Obsessive FrontBurnians: this one is for you.
At the end of June 2016, a little over a month after I started working at D Magazine, I received an email from an individual who self-identified as Ted Voorhies. (Despite my request, he has yet to confirm his identity.) Through a roundabout device that may or may not be true, he claimed to forward an email from a friend or acquaintance named Charles who, under the subject line “Why lesbians provide D with efficient diversity,” laid out the argument that my hire as a gay white woman made me the magazine’s diversity Triple Crown for the purpose of advertising dollars. [takes a swig of lukewarm coffee and starts sucking on a CBD gummy] There is more to the email, but for today’s purposes I will quote Charles’ conclusion:
Lesbians are in fact a threefer for D. A woman. LGBT (the leading L). And a direct appeal a central progressive minority community with high disposable income. And, finally, not only non-threatening in both functions as female and gay but also the stuff of subliminal sexual fantasies of no doubt a number of both female and male readers alike, from college women to bored, aging Park Cities house wives to most all but religiously conservative men. So a lesbian becomes the ideal face of superficial D diversity, one with an exceptionally high relative benefit to cost ratio.
I would take issue with that bit about religiously conservative men, but whatevs. The email ended with a statement from Ted and what appeared to be a question to the cabal:
That’s quite the fanciful hypothesis, Charles. What do the rest of you think?
Ted never forwarded any responses, and so I forgot about him until I received a second email more than two years later, just after Christmas. In this new email, Ted asks the cabal to submit “the best FrontBurner post of 2018.” Following that was what appeared to be a forwarded response from a guy named Jared (perhaps aka Charles aka Ted). And I quote:
Ted, I believe this year we have what may be a transcendent FrontBurner post, one that now defines the New Dallas the way teased hair and fake breasts the size of cantaloupes once defined the Old.
It comes to us from one Mrs. S. Holland Murphy, formerly some sort of back office functionary at one of the department store chains and noted to date only for writing about her own breasts and abandoning her child briefly at some entertainment venue.
But this one, entitled “Merry Christmas To Whoever Found My $400”, becomes a leap far, far beyond, and not necessarily in the manner you might imagine. I submit that it represents no less than the quintessential Dallas we now inhabit and does so with a remarkable efficiency.
[Note to “Jared”: it appears you are not aware that in addition to helping advise her former employer about how to provide much-needed breastfeeding spaces for nursing women, Holland has also recently written exceptional profiles of a mermaid and a cat, both of which provide insight into the current state of American politics. But back to you.]
“Jared” then proceeds to provide an annotated paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of Holland’s post, most of which is the equivalent of a grown man (which I’m guessing “Jared” is) attempting to imitate the voice of a 12-year-old girl (which I know Holland is not). But the closing sentence is worth framing:
So there you have it, Ted and friends, our New Dallas in a nutshell: passive-aggressive Millennial power plays swimming in nouveau riche arriviste telegraphy, all firmly packed into a twee Christmas shell with the liberal use of a 20 oz. storytelling hammer.
I must applaud you, sir.
But then Ted’s email to me disappointingly concludes with his response to Jared:
I would have said you were reaching, Jared, until following your interpretation it became impossible to read that post any other way What do the rest of you think? Please submit your votes in the usual manner.
Don’t be such a tease, Ted!
I replied twice to ask which FrontBurner post actually won. (My quintessential lesbian story about a dead cat? Zac Crain’s self-indulgent drawing of Jerry Jones’ boat? Tim Rogers’ Patented Season-Starting Super Awesome Good Mavericks Basketball Analysis?) But Ted never sent me a tally.
So it is up to you, the unidentified cabal. Please submit your votes in the usual manner, and then repeat them in the comments below. Help us hone our storytelling hammers in the year to come.
WHAT WAS THE BEST FRONTBURNER POST OF 2018?