Politics are funny. This is a fact. The constant dance of politicians, pundits, and activists mixing ideology, pragmatism, and pandering to the lowest common denominator, and the clashes that derive from their interactions, produce such a wealth of absurdity and contradiction that humor is really the only way to deal with it without losing your mind. Yet somehow most attempts at political humor are terrible. So as a public service, the Squelch hereby offers a simple outline of the Dos and Don’ts of political humor. No one’s guaranteeing that this is 10 Steps To Becoming Jon Stewart, but hopefully it’ll help people improve their game.
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Joining the Squelch
People often ask us what it takes to join the Squelch, as though its some sort of highly selective organization with a bunch of rules rather than a cramped office full of nerds quoting The Simpsons and arguing over the correct way to spell out the onomatopoeia of a fart (the correct answer being, of course, FRRBLPBLPT). The truth is, there isn’t actually any kind of process to joining the Squelch. We don’t have a limited amount of slots for writers, and we don’t even have any strict rules as to what it takes to be a writer, or how much you have to write. The only thing you have to do to join the Squelch is show up, and actually, wait, never mind, you don’t even have to do that.
There’s actually a couple ways to get your name in the Staff Box (the list of names in the inside front with the jokes that you don’t read), depending on what it is you do. For graphics/design team, you’ll actually need to show up in the office and lay out the magazine on our ancient, gigantic computers, so you guys have it the hardest. Writers and art team are relatively more coddled, in that they could theoretically do all their work from the comfort of their crude and filthy hovels, never having to face the unforgiving sun and rejections of the hu-man. All they have to do in order to get published is send it to our asses via Submit@squelched.com. Also it has to be pretty good, or have a workable premise that we can work with. But that’s a different post entirely.
Usually, just submitting something to us is enough to get in our “Contributors” section, although if we forget that you sent something or we forget to update the Staff Box prior to turning in the file to the printer (which I have done a lot this year. Sorry), your name might not get in. HOWEVER, this should not be a discouragement (neither should a rejected submission, but, again, more on this later), and if anything you should just send an angry email about it and we’ll put in the next one, you tremendous baby.
If the thing you send to us is printed, we’ll put you in the “Writers” section. The best way to make sure that your piece is printed is to a) talk with the editors about it first, and b) follow this convenient guideline written by old Squelch editors two hundred years ago. More importantly, though, talk with us. You can do this by sending a piece idea to Submit first, or, preferably, by meeting us in person at our weekly meetings. These traditionally take place at 7pm on Wednesdays, an excellent choice in time since it is the same time as every other club meeting or DeCal on campus, and usually somewhere in Wheeler. This is better than using email because it helps us remember your name, and we’re much more likely to give a piece a fighting chance if we know who is fighting for it.
So here’s the real rundown as to how one should go about “joining” the Squelch writing staff:
- Give us a piece or a piece idea or drawing or whatever.
- Make sure we know your name.
- Make sure we remember your name.
- Meet us in person and discuss the thing you did in Step 1.
- Remind us what your name is and that you did the thing in Step 1.
- Humor us as we pretend to remember anything while we covertly scribble your name down somewhere.
That’s it. There’s no hazing ritual or ceremony: you give us something, we determine whether we want to print it or not (or how we could change it to make it printable), and then you’re on the staff. For graphics/design, there’s only one step:
- Come in to the office and attempt to lay out pieces using InDesign based on complicated and often unreasonable descriptions of how it should look from writers with little to no design sense, or, more often, no description other than “it should look like a script and there should be a picture of a dog somewhere on it”.
Actually, laying out pieces isn’t so bad, but it tends to be one of the more frantic aspects of making the magazine, as it’s done last. I actually shouldn’t be writing about design at all, as everything I do artistically on a computer looks like it was done on HyperCard. I’ll probably make our current Graphics Editor Sarah make a design team primer in the next few weeks or so.
That’s it for this installment, next time I’ll be covering How to Correctly Write a Piece.