Bad Poetry Contest
Compete in our Bad Poetry Contest
We're living in the Golden Age of Mediocrity. Our government has set new records for venality and incompetence. Our captains of industry plumb new depths of corruption and excess. Even our children are dumber, fatter, and more rotten than any generation before. Surrounded by failure and fiasco, the motto of our era could be summed up thus: "Worse is better."
In this brave new world of underperformance, only the old-fashioned are ashamed of their shortcomings. The Peter Principle rules, and the dregs rise inevitably to the top. These are the days of Paris Hilton celebrity and Sanjaya super-stardom, of crooked referees and proudly clueless presidents. Never before has excellence at sucking been such a bankable commodity.
It's no longer enough to suck with moderation. To the one who fails most profoundly fall the largest rewards. The burden of perfecting failure falls upon our superlatively unworthy shoulders. We've noticed with alarm and dismay that the title of "World's Worst Poet" has remained undisturbed for nearly a century. Surely, we can do worse. In order to encourage the pursuit of execrableness, Slate is hosting its first "Bad Poetry Contest."
We're inviting you to share your worstest verses—snippets of doggerel doodled on the train, screams of teenage angst scribbled in journals, odes to lovers you were a fool to woo. To compete, all you must do is submit your poem to the Bad Poetry Contest Fray. A panel of distinguished Slate authors and editors will be charged with sifting the dreck from the dregs.
Entries will be judged by Dahlia Lithwick, Daniel Politi, June Thomas, and Daniel Engber. Our judges will deploy their finely calibrated sense of revulsion to select the winning entries. You too can cast your votes by assigning each poem a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down." The poem with the greatest number of negative votes will be deemed the worst poem by popular choice. All winning entries will be featured in this space.
The contest results will be announced on Aug. 18, America's official "Bad Poetry Day."
You can enter your own poem into the contest, or read the submissions of others, by clicking on the Bad Poetry Contest Fray. GA … 4:15 pm PDT.
Monday, July 23, 2007
I've never had much patience for people who disclaim ideology. All of us have things we support and things we oppose. Though it's naive to mistake this constellation of opinions for an ideology, the system of thought by which we reach these conclusions definitely counts as such. However muddled and incoherent it may be, the process by which we separate the good from the bad marks us as ideologues at work.
Because our political identities are shaped by the totality of our convictions, spotting our ideological fellow travelers can be fraught with confusion. Only the loneliest of souls pass out comprehensive manifestoes as calling cards. By and large, we spot our comrades through flashes of insight into mutual allegiances and mutual oppositions. Too often, we spot a false ally by noting a shared against-ism, only to discover that we're consorting with supporters of causes that fill us with revulsion.
Geoffrey Andersen, co-editor of the Fray, is a law student based in California.