I forget. Why aren't you in non-alternative papers? Bad syndicating or some higher...

I forget. Why aren’t you in non-alternative papers, the most-read kind?

For years I could only read you in books, then I moved to a town with throwaway papers.

Now, of course, there’s the web, but my city’s newspaper still has 6 low-research columns on topics you cover better (Ann Landers, Bridge, Ask the Doctor, Caring for Your Pet…) You could push out any two of those easy and rake in the dough.

Bad syndicating or is some higher principle involved?

This must have come up before, so just point me to the answer.

I guess this one would be a Comment on Cecil’s Columns. I’ll move the thread over there for you.

is on April 15th. Do you have what it takes?

If the Los Angeles Times (my paper) ever carried a story about sperm trees or objects found in rectums, Dorothy Chandler would be spinning in her grave faster than Freddy Mercury after that Moutain Dew commercial.

Cecil’s brand of quaint subversiveness has its place, and that place is in the alternative press. He may not be raking in the bucks, but at least he doesn’t have to take the sensibilities of the general population into account when he is writing his column.

Editors trim and rearrange and select a lot.
It’s their favorite pastime.

If you get something like Dear Abbey in different papers for the same day, they never match up. Some run three questions and a lame joke, and others run one or two and figure that’s all the public will bear.

If a column was gross they could drop it or substitute a classic.

Sure, you and I want all the questions, and can afford those pre-meal antacids to make it work, but we’re talking dough here. What writer was so big he never got edited? What syndicate was so rich it wouldn’t pimp out its writers? And besides, Cecil was on TV, so he knows when to tone it down.

Have you considered that he spends too much time on dull subjects. In a book it’s ok, since you can skip ahead, or dip in anywhere and select something of interest. But in a real paper, you need more consistancy, so somebody will want to renew the subscription. That’s why he’s in freebie papers. Like the cartoons in those papers, he doesn’t have a good enough hit ratio.

I considered that, of course, myself and discarded it out of hand. Cecil is like the 2nd or 3rd god in the question/answer writer’s pantheon. Behind Art Linkletter and perhaps Leticia Baldridge.

Maybe it’s the illustrations that aren’t ready for prime time. They need to be in color to get you in USAToday

When Mike Lenehan was recently asked this question, he replied that most “non-alternative” newpapers wouldn’t run the stuff Cecil covers… they are more family oriented.

When he does get an inquiry, he sends them the column on “Why is, um, fecal matter brown?” and says this is a sample of what Cecil covers. That usually cuts off further conversation.


This doesn’t explain why there’s not a “best
of” column.

Since there are 15 years’ worth of columns, there must be 12 or 13 years worth wihout, um, fecal matter in the topic.

By the time they run out there will be an additional 10 years’ worth, then 8, then 6, then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… or 40 odd years’ worth total before the “best of” catches up with the regular column. At that point, you “take vacation” like every other columnist (who probably really takes a little nip and lands in the pokey.)

And, each old column, besides costing nothing to produce, is a good ad for the older SD books.

There’s no downside. You should have agents lining up to close this deal.