Thursday, August 11, 2005

What's on the mind of America's youth?

If you have an idea about what "America's youth" are thinking about -- other than the bitter debate over which Olsen is more "ano" or whether it's worth letting steroids shrink your willie a little just to play 10th grade linebacker -- write a 1,500-word essay about it and win $15,000 from Vanity Fair magazine. You have to be 18 or over to enter. You must be a legal resident of the USA. Essays must have a title (something snappy and Vanity Fair-ish, presumably) and have to be submitted in 12-point, double-spaced type (Times New Roman is always a good choice of font) and in standard essay format.

From VF's pressroom website: "Quality of writing will count for 50 percent, clarity for 20 percent, effectiveness for 20 percent and originality for 10 percent. Essays will be judged by Vanity Fair staff and/or other qualified writing professionals. Contest winners will be announced on or about June 20, 2006."

Deadline for submissions (only one entry per writer, but you are allowed to have a co-author) is midnight Sept. 30. You may submit essays by email, but their rules are very precise about how to do that. Plagiarism is strongly discouraged.

Here's the link to all the rules.

And this week, by the way, I think the skinniest Olsen is Lindsay Lohan.


Anonymous Ragman said...

Not to be crude, but when your hip bones stick out further than your breasts, you need a cheeseburger. Ugh. I hate heroin chic.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Hillabeans said...

No! Don't sell the secrets of the American Youth! What would we have left? haha

8:26 AM  
Blogger Miranda said...

Clearly I'm in no position to crack the nut of the American youth zeitgeist, but what is "ano"?

9:21 AM  
Blogger theprofessor said...

"ano" = anorexic

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plagiarism is "strongly discouraged"? I would think that it would be forbidden.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you preview and comment on articles, possibly as part of the writing class, before they are submitted?

11:59 AM  
Blogger theprofessor said...

re: "plagiarism strongly discouraged." that was me being sarcastic. of course, it's forbidden.

as for previewing stories, due to the huge number of writers who anticipate taking part in the online class, that won't be possible. mostly, you'll be evaluating your own work. don't fret. it'll be fun.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Frolic said...

As a random anorectic passing buy I feel the need to clairify the whole abbreviation thing. I've nerver seen ano used anywhere, so if it is used it isn't wide spread.

The most common is ana (it's companion, mia an abriviation for bulimic), which became widely used in the early–mid 90's. It was populized to the general public by the media's spate of 'oh no stop the pro-ana girls from their evil internet sites' articles.

The result of these articals and reports are quite ironic. Not only do they often reprint the 'bad tips' they come across but they provide an awarness to any little girl or boy who's uncomfertable with their weight that these sites exist. Most people now active on non-revovery boards found them after encountering a media report of them and searching for key terms. Other papers are kind enough to give us links to these 'dangerous' sites.

Now due to the stigma surrounding ana, people are begining to use the medical abbreviations, AN,BM,EDNOS and COE if they abbreviate at all.

On a side note and speaking for many eating disordered people we are saddend by Viagra and the like stealing our acronym. ED was once such a simple term but with it's new double meaning we use it only with caution.

Whew! Sorry for the longwinded etymology of eatind disorders online. It's just that general information that exist only in archived webpages and in the back of the minds of their former users creates a new sort of oral history.

1:05 PM  
Blogger echovillegirl said...

pp: its ana for anorexic...(or mia, if ur bulimica)...nice how it just becomes two girls' names, huh? you know, i used to actually kind of like lindsay lohan...she had this amazing red hair and wasn't stick thin like all the others. now she's blond, trashy, about 75 lbs...i guess hollewood finally got to her :(

1:51 PM  
Blogger echovillegirl said...

lol sry thats bulimic, not bulimica... :)

1:53 PM  
Blogger theprofessor said...

you say "ana," i say "ano" -- because it's a better abbreviation for how it's spelled.

and fat circling is for real. i have the eyewitness reports.

"pledged" was a big bore after the opening chapter. but darn, that writer sure got a lot of publicity and sold a ton of books.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Frolic said...

"you say "ana," i say "ano" -- because it's a better abbreviation for how it's spelled."

Of course you can call it whatever you like, xia perhaps? But the reason I felt the need to be nitpicky was the context you were writing in, what american youth are thinking, rather than what you are thinking.

Also, 'cause I'm on roll now ana is much closer to the way the begining or the word anorexic is pronounced. While dictionaries disagree and some include the 'O' it isn't just isn't used by professions now (who I've sadlly seen many of). Now ana isn't perfect phonetically, aner might be more correct, it's better than ano.

Another reason to use the common form is if someone wanted to do research on it or engage in discusion with others they wouldn't find anything a but a couple of articals from Australia and blank stares. We need a shared languge for open discourse.

But back to my real point. You can call it anything you like but it's important to acknowledge it. As a journalist, I'm sure you don't change the spellings of words because they look weird to you. And sadly ana is now is more than an abbreviation but a word that often carries a distinct difference from anorexia.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous frolic said...

On a completely different note, does anyone else have a problem with their exclusion of most youth through the 18 or over rule? There maybe some legal issues at stake here but it's sad that the 'experts' on this topic are excluded.

Are their other cases where the subject of a writing contest are excluded from participated on grounds other than age?

7:56 PM  
Blogger Miranda said...

Thanks, Professor.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

"On a completely different note, does anyone else have a problem with their exclusion of most youth through the 18 or over rule? There maybe some legal issues at stake here but it's sad that the 'experts' on this topic are excluded."

That blur you just saw whooshing past was the point, hurtling by you at record speed. If I'm not mistaken, the idea of the contest is to get essays by those not a part of "America's youth" detailing what they feel said youth are thinking.

It would be a rather pointless exercise (within the confines of the contest) for one of "America's youth" to write this, then. It's not about what they're thinking, it's about what those older than them think they're thinking.


1:49 AM  
Anonymous frolic said...

I think your infering a little too much into one short sentence Andy. The rules say, "• Essays must address the following topic: What is on the minds of America's youth today?" Not "what do you think is on the minds of America's youth today?".

I understand the idea is for people to write what they think youth are thinking. But people do that every day. All over the place. Rarely are children permitted to have a voice of their own. This topic just seems like a very promising one, and it made me sad that due to the age limit many insightful papers will never be written.

The line of youth is a blurry one. If your interpretation of their intent is correct I can submit a paper but they probably won't care about it (I'm 20,living at home with my parents while on medical leave from college, and I've read Vanity Fair for half my life).

I'll be interested to see the winning essay.

2:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm youth, and I fully intend to diagnose my own neuroses. No one said it was a "highlight the generation gap" contest.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous zuleme said...

Cab you please explain what is meant by "standard essay format?"

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are the youth of America. We are all of one mind, we are individuals, we know what an individual looks like. We take and we take for granted, we are comfortable, we have been given exactly what we deserve. We know we are entitled, we have beautiful heroes. We are well-educated in post-cocktail chitchat, we do not require proof, we have learned that the final answer is the only thing that matters. We agree that work is unnecessary, we are doing better than most people. We know we are being lied to, we are the victims of an omniscient conspiracy, we do not resist. We are the gods of our own existence, we know that perception is everything, we refuse to be brought down. We do not believe in anything, we believe in living our lives to the fullest, we worship the truth and the truth is statistics, and statistically, the truth is always the worst. We have heard these behaviors are self-destructive, we will be the first to ruin ourselves. We have sought help, we are self-medicating, we have dosable quantities, days-of-the-week pillcases with plastic mouths popping, “This is it. This all.” We have forgotten what we are tired of. We don’t sleep soundly, we know this is the way the world works. We sometimes wish it didn’t. We are responsible for ourselves, we are responsible for looking like ourselves, we are responsible for projecting an image of contentedness and perpetual self-satisfaction, and personally, we think we are doing an excellent job.

3:55 PM  
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