Friday, July 16, 2004

The Future is Now

McSweeney's has announced The Future Dictionary of America, a

guide to the American language sometime in the future, when all or most of our country's problems are solved and the present administration is a distant memory. The book includes contributions from almost 200 writers and artists, including Kurt Vonnegut, Art Spiegelman, Stephen King, T.C. Boyle, ZZ Packer, Michael Chabon, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Safran Foer, Joyce Carol Oates, Jim Shepard, Rick Moody, Sarah Vowell, Richard Powers, Chris Ware, Jonathan Ames, Gabe Hudson, Julie Orringer, and many, many more. The book also comes with a CD, compiled by Barsuk Records, featuring new songs and rarities from R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, Elliott Smith, Tom Waits, David Byrne, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, They Might Be Giants, Death Cab for Cutie, and many others.
Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to groups "devoted to expressing their outrage over the Bush administration's assault on free speech, overtime, drinking water, truth, the rule of law, humility, the separation of church and state, a woman's right to choose, clean air, and every other good idea this country has ever had." But wait! That's not all! You, yes YOU, could win a dictionary for your very own by submitting a word and definition from the creative depths of you soul that catches the fancy of the "elite team of definition-pickers." There will be five lucky winners. You may have already won. What kind of words might we be using in the future? Try this one on for size:
wankerzone [wan'-kur-zohn] n. a place where hardcore liberals and conservatives go to hit each other with pillows. These zones, which are padded and full of fun obstacles, were constructed so that a person who feels very strongly about some issue may seek out a counterpart who disagrees just as strongly and then they can swat each other with heavy pillows. The zones became taxpayer-funded, because it turned out everyone benefited one way or another, either through the entertaining diversion of watching folks engage in spirited pillow fights or through the eventual reduction in overbearing attempts to legislate other people's behavior. After a good session in the wankerzone, the two dueling parties are encouraged to sit down together and have a nice cool smoothie. --ARTHUR BRADFORD
Change the pillows for those spongy bats and it could be a 1970s family therapy session. The contest will only be on for about a month, so put on your thinking cap and sharpen those wits and write a future definition.