It’s Friday. One of my favorite things about Friday is when the Shirley Jackson Award nominees are announced and those nominees include friends and internet people I occasionally interact with and who are friends of friends. This occurrence, alas, doesn’t occur as often as I like.
Congratulations to everyone. It looks a magnificent feast of terrors well told. I don’t know why I enjoy alliteration so much. It happens.
In particular, I’m excited to see nominated Carmen Maria Machado (a fellow awkward robot) for her novelette, “The Husband Stitch” and to Alyssa Wong, an awesome writer and friend of a friend and internet person I have occasionally interact, for her short story, “The Fisher Queen.” You should go read their stories. And all the other nominees. Because stories.
David Cameron and his ilk won more than people expected, which means, according to the NYtimes, one of the bigger losers in the UK elections turned out to be pollsters. I imagine pollsters aren’t too worried about their jobs, though. Things seem to work out for ol’ polling, whatever happens. Kid always lands on his feet.
The final result, with the Conservatives securing a majority and projected to win as many as 329 seats, only added to an intensifying debate in the United States, Britain and elsewhere about the accuracy of polling, the problems of getting accurate samples in an era when voters can no longer be reached as easily by traditional means like landline phones and the fracturing of politics making it harder to predict voter behavior.
Everything is possible. The science of determing the nature of possibility fascinates me.
Today’s Google Doodle honors the 151st birthday of Nellie Bly, a woman who proved that stunt journalism isn’t always a bad thing. The remarkable Bly (whose real name was Elizabeth Jane Cochran) embodied gumption—she famously traveled the world in 72 days, for instance. But her most noteworthy work focused on the lives of the poor and disenfranchised in late 19th-century New York City.
The animated Google Doodle is accompanied by an original song from Karen O, titled “Oh Nellie.” Karen O sings, “We gotta speak up for the ones who been told to shut up/ Oh Nellie, take us all around the world and break those rules ’cause you’re our girl.”
The song’s first line—“Someone’s got to stand up and tell them what a girl is good for”—nods to the way Bly got her start. Her first writing gig, with the Pittsburgh Dispatch, came after she sent an angry response to a columnist who wrote a piece titled “What Girls Are Good For” about the need for women to stay at home.
A cool story that demonstrates how the world has always been horrible. And that it’s always had people trying to make it better.
Happy Friday, readers.