Things We Love: McSweeney's

You know those news items about men who want to marry their pickup trucks or women who have been carrying their taxidermied cats around since the Reagan administration?

Well, that’s kind of how I feel about McSweeney’s. If it were possible to marry an abstract entity, I’d be all over it.

Founded by author Dave Eggers, McSweeney’s is the umbrella organization for an amazingly rich bunch of offerings. These include Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, a smart and visually stunning literary magazine; Wholphin, a wonderful DVD journal featuring the best in short and experimental films; Lucky Peach for the foodies out there; a full-scale publishing house; their great cultural omnibus, The Believer; an awesome app called Small Chair; and more, more, more.

In short, they’re doing thoughtful, daring, extremely high-quality work in a variety of media, and thriving while they’re doing it.  What could be more inspiring?

Well, Eggers’ endeavors also help support the 826 National programs, which he cofounded in 2002. The 826 centers—eight of them around the country—offer literacy and tutoring programs for kids ages six to eighteen. Last year, their program helped almost 30,000 kids improve their literacy skills and get passionate about reading and writing.

And they also bankroll these programs with storefronts like The Superhero Supply Company in Brooklyn; the Bigfoot Research Institute in Boston; and the Pirate Store in Valencia, CA. And with private contributions, of course!

Creative, compassionate, audacious, and smart. Yeah, I’d marry that.  

-- Lorin