Everything else

Editor’s Letter

May 2013: Attention

Hey guys!

I am in the midst of writing a junior theme, which is sucking all the life out of me, so the editor’s letter is a little lite this month. Mostly I’m gonna plagiarize from the email I sent to our staff when it was time for their pitches:

May’s theme is ATTENTION. Fame, what you choose to pay attention to/give importance to/spend time on/spend mental energy on/David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech, doing sex stuff for attention, wanting attention, when a cry for help is dismissed as an act of attention whoring, when you realize there’s so much you’re not paying attention to (be it ~smelling the roses~ or how fucked up the world is), when paying attention to how fucked up the world is exhausting but necessary, attention disorders, attention in social media/how people like MARKET their SOCIAL LIVES and PERSONAL INTERESTS (I am guilty of this whether I believe I am MARKETING or just being like “Oh I like this thing let’s Insta it”), people who give up lives full of attention to pursue something more fulfilling or to be a hermit.

Random inspiration: Last Days of Disco, Chloe Sevigny, Grace Jones, Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick (and, conversely, how the ideal of being some tortured glamorous skinny white girl is kind of messed up), Stephen Sprouse, Chelsea Hotel, selfies, Beyoncé’s “Countdown” video, André Leon Talley, Diana Vreeland, Debbie Harry/Blondie, Janelle Monáe, child stars, Divine, early days of Interview magazine, Patti Smith + Robert Mapplethorpe + Just Kids, Keith Haring, candid photography/party photography, club kids.

As you can see, this will be a month of HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM about SELFIES.

And here is a playlist I made of songs about wanting little signals from yer crush.

Illustration by Minna

Illustration by Minna

Anaheed and I worked really hard to come up with one last pun for this letter, but we are both zonked out. I hope none of you are also dealing with standardized tests and end-of-the-year research papers at this time. If you are, stay strong! Drink water! Resist the urge to bubble in your test form in the outline of a penis!



  • sugarmilz May 1st, 2013 3:11 PM

    Great theme!


  • thatchocoholic May 1st, 2013 3:16 PM

    Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders should be on that playlist!!

    This month sounds PERF <3 <3 <3

    Well, like every other month…

    -Hannah x


  • Kimono Cat May 1st, 2013 3:19 PM

    Question: What is the inspiration for this month? Like, how Mystery had David Lynch and suburbia.


    • Tavi May 1st, 2013 3:30 PM

      I don’t know why I decided to leave that part of the email out of this post but I’ve added it now that I see it makes sense to include. Thanks!

      • Kimono Cat May 1st, 2013 3:57 PM

        OMG, I love the Last Days of Disco, and the ’70s in general, passionately!! Thanks for giving me an idea of how awesome this month will be!

  • rayfashionfreak May 1st, 2013 3:21 PM

    Perfect playlist! I saw your piece in Miss Vogue about flower crowns, I wanted to be a “birthday party girl” too. The thing about wearing one to show off your identity is so true. Tests, research papers etc. are the worst! Good luck to everyone who is doing them!!

  • Miss Erin May 1st, 2013 3:22 PM

    I thought suddenly of the lines from the Andrea Gibson poem “I Sing The Body Electric; Especially When My Power Is Out”:

    The night I opened my veins
    The doctor who stitched me up asked me if I did it for attention
    For the record, if you have ever done anything for attention,
    This poem is attention
    Title it with your name
    It will scour the city bridge every night
    You stand kicking at your shadow
    Staring at the river
    It does not want to find your body
    Doing anything but loving what it loves
    So love what you love

    • kolumbia May 1st, 2013 5:00 PM

      I LOVE Andrea Gibson, ohmygod, she’s so amazing!! Rookie should totally do a Why Can’t I Be You with her!!

    • abby111039 May 1st, 2013 6:28 PM

      I had never heard of Andrea Gibson until I read your comment, and I have to say that this poem is stunning. Thank you for sharing that, I’ll have to seek out some more of Gibson’s work. (:

    • AnaRuiz May 1st, 2013 9:23 PM


  • caro nation May 1st, 2013 3:59 PM

    I thought visually this month’s theme might be, like, Molly Soda-blingee-tumblr girl-seapunk, but this is even better!

  • Sandrine Schau May 1st, 2013 4:25 PM

    love this playlist!

  • Eileen May 1st, 2013 4:28 PM

    I loved this!
    I can’t wait to see the rest of the stuff for this theme; attention is so subjective

  • nizmocat May 1st, 2013 4:39 PM

    Yes! Attention is such an interesting topic, it’s not bad to want it but when exactly do you become an attention whore, so to speak? I am so excited about the discussion on selfies, and also people who post a Facebook status every half an hour, and now I’m going to do something really attention-seeking, which is posting my blog. So


  • Afonso May 1st, 2013 4:42 PM


    • rhymeswithorange May 1st, 2013 7:04 PM

      YES x1000. He is my favorite writer. I sent in a Literally the Best Thing Ever on DFW, still waiting for a reply.

      • Lillypod May 2nd, 2013 3:07 AM

        DFW!!! i’ve listened to that commencement speech a million times..

  • Dick May 1st, 2013 4:59 PM

    You should of added “The Factory” in too.

    I always tell people I partied with Warhol. I’m a big fan and I’m stoked for this month.

  • kolumbia May 1st, 2013 5:01 PM

    Thank you, Tavi! Now I know what I’m going to do on my AP Spanish test, since my knowledge of Spanish clearly isn’t going to help me pass!

  • Chloe22 May 1st, 2013 5:15 PM

    ”I Wish” by One Direction or I Would would’ve worked really well on here. Still an amazing playlist, though!

  • Mary the freak May 1st, 2013 5:16 PM

    SO EXCITED for this month! I am sure it will be awesome.


  • MabelEnchanted May 1st, 2013 5:27 PM

    Can’t wait for this month! Sounds really interesting, especially as I’ve written things in my own blog along these lines.

    I also get very giddy when I see a Taylor Swift song on a playlist = it’s a good month


  • Narnia May 1st, 2013 5:38 PM

    tavi, have you read warhol’s book POPism?

    • Tavi May 1st, 2013 6:34 PM

      no! it sounds like i should?

      • Narnia May 1st, 2013 10:19 PM

        yessss read it! its the best ever
        he wrote it from audio tapes he kept from his years in the original silver factory

        he talks about first selling ads/art, meeting edie, forming the velvet underground and nico, going to cannes, parties, candy darling, judy garland, bob dylan, all of the superstars, heroin, brigid berlin’s, robert de niro acting all the parts in an off-off broadway play

        there is so much history and celebrity gossip

        and i love it because you can hear andy’s cool, jaded tone in the writing

        • Tavi May 1st, 2013 10:20 PM

          that sounds amazing!! thank you for the recommendation!

        • insanejane May 3rd, 2013 4:33 PM

          Waaaw ! This book seems to be the Bible of the 1965 year ! <3 Thanks ;)

  • Salma Ehab May 1st, 2013 6:03 PM


  • stelliform May 1st, 2013 6:21 PM

    “Resist the urge to bubble in your test form in the outline of a penis!” That sentence only tempted me to do so, Tavi.


  • redblueblueberry May 1st, 2013 8:08 PM

    Hey! Just wanted to pitch an idea for you guys (hope thats ok) : ) I just think a month dedicated to health would be really cool sometime. Not just physical health but mental health too. Some tips on how to deal with sickness and recovery. Experiences with friends and family who went through tough times concerning health and how to push through it and stay strong. I just think staying healthy + taking care of yourself is such a major part of growing up and sometimes it isn’t easy at all. The month could include first aid tips, survival guides, how to talk about personal sickness, funny memories of health/body/sex classes at school, maybe interviews with cool scientists??? Just something I was thinking about. :)

    • lydiamerida May 1st, 2013 8:54 PM

      yeah! I think that’s a reall good idea!!!

  • Maddy May 1st, 2013 8:34 PM

    huh, what’s a junior theme? ugh please don’t remind me… I have the SATs and APUSH… eww I really want a 5 but I haven’t studied :’(

    • Tavi May 1st, 2013 9:33 PM

      it’s like a thesis? like a massive research paper

      • Maddy May 1st, 2013 9:48 PM

        ach, I had hypothesized it was like a commencement speech for junior year haha. what’s your theme?

        • Tavi May 1st, 2013 9:51 PM

          ohhh no that would be terrifying. i’m writing mine on how cults misappropriated/exploited/misinterpreted the message of the 60s, using the Source, Jonestown, and the Manson Family as examples.

        • Maddy May 1st, 2013 10:55 PM

          Jonestown! So interesting but so disturbing. And people never know what they’re referencing when they say to “drink the kool-aid”. I guess I wouldn’t have thought cults were reinterpreting cultural signals but rather sounding off their own, but it sounds very insightful and interesting! Though I couldn’t precisely say what the message of the 60s is because, see above, I don’t like history class. Good luck!

      • caro nation May 1st, 2013 10:51 PM

        Your theme sounds fascinating! On a less actually relevant note, after watching the movie DiG! about The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre my friend and I were convinced Anton Newcombe had actually started a cult and we were gonna trek out to California to find them burning down the Capitol Records building like The Wicker Man or something. I’m still convinced.

  • Lisa R May 1st, 2013 8:43 PM

    So excited to see this month’s content! :)

  • raggedyanarchy May 1st, 2013 8:55 PM

    Dammnit Tavi now I want to bubble in the test bubbles like a penis! But yeah, I feel ya. Lots of tests and papers due, like all our teachers just got together and worked out how the best way to give us stress wrinkles before we’re twenty. UGH. Anyway, I love the theme this month!

  • azultardis May 1st, 2013 8:56 PM

    haha I have a test on friday now I’ll think about drwaing a penis instead of answering hahaha

  • Moxx May 1st, 2013 9:05 PM


  • GaLing May 1st, 2013 10:52 PM


    Now eagerly anticipating the amazingness that is her.

  • kathryn-s May 1st, 2013 11:01 PM

    Super excited for this month and having more time to read Rookie! I have been so busy the past few months and haven’t had as much time to appreciate every post like I used to!!

    Also, super great playlist and appropriate for my life right now. <3 <3 <3

  • allydoubleyou May 1st, 2013 11:20 PM

    Ohgosh, my junior thesisy thingy was on emasculation in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It sucked the life out of me and I didn’t even get a good grade. But it was a great book! Good luck, Tavi!

  • Lola Witch May 1st, 2013 11:26 PM

    Fantastic playlist!!!!

  • bethleeroth May 1st, 2013 11:56 PM

    Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl! <3 <3 <3 all the love

  • elliecp May 2nd, 2013 2:12 AM

    Such a good theme, I love how you come up with all the inspiration to go with it. Must be so much work, and you do it so well!
    Also, that is one perfect playlist <3 <3


  • Lillypod May 2nd, 2013 3:11 AM

    BLONDIE!! my friend and I are going to see her next month!!

  • bohowithlove May 2nd, 2013 9:56 AM

    Is it too late to send an essay for this month’s theme?

  • Sophii May 2nd, 2013 12:00 PM

    Oh my God Tavi I am so, so excited for this month on Rookie! I am reading Just Kids at the moment and love Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe and everything about the Chelsea Hotel in the ’60s and ’70s. The playlist is also fabulous so I can tell this will be a great month on Rookie :D



  • Manda May 2nd, 2013 6:04 PM

    Have you guys not chosen a theme yet for next month? Half the fun of the first of each month is to see what next month’s theme is and to hypothesize!

    • Anaheed May 2nd, 2013 6:10 PM

      We have but we’re still solidifying some stuff before we put it in the little alert box. Should happen in the next day or two.

  • Nikilodeon May 2nd, 2013 10:06 PM

    oh my gosh junior thesis! last year i did mine (only it was called an extended essay ’cause i go to an IB school) on how the roles of women in fairytales have progressed from archetypes to characters over time. your 60s cult idea sounds really great! it’s tiring but i’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun in the process – i know i did.

    by the way, is there any chance rookie could do an article on how to deal with unwanted, negative attention? lately i’ve been getting it from a lot of people in school due to some very personal drama within my group of friends, and it’s frustrating how other, uninvolved people think they can just insert themselves in our personal lives. it sucks especially because the last weeks of senior year are nearing. :(

  • insanejane May 3rd, 2013 4:31 PM

    oh My God !! Edie Sedgwick (I’ll love her forever…<3) + Andy Warhol + (I've just read The philosophy of Andy Warhol from A to B) + The Chelsea Hotel + Diana Vreeland + Patti Smith + Robert Mapplethorpe (I've just read Just Kids) + Keith Haring will be…..a MONTH OF HAPINESS ! <3 Thank you so much Rookie !

  • jennajenna May 6th, 2013 3:42 AM

    Hi! What is the best way to submit a short video contribution if the file size is large? Thanks!

    • Anaheed May 6th, 2013 5:16 AM

      Can you put it on Vimeo or YouTube but set it to private, and send us the link?

      • jennajenna May 16th, 2013 3:09 AM

        Thanks for your reply and the Vimeo tip! I just uploaded it and submitted the link. :)

  • Ruth-Ann May 6th, 2013 8:18 PM

    Fave playlist!