"Difficile est satiram non scribere." (It is difficult to not write satire.) - Juvenal


January 2008
February 2008
Muskrat News In-Depth Reporting

Mobile phone novels are selling phenomenally well in Japan. According to a recent story in the Sydney Morning Herald, five of the country's top 10 bestselling novels in the first half of 2007 were written on mobile phones, selling an average of 400,000 copies apiece.

New Botext craze sweeping MFA programs.

Botox for foreheads was bad enough – but for forearms?

Texting and Pretense collide.

Some observers of the glorified pyramid scheme that is the world of American MFA and creative writing graduate programs are reporting a disturbing new trend in chemical abuse.  The new craze?  "Botexting" – using injections of the cosmetic form of botulinum toxin into one's forearms to deaden the ulnar nerve, which cause the patient to lose sensation and the ability to control his middle and ring fingers and pinky.  "It's kind of weird, but you can still use utensils, if a little awkwardly," said one botexter who wished to remain famous.  "The real benefit is that you can't type."  Left with the use of just the index finger and thumb on each hand, messages must be composed on PDA-style devices and cell phones, using the keyboards and techniques of SMS texting.  And that's the whole point of this bizarre procedure.  It forces authors to use the popular but cryptic stylings of text messaging.  LOL.  CUL8R.  BRB.  Kthxbye.  BFF.  It's a patois hugely popular with youth all over the planet.  And now some writers are willing to do anything to master the style.  In other words, Botoxers voluntarily get themselves shot full of poison to look young.  Botexters do it to write young.

"We all admire Moby Dick, but it's not going to be a best-seller today," said one MFA student.  "Look around you.  The future is text messaging.  In Japan they're writing whole novels on mobile phones.  You want to know what I'd do to sell 400,000 copies of anything?  This is a no-brainer.  As is my latest novel, Sk8 Prk Angst

Although he says he cannot agree to such a radical procedure, literature professor Smooth Hawley reluctantly agreed that he could see the logic.  "Sure, you have a few niche authors that can still crank out 500 pages of dense prose and still get a good review in the Times, but if you want to sell more than a few dozen copies, you need to cater to the modern attention span, which is limited to what people can read between subways stops on their Blackberry.  And the easiest way to turn a budding Thomas Pynchon into a minimalist is to force him to type with just his thumbs.  Hacking the hands off completely works, too, but we find it interferes with the MFA students' ability to work catering at campus events."  

As with regular Botox, the injections wear off after a few months, allowing the aspiring writers to return to the workforce at the same time they get their degrees and have to return to their old jobs at the library.  There appear to be few side effects at this time, although some  writing students suggest that, if they had the money to own cars, the impaired hand skills might have affected their driving.  A similar cloud of uknowability for lack of data surrounds the procedure's effect on the average writer's bedroom skills.  

One author who had made his money in pre-texting days sniffed "I've always said editors were like plastic surgreons -- they both use a knife to make us look better.  This is just cutting out the middle man.  And the adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, and a few of the nouns.  Besides, lots if writers have abused chemicals.  Hunter Thompson, all those French Absinthe hounds, heck, Bill Burroughs used to shoot smack into his arms.  At least these punks won't be able to play WIlliam Tell after using the stuff."    

Of course, just as regular Botox is often mocked as producing an immobile countenance, capable of expressing no feeling or emotion, the texts produced by Botexters are similarly described by some as "sterile," "heartless," and "lacking the expressiveness of a good limerick, much less Shakespeare."  Smoot spluttered "How can you compare ‘ a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife’ to ‘USER 88603:LOL, kbye.’??

Asked his response, a prominent botexter replied "$$$."

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