Pandemic Journal, Entry 9: Rejected Ideas from the Pandemic Journal Writers’ Room

Not every one the Pandemic Journal writing staff’s ideas makes it to Facebook. The ideation, vetting, creation, legal clearance and publishing of content is a rigorous, painstaking process. Most ideas that make it out of the room intact fail to survive first contact with senior management. Here’s a sampling of ideas that seemed good in the moment but ended up in the dustbin of social media content history.

Fistfight! Kate Austin Versus Richard Brautigan!
Can the 19th century feminist anarchist and contributor to The Firebrand kick the ass of a ‘60s bad-boy counterculture poet and novelist? We’ll know in 15 rounds. Not entirely rejected, but tabled for a slow news day. 

Dow Jones Draft Night
Roger Goodell announces, on live television, which elderly family members and school children will be sacrificed for the sake of the economy. Before each pick, a studio audience boos Goodell. Not because he is sending innocent people to their deaths, but because he is Roger Goodell. Rejected because no one wants to read about Roger Goodell.

Phil’s Grocery List
This one almost made it all the way to publication after we failed to notice that this was, in fact, Phil’s grocery list that had gotten stuck to another manuscript. Fortunately, a visitor to our typesetting department noticed our goof, but not before observing that Phil’s eating habits are “hella surreal.”

After This Pandemic It is Imperative that Apple Bring Steve Jobs Back
An in-depth exploration of the challenges Apple has faced during Tim Cook’s tenure as CEO, and how missed opportunities during a time of global economic disruption have created conditions in which the best path forward for the company is to attempt to reanimate Steve Jobs’s corpse, appoint it CEO, and pray for the best. Rejected because our attorneys are terrified of Apple’s attorneys.

Cabbage, Bitches!
A spin-off of the wildly popular “Mrs. Markham’s Pandemic Dining Journal.” Mrs. Markham randomly appears in people’s homes and shouts her signature catchphrase. Accounting loved it for the merchandising opportunities, but editorial rejected it as lazy and derivative. 

Catfishing During a Pandemic
Our intern is on Facebook and convinces Stephen Mnuchin that he’s a 19 year old aspiring actress who digs Secretaries of the Treasury with thick glasses and bad judgment. Salacious discussion of hard currency ensues. He’s crushed when he realizes “Mandy” won’t be his next wife. Rejected because no one takes Stephen Mnuchin seriously, and this will happen anyway at some point. 

What We Are Shooting Into Our Veins These Days
A listicle of substances we are shooting into our veins these days. Readers are challenged to guess which substances will be suggested by the administration as possible COVID-19 cures, leading to an outbreak of calls to poison control. Rejected by the writers because this is too close to the truth. 

We’re Here for You
A love letter to predatory public corporations who, in our time of need, spend millions of dollars to remind us through televised commercials that “we are all in this together.” Slated for publication as soon as our lawyers are looking the other way. 

My Cat is Starting to Think of Me as Food
Our writing staff loved this idea when we found it scribbled on a Post-It note left in the break room, but then we realized it was a cry for help. Has anyone seen Phil?