So what exactly is it that we’re looking for? Well, we’re game for any sort of feature or submission that you’re willing to pitch to us which you think seems copacetic to our mission (read the “About” section if you haven’t already). You may have noticed that we’ve organized the magazine into clever (well we think so) little sections with names like “Apollo” (for science, as in the Apollo mission) or “Mudville” (for sports, like in Casey at the Bat). It may be helpful for you to think along these lines when crafting a pitch or a submission, but much like the country we’re named after we are broad, diverse, and confusing. Generic complexity and ambiguity doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have a home on our site.
“Give us your essays, your prose, your huddled verses yearning to breathe free.”
So what might a potential ‘Merica Magazine article look like? How about the following ideas (none of these have been commissioned by the way, so if you think you can give ‘em a try, be our guest): What’s the conflicted history of the name “America” itself? Whatever happened to New England’s colonial rum industry (or western Pennsylvania’s whiskey distilleries)? Why did our elementary school teachers make us play Oregon Trail (and who invented it anyhow)? What’s the racially problematic history behind BBQ? What would an accurate map of America look like if we returned to all native place names (and which Indian nation lived where, and why Indians are a real people beyond casino stereotypes and mascot debates)? The Manhattan – Was it actually invented in New York, or Maryland? Are the Catskills to Jewish humor what the Mississippi Delta is to the blues? Who colonized America other than just the British (wait, Philadelphia was in Sweden)? Is it true that Elvis is like a legitimate religious figure to some people? What’s the story behind all that rugged individualist bootstrapping BS anyhow? Can you provide a guide to the best place to see surviving WPA murals? What about the brave southern men and women who resisted Confederate tyranny (such as in the State of Jones) and the capitulation of copperheads who lived in the north? What the hell is the geographic definition of the Midwest anyhow? Is California the most mythologized place in America since stout Cortez (or Balboa, whatever) with eagle eyes first star’d at the Pacific? What is the Great American Novel, and how come nobody ever talks about the Great Canadian one? Is Emma Goldman more “American” than Martha Washington? When did coffee become our national hot beverage of choice? I’ve heard of Joseph Smith, who are some other American-born prophets? There are Basques in Nevada? Was whaling the first international industry we dominated at, and what was it like? The French have The Song of Roland, and the Spanish have El Cid. Where is our national epic poem? Or do we already have one? What are some great old murder ballads? Does American folklore actually exist? And if it does, how important are aliens and Roswell? Is there an American “style?” Is it paranoid? Anti-intellectual? New York vs. Chicago in all things (Los Angeles might get to play too). Is Rust Belt ruin porn offensive? Vegas baby! Sports – and all that’s racially and economically problematic about its history (but why it also still might be great). East coast, west coast, third coast, flyover country, what gives? Who are the hidden poets, novelists, playwrights – extra points if they don’t look like the picture under “Writer” in the Encyclopedia of Dead Old White Men. Beef Jerky – What brand is for you! Cowboys and their coffee and weird-ass poetry. And of course – fucking Sasquatch (please read the obscenity as an intensifier and not a verb).
“Wait, what is an intensifier?”
We’re also all about reviews of America-related media – movies, books (fiction or non-fiction), music, and so on. Plus, any interesting trips you done gone on – weird gothicy roadside attraction weirdness is always particularly welcome. In general we’re trying to go with idiosyncratic, different, creative, intelligent, progressive long form journalism, essay, criticism and even fiction. We’re academics, but this is not an academic journal, so no need to be overly jargony (though a little bit of Frederic Jameson never hurt anyone). Think along the lines of writing for an audience that appreciates The Atlantic, Harpers or The New Yorker (we hope).
“The New Yorker’s own Eustace Tilley is under copyright, so in his absence please enjoy this public domain image of a Victorian dandy.”
So you either have a thing or you’ve got an idea (and an idea can make you a million bucks you rugged individualist you! – though not at this magazine….), what next? Shoot us an email at email@example.com. Again, that address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, there is no “A” in how we spell “Merica.” If you get it wrong you may accidentally contact the very different (though still awesome) good folks at the venerable Jesuit America Magazine. We’re sadly not Jesuits (though sometimes we wish that we were). Send along in the body of an email either your full submission or a pitch that you would like to make. We’re totally down with simultaneous submissions and reprints (though let us know where it was published before so full credit can be given where it’s due). This whole thing was conceived by two PhD candidates who had had a few pitchers of moderately priced domestic beer, so it’s possible that our Puritan work ethic may be weaker than our Yankee ambition. Bear with us! We’re going to be asking established authors who we are admitted fan-boys of if they’d help some plucky youth out with their magazine project, but we love to hear from every one else who wants to contribute as well (though if we don’t know you, please point us to things you’ve written before or places you’ve been previously published so we can get a sense of your style and if it jives with ours). Ultimately we’re aiming for a neat little site that updates with a couple new articles at least once a week or so, and that has a nice social media presence to keep you attached to all things Americana. And after that we plan on building a media and publishing empire to rival Hearst’s (and like totally a million more times yellow than even he was). So questions, queries, comments, pitches, submissions, ideas, prophecies, predictions and complaints can all be sent to (again) email@example.com.
-Ed Simon, Editor and Founder
– Wade Linebaugh – Assistant Editor