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Editors' Letter: Issue 11

Article by Lisa Jervis, Andi Zeisler, appeared in issue Issue #11; published in 1999; tagged discomfort.

"So, what do you think we should write the ed note about this time?"


"Oh, I don't know. Marketing? There's a lot of marketing in this issue. Or we could print another butt-on-the-head photo."


"Yes, from our vast archive of them. But I was thinkin' maybe discomfort would be a good topic."


"Discomfort? Explain."


"Well, like how editing so much of the stuff for this issue made us really uncomfortable. Some of it's just so unpleasant—I'd never want to seem blasé about laser-lifted pubes [page 70]—and some is about some seriously hot-button issues. I mean, whether it's paying someone to surgically alter your genitals or getting paid for access to them [pages 42 and 48], there's a lot going on in this issue that's bound to make our readers uncomfortable, too, in like a million different ways."


"But those are pieces that need the discomfort factor to make their point. And we don't want to be all negative and apologetic in the ed note."


"It doesn't necessarily have to come off as negative—I actually think the discomfort in this issue is a really good thing. When we talk about divisive issues like sex work, it's visceral reactions to them that too often drive our intellectual conceptions—'This makes me feel weird and I don't want to think about it.' In avoiding the discomfort, we duck really important questions." 


"And hell, we should be uncomfortable when we realize what kind of insidious tv gets peddled to us [page 66], or when we find that we're whoring ourselves in corporate jobs that spit us out when they're done without so much as a 'You were great, baby' [page 38]."


"Fuckin' A [page 7]."

"It's very Martha Stewart—'Discomfort. It's a good thing.'"


"And discomfort is something of a motif. Pregnancy is uncomfortable [page 34], Kira endured some serious insect- and illness-related discomfort [page 74], and the Bridget Jones hysteria most certainly makes me uncomfortable [page 60]."


"And just hearing about Woodstock 99 was almost unbearably uncomfortable [page 32]." 


"I guess that's it, then. We don't want to belabor the point, after all."

"Right. In fact, maybe we shouldn't even write the ed note." 


"Fine by me. More Twizzlers?"

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