Where’s The Street Team?: An Answer Essay Part 1


Several months ago I sent my ever-so-patient editor Eric an email asking that the upcoming column be featured on the MAGNET site, something that hasn’t been done since 2009, because, you know, this is the sort of exclusive-to-print writing that gets hard copies of the magazine in people’s mitts. Whoever thinks that is a real sweetheart. So anyway, I wanted that particular installment to be linkable and online reference-ready because I had some important shit to say, but big surprise … I switched gears to a disparate topic. Then I forgot the entire footnote in life and went about spewing my print-only shenanigans until a few months later I’m kicking up some yucks on my favorite (and essentially … only) social-media platform, Twitter, and I see a notification linking to the latest Street Team on the site. This scared the shit out of me (like I deserved a heads-up!), because up until then I operated, at least unconsciously, in the print-can’t-go-viral-therefore-can’t-bite-me-in-the-posterior sort of not-so-fast-and-loose mindset.

All this means is that I goofed off and riffed and tried out shit in the eternal practice of testing the waters of funny. It doesn’t mean that procuring back issues of the reconstituted post-2011 MAGNET in hopes of catching me in some hashtag problematic mode will only lead to disappointment for the type of person who might run such a fool’s errand. I used to joke around in this very space about how I could write the kraziest krap you’ve ever allowed near your eyeholes, and no matter how ninnified the ninnies, they’re way too lazy to deal with the technological hurdles in actually transforming the print-only version into something the vultures would deem worthy of circling. Could it be a preventative measure? Wow, can I borrow a GPS? Seems I rocketed up my own ass and got lost. Oh, and to the MAGNET readership, you’re totally worth me dialing up the quality and entertainment factor. I didn’t mean to suggest you’re some beta test site for my inconsistent fucking around. Well, I’ve never wanted that to be the case, for what it’s worth.

So now we’re two or three or four columns deep in new Street Team sentiments on the MAGNET site, and now that I’ve caught up to this reality, I got no beef with trying to whore out my “skills” as a page-view generator and writing something that my tight bros down the hall in Clickbait Application can tackle over half a working lunch … whenever I get out of the venerable intro tarpit to announce that it’s about cats, and by cats I mean The Thinking Man’s Pet. Despite my inability to think of a witty “I’ve Always Wanted To ______________” response subtitle for maximum connectivity (translated: blowing smoke up ass of funnier writer) with the most recent print-only version of Neill Jameson’s always-excellent Low Culture column in the always-excellent and literally down-the-fucking-hall Decibel (applies only to staff, not to a freelancer like me who craps this onto the floor halfway down the country from Philly in Memphis) that really inspired the in-theory theme I’ve at least gotten around to mentioning, Jameson’s column was indeed the original inspiration for it, and I just tacked that whole internet thing onto the affair about five minutes ago. Plus, I can write about cats all day long. Maybe this really will be part one of several. I did it once (about something entirely different).

When Jameson wrote of how two brand-new kittens have managed to improve his all-around mental, professional and personal well-being (as I tread a little close to exporting out of the wrong orifice or reading too much into what was expressed more gracefully), it was not a device for upping dramatic heft (well, implying a habit of otherwise doing so will do the trick, if not these meta-parentheticals, which need to stop). About a month ago, a tiny little guy stumbled into our backyard at midnight, and he has now become the third feline in the house. Though he puts in some long hours as a thorough pain in the ass on several levels—it’s been almost 22 years since I’ve lived any amount of time with a genuine kitten—he can also reverse the most fatalistic fuck-the-world modes (please know that “modes” is not a misspelling of “moods”) with any number of stunts, such as insisting on lap destination while I’m … uh … reading Watership Brown or elevating my Terror Alert Level to a Code Brown or “taking a shit” if you get my drift. Seeing as how my veterinary know-nothing-at-all places him at around three-four months, therefore the appointment to have his carpet-marbles removed is upcoming but soon. This is good because we’ve decided to double that date as a naming ceremony because none of mine are being seriously considered by the rest of the house: “Cosloy,” “Top-cliff,” “Margasak,” “One-Sheet,” “Coley,” “Glen Galaxy,” “HKIC,” “Major Label Feeding Frenzy,” “Bill Drummond,” “The Punisher,” “Spokescritter One: The Prototype,” “Defecatomaton,” “Wet-Work” … tank’s empty.

Lastly, the “cats + the internet” phenomenon is 100 percent deserved, making my support pretty anomalous considering surface assessments might place it a few degrees away from, if not fully within the realm of, the human-lemming-engine culture responsible for things like your town’s locavore tendencies (a.k.a. the “cool and accepted gentrification” that makes quirkily named eateries the latest landscape plague), the craft-brew tedium-fest, entire streets of farmers market/buy-local hoodwinkery, save-dis-n-dat, navel-gazing kraft-korner-and-kickball-league bullshit, vapists and everything about the antiquated or never-was fetish hobbies yanked from history’s asshole that pave one-way streets to entrepreneurial failure. (“It’s analog alarm-clock restoration with a punk-rock twist!” or “Good thing about the slow horse-shoeing market is I can really get to know my massive collection of Tiger Army rarities.”) But cats + the internet? I’ve been on board since day one. Because they’re cats … the last word in pets.

—Andrew Earles