We Will Not Be Sending Out Rejection Letters: My Hate-Hate Relationship With Rolling Stone


Story by Christine Ernest


Last week I received a cryptic email in my inbox with the subject reading “Are You A Journalism Survivor?” Upon realizing it was in fact not a fun survey to copy and paste to annoy my co-workers, I found it was a heads up about a new reality show about the art of writing. For RollingStone.com recently posted an ironic message that read, “Respected music magazine seeks dynamic, culture-conscious writers to work at Rolling Stone and be on MTV…all at the same time!”

The last time I checked, a “respected” magazine would not fall suspect to mindless reality television on a network like MTV. I can just visualize Rolling Stone‘s reality show plopped between “True Life: I Want To Be A Famous One-Wheeled-Motorcycle-Star” and a marathon of the latest speed-dating series MTV created to follow suit with the trashy “Next” and “Date My Mom,” which I would never let my own mother appear on, EVER. After I ruled out that Rolling Stone was trying to play a witty joke on the public, I realized they were for real. They could have contests entitled, “Which journalist can drink the most Sparks without having a heart attack and still get to the next gig to interview the headlining band on time?”


I pictured myself in 20 years sitting in the back of a smoky bar, watching the next up-and-coming hyped band with disdain only to write a glowing review, unless I wanted to be particularly creative that day and criticize something that everyone else was loving at that moment.

I quickly scanned over their 13-page application for the contest/television series. It had fun questions like “What three stories would you love to pitch to your editor at Rolling Stone?” I already knew my story ideas would be to go underground and investigate the mysterious mole people of NYC. Next I would want to do an investigative report on the glamorous and sometimes violent behavior surrounding modern-day music hailing from across the big pond which I would dub “Brit-core” (I would achieve this by joining the Cribs on tour for a week to count how many times Ryan Jarman would bleed). Then, last but certainly not least, I would portray an in-depth, day in the life of Arnold Schwarchenegger. Then, towards the end of the application I saw those mandatory-TV questions like “Are you an emotional person?” and “When was the last time you cried?” Until I came to those questions, it completely slipped my mind that the contest needed to be good for television and it had nothing to do with pitching good stories, editing or writing quality.

I also had a feeling that at least half of the final members of the show would be the people version of Pitchfork. They would probably have pretentious opinions about singles because of the way a certain song would break down into a 5/4 time signature. That’s when I realized that this merging of Rolling Stone and MTV was going to be a complete piece of shit, and I couldn’t believe I actually gave a thought as to sending in an application to be on the show. The sad part is that not so long ago I didn’t have such a hate-hate relationship with Rolling Stone Magazine. Ever since I was a young girl I wanted to be a writer, and when I hit high school I decided I wanted to do so for Rolling Stone. I pictured myself in 20 years sitting in the back of a smoky bar, watching the next up-and-coming hyped band with disdain only to write a glowing review, unless I wanted to be particularly creative that day and criticize something that everyone else was loving at that moment.


Surprisingly, instead of adding their television show onto my personal boycott of the magazine, I will undoubtedly watch it and probably end up rooting for the slightly overweight boy hailing from a little town in Utah that had the bassist from the first band he interviewed throw up on him.

When I finally got a taste of what the music industry consisted of during my early years at college, I became analytical of the magazine because I wanted to read something that wasn’t just telling me about hackneyed trends. I yearned for something more. I turned my back on what Rolling Stone represented and turned to my new circle of friends to be my musical informants. I thought I should try to be an intern for a big publication while I was still in college, so I sent out mass quantities of my resume and clips to many places, even Rolling Stone. Then it happened…Rolling Stone had the audacity to reject me – fortunately after I already had a job I was happy with, but the worst part is that they rejected me passively. They sent me a simple email with the instructions “We will not be sending out rejection letters,” and I didn’t receive a rejection or acceptance letter. Shortly after my snub from Rolling Stone, I shunned it for life and swore to never drop another four dollars on it again. Surprisingly, instead of adding their television show onto my personal boycott of the magazine, I will undoubtedly watch it and probably end up rooting for the slightly overweight boy hailing from a little town in Utah that had the bassist from the first band he interviewed throw up on him.

+++

Ever since Christine Ernest composed a smashing, two-part series about unicorns at the precocious age of 12, she knew being a writer was her destiny. Growing up in the small tourist town of Cape May, NJ, Christine lived quite a sheltered life. It was when she moved to Philadelphia for college and became the music director of the radio station that she was corrupted by the seemingly innocent entity that is the music industry. Her extensive knowledge of all things music and useless pop culture trivia has transformed Christine into a force to be reckoned with. You may also know Christine for receiving the prestigious award of “Biggest Flirt” at CMJ 2k5 but she has since settled down (and for the first time in a long time, it is not with a boy in the music industry.) Christine is a contributing writer for the Friday Morning Quarterback, as well as a freelance writer for more publications than you can shake a stick at.

POSTED May 4, 2006 12:49PM IN THE TRIPWIRE Comments (32)

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