Who is our Blogging Business Deal specialist? Please report back on this intriguing mystery.

Meanwhile, this awful Jane crap got me thinking about how there is really nowhereto go online if you want some entertainment for smart people. The Huffingting Post is just populist garbage, Jezebel is too full of itself and has too much attitude, The New Yorker isn’t visually appealing, Arts & Literature Daily has too many choices to sift through, pop culture websites are too geared toward the bourgeois hipster, etc etc.

Why can’t we have something good, with lots of thoughtful, funny, sophisticated, and provocative essays and photos?

I started talking about this to a friend, and tried to explain the target audience for this imaginary project. All I could think of was “you know, people like us: bitter intellectuals.”

He liked the sound of this overlooked market and so do I. I want to start an online magazine for Bitter Intellectuals. We’ll have a daily column about annoying words or phrases, obviously. We’ll have reviews of movies and music, critiques of other blogs, advice on stuff that grown ups care about, debates about politically incorrect subjects, merciless satire, personal stories of defeat and humiliation, and so much more. With good art.

Who would like to get in on something like this? Who has any experience in starting a no-budget venture? Who wishes there was a place to go online where they would never see words like “social-networking” or “game-changing” or terms like “tresses” or “locks” instead of “hair?” Most important, who has the enthusiasm to make me follow through on this?

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77 Responses to “A Different Jane to Bitch About”

  1. gretchen Says:

    you may want to check out this blog…
    http://paulocoelhoblog.com/

  2. Sista Coyote Says:

    “Most important, who has the enthusiasm to make me follow through on this?” I think you mean most importantly.

  3. Sister Wolf Says:

    Sista Coyote – I’m glad you brought this up. I do NOT mean ‘most importantly’ because even though this usage is popular, it is incorrect.

    “Many writers will use the adverb form, “importantly,” thinking that the phrase modifies a verb in the main clause; usually, however, that is not the case. The phrase will almost invariably modify, adjectivally, the entire clause, and the adjective form, “important,” will suffice. Burchfield says that “more importantly” was a despised construction during the 1970s and 80s, but that nowadays both phrases seem be used about equally and with equal acceptability.”

    source: The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996.

  4. katiechasm Says:

    TheHairpin.com is sort of like xoJane, but good; http://getoffmyinternets.net/ is a constant source of lols and thoughtful comments from bitter people. The Hairpin is very funny at times (Edith Zimmerman posts) but it can lean a bit earnest.

  5. mimi Says:

    the girl who wrote her little story on being attracted to terry richardson because he had sex with a sheep, and then years later got her own sexual fantasy fulfilled by him was the most hideous piece of sh!t i have read in quite some time.

    the whole website is pretentious and badly written.

  6. Dru Says:

    I cannot believe people get PAID to write that badly (the only decent article I’ve seen on the site is the one by the girl whose rapist added her on Facebook).

    Apparently Jane Pratt claims that her site is all about her writers’ personal shit, but I wish someone would sit her down and tell her that “personal” doesn’t always = interesting. Especially when every single one of the writers sound the same.

  7. Dru Says:

    And Sister, if you ever do start that magazine, can you please impose a moratorium on faux-cutesy blog language?

    We can put “rad” and “sick” at the top of the list (unless of course, we’re referring to people actually being ill), along with “totes” and all manner of other bloggerisms that I forget about but will probably encounter the minute I go on another blog.

    The only places that seemed to be free of it were the NYT’s fashion blog, where everyone from the ed to the commenters knew what they were talking about (I still have fond memories of it c. 2008) but then it’s the New York Times. Oh, and sometimes I really enjoy the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, things get really lively up there but it does have its share of idiots.

  8. Sister Wolf Says:

    Mimi -Horrible. The worst.

  9. Elaine Says:

    Bitter intellectual. I can see myself using that as a way to describe myself.
    I like to stop by http://thenewinquiry.com/

    Thank you for the grammar note. I use most/more importantly a lot. Blame it on a lack of formal grammar education and learning how to write English by the rule “it sounds right”

  10. Ann Says:

    I used to really like the Huffington Post. When did it go downhill? It was before AOL bought it, so they can’t be blamed. What the hell is this awful Pratt online magazine? If it somehow takes off, I’m going to be really mad.

    I’d love an intelligent, thought-provoking place to go online, featuring exactly the sort of things you mention! I’m sick of reading the same old crap. I’m sick of writers starting sentences with the word “So.” There is no way bitter intellectuals are a niche market; we are everywhere and we demand and deserve something better!

  11. annemarie Says:

    This article explains Tavi’s absence
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/fashion/jane-pratt-moves-from-magazines-to-her-own-web-site.html
    …and also mentions that Patti Smith will be one of Pratt’s occasional contributors.

  12. honeypants Says:

    Count me in. Whatever you do will be brilliant, no doubt. I’d be glad to contribute anything (especially word usage). And ‘Shoppables’ ??? That’s just awful.

  13. annemarie Says:

    I really wish I hadn’t read that Terry Richardson article.

  14. Jill Says:

    Last question…me

  15. Erin Says:

    I’m in. I can write sarcastic social sommentary with an itellectual twist!

  16. TheShoeGirl Says:

    So basically, your blog in online magazine form? I’m in <3

  17. dust Says:

    For this cause, I’m ready to leave my dungeon.
    Today, while the last bastard of a war criminal is on his way to meet the justice, I feel extremely relieved. No, damn it, I’m happy! And free! From now on, all business of repression and demoralizing is completely my own.
    Or, if you don’t mind, ours.

  18. brooklyn_codger Says:

    let me know if you need an editor… SO TIRED of the bourgeois hipster blog, which is why i come to you

  19. Suspended Says:

    “…sarcastic social sommentary…”

    Erin – I’m not sure your use of alliteration is acceptable.

  20. patni Says:

    I would love to be involved. Although I am not sure I think of anything useful I could do. I would certainly come and read! bitter intellectual=me.

  21. patni Says:

    I am not going to read that thing btw. Terry Richardson fucking sheep is more than my mind can handle. I am going to go watch videos of human bot fly extraction instead.

  22. Suspended Says:

    I just ‘tried’ to read an article on that xoJane website and couldn’t make it a fifth of the way through.

    What an utterly horrid writing style. I wouldn’t call it “personal”; it made me feel alienated, angry and vengeful.

  23. That's Not My Age Says:

    Excellent idea. Please call it Bitter Intellectuals!

  24. helen Says:

    Bitter Intellectuals! LoVe it and only you could pull this off. Unfortunately, i am no help as far as moving this project along but i will definitely be a loyal visitor.

  25. Alicia Says:

    DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

  26. Jessie K Says:

    “Locks,” I sort of get. But what exactly is wrong with the word “tresses?” I need to know the answer to this question.

  27. Suspended Says:

    “http://getoffmyinternets.net/ is a constant source of lols and thoughtful comments from bitter people.”

    No it isn’t.

    The comments show no evidence of keen intelligence. Since when did declaring “first” to post a comment constitute “thoughtful comment”? It makes the commentary at Fail Blog look positively cerebral.

  28. Suspended Says:

    Sorry Sister, I quite often forget to comment on what you’ve actually written. I take your words, enjoy them and give nothing back.

    I’d love to see your ideas come to fruition. This is the only blog I visit regularly. I occasionally visit others when I’m stuck at the computer feeling bored, but no other blog can hold me like yours. Thank you x

    One of the things I love about your blog is that it has no brand angle. The new idea would. It’s very marketable and should hopefully get you a well deserved book deal. Please push forward and apprehend what looks like a great gap in the market. It would please all of your regulars greatly to see you gain reward for your efforts, finally.

  29. Bevitron Says:

    Well, I qualify for the Bitter part, at least. And I really wish there was a place to go for all of that that you said.
    Oooooh, it’s exciting!

  30. Cricket9 Says:

    Yes, yes, that’s exactly what i want/need! I’m brain dead right now after a very stressful day at work – but count me in!
    Sincerely yours,
    Cricket9, Bitter Intellectual ;-)))

  31. Jess Says:

    I’ve been travelling a lot for work conferences recently and realised that there is no magazine that I can buy to read on the plane that actually caters to my fancies (especially when I’ve been on the plane for 14 hours and can’t quite summon the sustained focus required to continue my way through whatever book I’m reading). I tried to figure out what that ideal magazine would be like, and I worked out that it would basically be The New Yorker with a touch of general research journal like Nature or Science, and then with plenty of art of all sorts thrown in. And I want it all done with plenty of intelligent, withering and witty commentary

    I then want that as website/blog too.

  32. Andra Says:

    I’m looking for something more along the lines of “Mostly Happy would-be Bitter Intellectual who doesn’t really give a fuck”.
    Have you got one of those?

  33. Jenny Says:

    I will never write ‘most importantly’ again. Thank you.

  34. Greg Says:

    I’m in, too. If you want me to be a special guest columnist, I’ll do it. My special guest column will be called “I Hate You and Here’s Why.” It’ll mainly focus on Leah Remini, but I’ll throw in a paragraph about Yahoo! and maybe a sentence or two about fashion shows for toddlers and their feminized fathers. Oh, and while I’m on the subject of babies, parents who should be murdered and Yahoo!, I need to mention the parents who refuse to reveal to the world the gender of their recently-born child. Shit like that really gets my “I Hate You and Here’s Why” juices flowing.

  35. enna. Says:

    I would love to read/write for Bitter Intellectuals. So much web content (including fashion blogs, ugh) is absolutely vapid and holds little long-term interest to me; it’s refreshing to find anything with an Actual Brain behind it.

  36. DCD Says:

    Count me in. I would actually pay to subscribe to this, if you’re the one directing the content. Do it.

  37. Sister Wolf Says:

    Ann – Oh god, sentences that being with “So!” It’s almost as bad as when they begin with Um.”

    Greg – You’re in. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read about that couple and their plans for their child. They should be in prison. Fuckers. You are an advanced Hater and I tip my hat to you.

  38. Andra Says:

    I read about the nuts who refuse to divulge their child’s sex.
    People like these are one of the reasons that everybody should have to be licensed before being allowed to breed.
    Seriously! The wrong people are having the babies and I want it stopped.
    Well, I didn’t say I was happy ALL the time.

  39. Cricket9 Says:

    Are we talking about the Canadian couple and their kid “Storm”? I betcha it’s a girl, but, never mind.
    Polish language has three genders, feminine, masculine and neutral. If my parents would have the swell idea not to “reveal” the sex of their youngest child – me, they would have to refer to me as “it”. It would not end well. I imagine a big scene with me screaming “Are you crazy? Don’t you know anything?! I’m A GIRL, A GIRL!!!”

  40. Brad Says:

    this is new but good.

    http://eyelashroaming.wordpress.com/

  41. Greg Says:

    SW – I’m serious. You should do it and I will contribute.

  42. Andra Says:

    I had a very brief look at the Jane thing and all that springs to mind is the word banal.
    Any advance on banal?

  43. Ann Says:

    Greg! Yes! I think we can all agree that the couple refusing to identify which gender their child is may be the worst thing of all time.

  44. annemarie Says:

    I know a couple who have plans to raise their future child “gender-neutral.” They are the kind of morons that only a long, protracted and very expensive American education can produce- this be a warning to anyone contemplating grad school, at least in this country. Among their many follies: voting for Nader in the last general election (forgivable in 2000, less so but still ok in 2004, and offensive in 2008– at least to this non-American who can’t vote and knows that America will never be France), telling stories about their wild youth when they were valedictorian of their high school (!!), spending a couple of years of said wild youth as a straight-edge punk (maybe the music wasn’t so bad, but the abstemious and judgmental approach to booze and drugs was just a way to enable them to feel cool attending punk shows and yet still turn in their homework on time. If a person doesn’t understand and feel the lure of self-annihilation, they don’t understand anything- not punk, not life, not their fellow-man), and finally confusing the fuck out if their yet unborn child. Off with their fucking heads! Can you call your new website that?
    (Apologies to all Nader 2008 voters and straight-edge devotees, except I’m nit really sorry)

  45. what? Says:

    “The comments show no evidence of keen intelligence. Since when did declaring “first” to post a comment constitute “thoughtful comment”? It makes the commentary at Fail Blog look positively cerebral.”

    Where are people shouting FIRST? You’re obviously thinking of another blog. I just went back five posts and nobody is saying FIRST in the comments. At least come up with a truthful reason for your disdain.

  46. woolgathering & miscellany Says:

    I’m in.

  47. Regularstarfish Says:

    I’d love to help. Count me in.

  48. Suspended Says:

    What? or Katiechasm

    I clicked on your link, so there is no chance of me think of another blog.

    Truthful reason for my disdain -

    http://getoffmyinternets.net/2011/05/24/jordan-reid-doesnt-care-what-people-think-except-when-she-does/#comments

    I guess I must be a liar.

    Perhaps your off kilter comprehension has you thinking the comments are witty. I’m happy to accept that.

  49. Sandra Says:

    http://www.xojane.com/sex/my-tattoos-make-guys-think-im-easy

    This article about this chick complaining about people looking at her tattoos was stupid and whiny. I wrote a long ass comment for it and I rarely start shit with random people on the internet. It was like “People think I’m a slutty badgirl because I have tattoos- but admittedly, that was part of the reason I got them”. Please. If you don’t want people looking at you, assimilate. If it were a life or death situation where you actually had to fit in, I’m sure you could do it if you had to.

  50. Cricket9 Says:

    Well, actually I can think of worse things done to children than not letting the world know what’s the child gender. Wacky, yes, but horrible? I’d say no.

  51. annemarie Says:

    Cricket9- Well, you might be right. The reason it bothers me is mostly because it just seems so self-indulgent and controlling of the parents. Of course, they would say that it’s society that’s controlling, as though gender was a recent invention of oppressive state power. I really don’t know how much it would fuck the kids up, but I do think that the parents are probably awful, self-important assholes.
    Personally, I’m glad someone told me I was a girl. I’d have wasted so much time and been so neurotic if I had to make that decision myself.

  52. JK Says:

    Be patient SW. It’ll only be a mere seven days before David’ll be back entertaining you.

  53. Andra Says:

    People worrying that Storm (Storm – why not Spring Rain, Downpipe, Kitty Litter, Mushroom Cloud?) will not know he or she is have never had a child. Let me tell you they know who they are from a very early age ….boys will be boys, girls are girls. Anything else will maybe have a different tale to tell but that will come later.
    Don’t worry too much about this child. He/she has fuckwits for parents but he/she will either be a boy or a girl (probably) and will let them know.
    When he/she divorces the fuckwit parents he/she can change his/her name to Fred or Freda.
    JK: Believe it or not, I am missing DD too. Can’t wait to hear what is annoying the old curmudgeon lately.

  54. katiechasm Says:

    Suspended — Ok, you found one comment thread that started with ‘First’, fair enough. I just thought some people might appreciate Get Off My Internets because it’s where I found out about this site, and it’s similar to this site in tone.

  55. Jazmin Says:

    I want in on this. I will be your devoted reader. I really do hope this happens.

  56. Cricket9 Says:

    annemarie, they do say that the society is controlling, but I remember the fuss about “Shiloh looks like a boy oh the horror!” in the tabloids, and all the crap along the lines of “sugar and spice and everything nice” about girls…including high heels and little bikinis for 3 year olds.
    I was severely chastised in school for kicking a boy – girls are not supposed to kick anyone (I had my hands full of chemistry equipment, he pushed me, so I kicked him) and for climbing a tree in the schoolyard. Girls are not supposed to climb trees! My mother insisted on growing my hair very long, which I disliked but did not have any say in the matter. I still think the the idea of the “experiment” is nuts, but to me the idea of beauty pageants for little girls is probably worse.

  57. annemarie Says:

    Jesus, did you hear about the mother who injected her little girl with Botox so she’d do better in the beauty pageants? Awful.

  58. Erika Says:

    I think you have to do this. See here http://hellogiggles.com/
    Zooey Deschanel has something to do with this. Don’t dislike her as am not familiar with the “twee” thing enough to comment but giggles, really….
    Also I want to contribute and promise if I do to get a grip on the language deal including my sometimes pretentious use of language.

  59. diana Says:

    oh GOD, pick me. we could make magic happen.

  60. Sister Wolf Says:

    Are any of good at web building? We have our writers and ideas. Diana, your in. Greg, annemarie, Ann, Woolgathering, Dust, so many other smart people and good writers. We have a point of view and a bunch of different voices to express it.

    Web designers, set up!

    I want to do the daily “Pseud’s Corner” a la Private Eye. (most pretentious statement of the day.) I’ll do the Cunt awards, too. But I’m open to all other ideas. We will never, ever say “pop of color”

    Can someone explain to Jesse K why the word “tresses” is unacceptable outside the confines of standard fairy tales? Thanks!

  61. mhdbass Says:

    The Jane thing is disappointing and pretty nauseating. However, I can’t tell you how excited I am by the idea of your magazine project… Please do it!

  62. Deanne. Says:

    Although I am fiercely anti-prescriptivism, I fully support your endeavors, Sister Wolf, because you are awesome and you make my day. Your blog is one of the few I actually care about reading these days. It’s sad most of them, mine included, are just glorified tumblrs, with nothing to say, no perspective to offer. If you need help with starting a website, I know some savvy computer types.

  63. Jaimi Says:

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I usually don’t comment but I always come back and read. An online magazine would be fantastic.
    I always thought Jane was pretty terrible. Sassy was before my time. I don’t get the weird nostalgia for it.

  64. Dru Says:

    annemarie – Botox Mom was a hoax, so it looks like we’ve been had…

    Sister – I want in too! And I’d much rather write for you than Jane/people like Jane.

    As for Sassy, it was cool in its day, but Jane the Prat seems to think the tone of a magazine aimed at teenagers is appropriate for a website launched nearly two decades later and aimed at adult women – and worse yet, that this is to be lauded.

  65. sam Says:

    Oh, count me in….

  66. Suspended Says:

    Sister Wolf – Please force, ok, I’ll change that for the word Persuade, annemarie to make a creative contribution. She deserves it solely for the invention of the word Qunt. Such innovation deserves recognition and reward.

  67. Janet Says:

    I love this idea.

  68. diana Says:

    yeah i’m so serious about this, i’ve been wanting to start something like it for awhile but never get anything done on my own. and your blog is one of my favorites even though i basically just lurk. maybe we should start a mailing list.

    also i work retail and i was telling my manager the other day about all the phrases that you never wanted to hear again such as “statement piece” and “rocking” and he definitely appreciated it.

  69. Mia Meow Says:

    I’d like to join! As an illustrator/graphic designer I could help :)

  70. mimi Says:

    im not really all that bitter nor intellectual but i wholeheartedly support the idea of Bitter Intellectual and will form part of your devoted readership.

  71. Make Do Style Says:

    Sounds peachy perfect! Bitter Intellectuals says it all.

    Am guilty of having started sentences with ‘so’ but an ‘so’ prepared to be strung up by a bitter intellectual, it will be a badge of honour.

    In fact you could have a ‘badge of honour’ award for those who dare to blog against the fashion establishment etc.

  72. Dru Says:

    Sister – of all the pop-culture-y blogs out there, I actually quite like this one: http://www.nogoodforme.com.

    It might have large amounts of cool-person worship, but unlike Jane Pratt and her cohort of suckups, it’s not moronic (I don’t mean to damn it with faint praise -it’s really quite enjoyable).

  73. liz Says:

    She’s trying SO HARD. It just screams of trying too hard, it’s painful to read.

    I’m hoping the reason Tavi isn’t involved is because she realized how horrible it is.

  74. Vagabondiana Says:

    I think Tavi’s ‘arm’ of the website is coming in Sep / October … I can’t recall the title but it was certainly something like, The Little Acorn or, I had a Little Nutshell … perhaps …

  75. Vagabondiana Says:

    Although with a more recent glance, it would appear that now she is only going ‘to contribute’ …

    http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2011/05/jane_pratt_founder_of_sassy.html

    So what exactly is Tavi Gevinson’s role in the website?
    Jane: Tavi is going to contribute. We haven’t even figured out what her first post is going to be at this point, she might interview somebody. But she’s going to contribute to this.

  76. The Queen of Hearts Says:

    I’m in, if you’ll have me.

  77. Danno Says:

    Bitter intellectual? M’kay. The bitterness is evident. Public assessment of oneself as an intellectual is not very polite. I prefer humility, introspection, and plain ol’ shit talk over self-aggrandizement. Or is it your wish to alienate us common folk from discourse? Sometimes the peanut gallery actually does have something to offer. Sometimes.

    Tavi grates my nerves like you wouldn’t believe. Get rid of her.

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