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Rejection letters, correspondence, and miscellanea from the otherwise empty annals of the Journal of Universal Rejection.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Be Nice to Chickens

Dear Dr. S.,


Thank you for submitting your video entitled "Living Chicken Embryo Slices Don't Tolerate Toxins Very Well" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  

I am rejecting your submission with the following video:
 


Note: I did not make this video, nor am I associated in any way with it.  I came across it by typing "chicken toxin" into the YouTube search box.


Best regards,
Caleb

p.s. I didn't send your submitted video to Editor Chicken because I didn't want to upset him!

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lyrisist

More correspondence with author Sonia Lyris.  The earlier conversation may be found here.

Hi Sonia,

Our correspondence went up on the blog, so now it is your turn to be famous.

As to the dialog, I have faced these fancy deconstructionist (or whatever) arguments from others.  If it is in quotes it is dialog.  Except in the case of those crazy fishmongers that put "FRESH" on their signs (with the quotation marks!--we don't buy fish there), or similar circumstances of which your talking monkey is not one.

I did not bother to ask my wife about this, but I'm sure she agrees.

Best regards,
Caleb 

Dear Dr. Emmons:
 
I have been so disconsolate since your last letter I have barely known how to reply. We differ, you and I, on the subtlest of tenuous post-modern deconstructionist arguments. Thus I am forced to ask: have I earned this rejection?  No, I must answer; I have not!
 
So hard and long have I worked for this rejection only to find now it tastes no more of success than failure. It is to me as a glass of water that has sat beside a wine bottle for five minutes is to an alcoholic. How can I show my face to my fellow writers who receive handfuls of rejections a month, all pure and unsullied by questions of reality and "quotes"?  (I have just now spoken that word, so this is correct usage.)
 
Simply put: I cannot!
 
While you may understand your rejection to be true and right, good sir, I am left wanting.
 
And so, please find attached another story submission which I send in the hopes that this time, perhaps, I will have truly earned the rejection I crave. I trust you will give it all the consideration I have by now surely earned. 

YOS, etc.,
 
Sonia Lyris
 
P.S. Here is my story. It is called "A Story." I have quoted it because that's what I call it.   

Once upon a time there was someone who innocently acted with the best of intentions, or perhaps out of ignorance, we can't be sure, and things went wrong. He or she tried to fix this but it only got worse. With a mighty struggle, help from an unexpected source, and attendant personal growth, he or she finally managed to fix the problem in a delightful way that leaves us feeling good.  The end.


Dear Sonia,

Thank you for submitting another story.  It is always a delight to hear from you, and see the multisplendent amalgams of words you arrange.  This submission was no different.  But we did find a problem with it.  It is too descriptive.  Our readership doesn't have time for all the details, and other aids to imagination that you have included.  Please do a rewrite that lacks any adjectives and adverbs, and avoids long words.  And we'd like to see a fishmonger named Mollie in the story.

Best regards,
Caleb



Dear Dr. Emmons:

It is likewise always a pleasure to nearly hit my target.  I dare say I'm getting quite good at it.

Please find (below; really, it's not that hard to find) my rewrite as per your thoughtful and insightful rewrite suggestions.  As is so often the case, I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your feedback.

YOS, etc.

The Story:

Once upon a time there was a fishmonger named Mollie. Some stuff with fish happened. It was intense. It's over now. The end.


Dear Sonia,

According to my dictionary, "intense" is an adjective.  I thought I asked for none of those.  Also your story is too short, and not enough happens.  I want more details.  Put me into Mollie's life.  I want to hear the wet slap of fish as Mollie plops it on her display counter.  I want to feel the sparge of the fish's last exhalation, as its eyes go glassy.  I want to smell--no, to taste!--the delicate parfum of sea salt and kelp gracing Mollie's sun roughened neck.  But pretend I am a blind man; I don't want to see anything.

Best regards,
Caleb
p.s. We correspond so frequently, perhaps you could address me more informally.  (E.g., use a comma.)

p.p.s.  We have received many short stories of late.  (I also consider blank documents and research articles short stories.)  Perhaps you would like to join our Editorial Board?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Readers Reject III: Rejection - A Systematic Review

Our third installment of the Readers Reject series features a submission from Gustavo Martins-Coelho, Anneke van der Niet, and Luca Valerio.  As usual, please post your rejection letters in the Comments section.  (As hint, the authors clearly deserve to be rejected for addressing me as "Mr.")

      Dear Mr. Emmons,

                We believe that an updated systematic review on rejection is missing on your prestigious journal. We therefore fill this gap with the current submission.
                Please find below our submission for the JoUR.

                Yours sincerely,
                Gustavo Martins-Coelho
                Anneke van der Niet
                Luca Valerio

Title: Rejection - a systematic review

Authors: Martins/Coelho G, van der Niet A, Valerio L

Introduction:
Rejection is the action of rejecting [1]. It is also a useful tool to dispose of both useless and useful scientific knowledge. The objective of this study is to review rejection as referred to in scientific literature.

Methods:
We performed a systematic literature review of bibliographic electronic databases and we rejected all the papers that were identified.

Results:
From the 74973 papers identified, all were rejected. We thus included 0 papers in the review.

Conclusion:
We should not underestimate the impact of rejection for the sake of good scientific literature. Further research is needed in this field.

Reference:
1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spotlight on Associate Editor: César A. Rodríguez-Rosario

Biographical Sketch for César A. Rodríguez-Rosario, Ph.D. (BS Computer Engineering from University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, PhD in Physics from University of Texas at Austin)

Dr. Rodríguez-Rosario is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. His interdisciplinary background is a superficially disguised history of rejection after rejection from one field to the next. He is an expert in Open Quantum Systems, in which he studies theoretical models of how to reject and discard quantum information.

On the left: Ludwig Boltzmann, who's life story is one of many rejections;
On the right: Cesar dressed like Boltzmann.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Improbable

Dear Prof. B., et. al.,

Thank you for your submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

After a thorough and penetrating review we have decided to reject your manuscript.  This is because you appear to have not gotten the proper IRB approval to probe zinc antimonides with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.  Did you even take the antimonide's feelings into consideration at all? 

(Our own review would have been shorter, but we did seek out the IRB approval for our own penetrating review of your paper.)

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spam I

Dear Michael,

Thank you for your spam message claiming you have developed a software that automatically places my ad on millions of blogs.

Although I reject your submission for publication in JofUR, I look forward to subscribing to your service.  Apparently I will receive thousands of targeted hits to my website as Blog Blaster places my ad on blogs that match my ad's category.

I am very excited that this method has never been released to the public before. And if, as you say, "very few, if anyone has implemented this!" then I am even more, if at all, exciting.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Credit Card Offers

Dear Dr. C.,

I am afraid that we cannot add you to the editorial board. Although it is true that before becoming Editor-in-Chief of this, the most prestigious and crotchety Journal in the world, all I had rejected were some students' requests to turn in their homework late and several credit card offers, at this point we would not want such a novice on our board.  In your letter you admit that you were in key positions to reject and yet failed to pull the trigger.  How could we trust you with the editorial reins of our Journal?

Plus, we already have several medical types on our board.  I'm sure they (or any other of our esteemed editors) could handle medical genetics.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(S)laughter

Hi Seth,

Thanks for submitting your poem "Slaughter" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  It was good.

But I would remove the 'S' from the title and the 1st word of the 2nd stanza.  That'll make the poem less ominous and more light-hearted.

I'm afraid we cannot publish it as it stands.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Protobuddha

Editor's note: A little followup regarding Monday's post.  I wanted to respond to Ira's claim that our "universal rejection" is merely semantic, and therefore not well grounded.

The Parable of the Protobuddha

Before the historical Buddha was born beneath the sala tree, there lived another whom we shall call the Protobuddha.  His understanding of Buddhism surpassed that of even Buddha's unsurpassable wisdom.  He worked as a fishmonger, until one day he became enlightened under no tree at all.  He was found by his friends lying in his hovel and not moving.  They thought he had had a stroke, and on a makeshift stretcher they bore him out into the mountains to consult a wise healer.  On the way they became overwhelmed with heat and thirst and stopped by a river.  The Protobuddha suddenly stood up, assured his friends that he was okay, that he had to see a man about a horse, and then strode through the raging torrent to the other bank, where he again lay prone and did not move.  His friends were too frightened to cross the river and left him there, returning to the city.  The Protobuddha sat upright, composed his hands on his lap, and sat.  He sat, sitting.  There he sat, and turned grey, then silver, quickly, and he became translucent and disappeared;  even the snail who crawled over his leg did not sense him.  No one knows what happened after that.  Maybe he went back to selling fish?

Interpretation by the Editor-in-Chief:

The Protobuddha realized that to move or not move was the same thing, to eat or not eat the same thing, to sell fish or not sell fish the same thing.  Therefore he did everything and nothing.  But mostly nothing, so therefore he did not become famous and spread his teachings like the historical Buddha.  In the same way, the Protojournal of Universal Rejection has existed many times in the past, but you have not heard of it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Cosmonaut

Dear Yuri,

Thank you very much for your submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

We appreciate your contribution to the study of how much of the body scheme occurs at the level of the spinal cord.  Although your paper seems somewhat interesting, you seem to have ignored the fact that we live in 3-dimensional Euclidean space and did not discuss the up/down dimension.  Our referees demand that you replicate your study aboard the International Space Station.  Without that we will certainly not publish your work.

Best regards,
Caleb
--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Ethan Allen Rejection

Esteemed Editor,

As you are aware, Faulkner once observed that it takes a hundred rejections to get up to zero.  Thus far, I have been amassing these with painstaking slowness: after years of effort, I have to confess that I've only thirty-odd to my account.  At this rate, I'll be an old man before I get to zero--or so I had feared before encountering your illustrious journal.

Given your specialty, I would like to make you a proposition.  It being a bother to send documents in attachment, and to write them at all, I propose to send you a blank email once a month, possibly twice.  This should make rejecting my submissions as efficient as possible.

In addition, if it's not too much to be hoped, I would welcome any extra rejections you care to send my way.  My only stipulation is that they be addressed to me personally; it's no good trying to cheat in such matters.

Sincerely yours,

Ira Allen

p.s. Please find my submission for this month below.


Dear Ira,

I agree to reject your empty submission every month.  In fact my hands are tied; I would have to reject it whether I wanted to or not.  It is our guiding principle, after all.  I have been counting the number of rejections of empty submissions, and this is #20.  I shall have to think whether to include further submissions from you in this count or not.  O, the trials of my life as Editor-in-Chief.

Perhaps instead I can name each rejection after a famous person.  For example I'll name this, the first, your "Ethan Allen Rejection," after the brother of your historical namesake.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection


Dear Caleb,

I apologize for my delay in responding. I have been troubled. On the one hand, I am overjoyed at the promise of years of reliable rejections streaming into my inbox, each with its own particular name. This is delightful. But, on the other hand, there is the source of my dismay.

I tendered two submissions in my previous email: an article, which you rightfully refused to accept and graced with my namesake's brother's name, and a proposition. To my delight--but ah, to my horror also!--you accepted my proposition.

This is truly a conundrum, for I've nothing to gain from being rejected by inconsistent journals, and you've nothing to gain by accepting submissions. Indeed, I made my proposition in good faith, on the strength of your untarnished reputation. The Journal of Universal Rejection! What could be more rigorous, more cerebral? It was immediately clear to me that your journal represented the pinnacle of the western scholarly tradition; I felt honored at the thought of joining the ranks of the greats you had already rejected. It was with this in mind, and on the strength of your back-catalog, that I wrote to you with my proposition. My sad, stupid, ill-fatedly felicitous proposition.

At your reply, I first felt joy. Not only joy--there was a certain professional relief mixed in (no longer, I thought happily, would I have to interrupt my writing, reading, and thought to tailor pieces for journals, negotiate disciplinary or genre constraints and the vagaries of style guides)--but joy above all else.

Imagine, then, my horror as realization sunk in. You had rejected my submission, accepted my proposition! You had accepted my proposition, the proposition I submitted for your approval.

I see now that you must have understood this even as you wrote. Looking back over your lines, I can see you sigh, see the heaviness of heart with which you tell me that your "hands are tied."

It would of course have been different had I thought to write you personally, rather than in your capacity as Editor-in-Chief. I could have asked you for one of these little favors we had thought to escape requesting when we chose academe over the commercial life. "Caleb," I'd have written, "I have a favor to ask." You could have helped me out, juggling the weight of professional responsibilities with the chance to help a young scholar on his way to zero. What kind-hearted person, under such conditions, could have denied me? Besides, as you noted in what we begin to be unable to deny was, against both our wills, an acceptance letter, "It is [y]our guiding principle."

Had I had the foresight to write you personally, we'd not be in our current predicament. How often this is true! But, alas (and alack; I'll help myself to that much, at least), I wrote to you only in your professional capacity.

"Esteemed Editor," I began. Then I laid out my proposition. My article submission itself (below the text, and duly rejected) was, I see now, of absolutely secondary logical importance. Ah, what a travesty, what fraud I unknowingly perpetrated! What could you do, as you yourself said, but accept my proposition? In contrast, say, to the employment proposal of one would-be editor recorded on your website--in whose shoes I, luckless, incompetent wretch that I am, only wish I now could stand. You rightly rejected his proposal, with input from readers, because of the journal's founding principle: "All submissions, regardless of quality, will be rejected." Would that you could so have rejected my proposal, too!

You accepted my proposition and ruined that which led me to submit it: your unblemished record of rejection. I wish now that I could withdraw that proposal, could recall its very memory, but you and I know no such thing is possible. And, so, I have been troubled. Should I simply stay silent, disavow my intimate knowledge, allow your Ethan Allen rejection of my article ms to stand, ignore the contradiction, profit thereby--integrity in tatters, but one step closer to zero? And yet, if I did, would you not call me out, chide me for my indifference to truth, for my scholarly betrayal? And even if you did not, could I bear the quiet ignominy of knowing that you and I both knew you and I had together--helplessly, sorrowfully, hands tied by the ineluctable law of non-contradiction--
contradicted your founding principle? Moreover, could I do you the harm of remaining silent? Could I thus deny my responsibility to you as a fellow, as exposed as I to the logos?

This letter is my solution. I have been troubled, but am no longer. Obviously, it will be necessary to cease production of the journal. Once caught in paradox--though we should have thought negation would be free of such concerns, if anything could--there's no getting free; Russell and Whitehead demonstrated that well enough, if inadvertently. But I'll tell no one; cease production immediately, and I'll carry this secret to my grave. The Journal of Universal Rejection, though short-lived, will forever be remembered as the most rigorous publication possible. That such rigor, too, has its limits will remain unsaid, unsuspected by any but the most cynical souls.

Unless, of course, you publish our correspondence on your blog.  In that case, I will publish it on my blog as well.

Sadly, and with the utmost respect, yours,

Ira (Allen)
Dear Ira,

I wouldn't worry so much.  We only promise to reject submissions.  We accept all kinds of other things.  How do you think we got such a large Editorial Board after all?

Cheers,
Caleb

p.s. On the blog it is.  Recheers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Dutch to Me

In the great onslaught of late January I received two submissions from people named Martijn.  Luckily a month later I was able to reject them both with the same rejection letter.  High fives all around.

Dear Martijn,

Thank you for your submission.  We have let it sit for a month in our Inbox in case we learned Dutch in the mean time.  Sadly for you, we did not.  Hence we are rejecting your paper in an unread state.  Rest assured this rejection has no bearing on the quality of your work.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mulch

Dear Alex,

Thank you for submitting your manuscript "Biomass production in Nauru: A preliminary field trial" to the Journal of Universal Rejection. 

As an avid gardener, I read with great interest your reported results on the differences in biomass production when using mulched versus non-mulched soil.  I printed your paper, shredded it, and mulched it into the soil around half of the pepper plants in my garden.  Since it will take several months before I can determine if this treatment has improved the productivity of the treated specimens, I must reject your paper.

Good luck on finding a suitable venue for your research.
Sincerely,
Eric Chicken                  
Associate Editor
Journal of Universal Rejection

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Port of Rotterdam

Dear MH,

Thank you for your submission "Tendering Seaport Locations  based on Industrial Clustering " to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

We have carefully polled our readership (that is what took so long) and come to the conclusion that none of them cares a whit about the Port of Rotterdam.  You could say, "They don't give a Rotterdam about that port."

Therefore your paper is rejected.

Best regards,
Caleb


p.s.  No offense to the the Dutch, Holland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Low Countries, Nederland, etc.  You guys rock, even if you do confuse me.  High fives all around.

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Superblocks

Dear Prof S.,

Thank you for your submission "SMPs Considered Harmful" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

We take issue with two points in your document. 

First, you state that your goal is to "improve superblocks."  As my one-year-old can attest, there may be no improvement to superblocks because they are already super.

Next, you state "We also constructed new ambimorphic epistemologies."  That does not seem like an appropriate thing for you to be doing.  Just because you have a PhD does not mean you should actually dabble in Philosophy.  Leave that to the Germans.

Because of these flaws, we have decided to reject your paper.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gamma-rays

Dear Dr. C.,

Thank you for submitting to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  We've managed to squeeze in a look at your paper. 

Before I can give you a decision on the paper, I have a question.  You write about "the discovery of large gamma-ray emitting bubbles extending above and below the centre of the Milky Way."  I was wondering about eating breakfast.  Sometimes when I eat cereal for breakfast, there is some milk left in the bottom of my bowl.  And I'll purloin a straw from my son's stash and blow bubbles in the milk like a carefree lad. 

My question is this:  Is there any chance that my playful behaviour could be releasing dangerous gamma-rays?  And if so, is it possible to aim these specifically at certain neighbors?  (Namely the ones with the solar-cells on their roofs.)

Thank you for your time.  Please get back to me ASAP.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lorem Ipsum

Editor's note: It was not until after rejecting this submission from Prof C that I learned from lipsum.com that Lorem Ipsum is "dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry," and then I noticed that Prof C's submission had in fact been generated by said website!

Dear Prof C,

Thank you for your submission "Lorem Ipsum" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

Your submission appeared to be in Latin.  Although our motto (and therefore our blog title) are in Latin, that is no reason to send us submissions in that dead language.  We don't read Latin.  And if our motto is correct it is pure luck.  (We are assuming it must be at this point, having not heard the contrary from some snooty Latin-ptyalizing academician.)

Oh, back to your submission:  it is rejected.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The One

From: Lorieri 
Subject: I'm the one

you know it

Dear Lorieri,

We reject the notion that you are the one.  So are you going to send a submission?

my submission:

Lorieri
Sao Paulo SP
I'M THE ONE
by Lorieri PhD of Nothing

ABSTRACT: somebody shaw be the one

DISCUSSION: I, Lorieri, am the one. (And you know it).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Since you know it, no further information is required.


End.


Thank you for the time spent.


Best Regards,

Lorieri, the one and PhD of nothing.

Dear The One,

O great one, thank you for your submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  You make a convincing argument that you are the one. I feel myself being irresistibly drawn to the opinion that you are the one (see, for example, my salutation).  However, we must let you know that we cannot publish your paper.

Obediently yours,
Caleb the Cipher
--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection
Thanks a lot ! For the patience and your time ! 

I was anxious wondering if I could have the disgrace of the approval. 

Now I am in peace.  

Best regards, 

- lorieri

Friday, April 8, 2011

Désolé

Cher Monsieur,

c'est vraiment chouette votre article bien mais helas, bandalli il bajda tal lemin fuq widintek tax xellug.

Veuillez agreer, cher Monsieur, l'expression de mes sentiments les plus distingues.


Maurice  Preter, MD
www.psychiatryneurology.net

 
Editor-in-Chief's note: One always takes a chance when delegating responsibility, such as allowing Associate Editors to reject things.  I was cc'ed on this rejection by our new Associate Editor M. Preter.  I am hoping that it is indeed a rejection letter.  I can't be sure since I don't speak French.  Also there is that bit 
"il bajda tal lemin fuq widintek tax xellug" 
which is clearly not French.  Google Translate tells me it is Maltese and means 
"the old white left hand on your ear."  
I'm assuming this is Maltese for "I reject you."  ("I slap you upside the head?")  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spotlight on Associate Editor: Maurice Preter

The Editorial Board was in need of a psychiatrist (in more ways than one).  We are very pleased to have Dr. Preter join our ranks.

Biographical sketch for Maurice Preter, MD


Maurice Preter, MD is a practicing neurologist, psychodynamic psychiatrist, and psychopharmacologist based in New York, USA, and a member of the psychiatry faculty of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He considers himself an expert on rejection. After studying the topic for several decades in Western Europe and North America, he is now exploring cross-cultural aspects of rejection as a regular visitor to the People’s Republic of China, where he keeps a busy clinical consulting practice. Dr. Preter’s list of achievements includes being turned down by The Lancet, the British Medical Journal, and the Nobel Committee, however not by Human Resource Executive, or China Daily. For further information and to initiate denial of service, please go to his web site: http://www.psychiatryneurology.net.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Arctangent

Dear JA,

Thank you for your clearly deep and important Physics article.  I skimmed it.  I have two comments

* I would like to know more about equation (19), where you claim you are using a series representation of arctan.  Of course
 is the Taylor series, but I couldn't see that in your paper.  Since arctangent is my favorite function, I am a little disappointed, and want to know more.

* Secondly, you have a section called "Excitations."  I was hoping this would contain some racy pinups,  swashbuckling adventure stories, or something.  But alas, it was just more Physics.

Therefore your paper is rejected.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Preemption (or I Admit I'm Probably Using That Word Improperly)

Dear Stuart,

Thank you for preemptively declining to be on the Editorial Board.  It is true that the Editorial Board--or as we privileged members call it, the Showboat--has grown wildly and is now an unwieldy bunch of hooligans (no offense to any particular Board members--you know who you are).

So it is with great relief that I accept your declension (I admit that I'm probably using that word improperly).   I hope you are not worried that I have just accepted something.  Our founding principle at JofUR is to reject all submissions.  Other things (such as subscriptions) are gladly accepted.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Readers Reject II: The Results

A week ago we asked readers to write rejection letters to Gregory Weaver.  The winner, in a landslide, is Anonymous.  The best part of his or her rejection was 
"Have you considered that efficiency is not the goal but merely the framework of discourse...?"
  With this quality of prose, you might have even won if there had been another submission.

Monday, April 4, 2011

All Work and No Play

Some correspondence with Prof Harbaugh:


Dear Professor and Editor Emmons:

I have been considering suitable publication outlets for my UO Economics Department working paper on the Economics of Work and Play, available here.

I feel that the JofUR would be an excellent fit.

While I know the JofUR's standards for publication are unusually rigorous, I think a quick look will convince you of the unusually wide appeal of this paper - which has already been cited.

I look forward to the referee reports.
Yours,

Bill Harbaugh 
Professor of Economics
1285 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403
http://harbaugh.org

Dear Prof Harbaugh,

Thank you for your submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

A quick glance at the abstract convinced this editor to never stay alone with you as winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel.  I am afraid I must also immediately reject your manuscript, and may seek a restraining order against you.

Best of luck in your future,
Caleb
--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

I was cc'ed on Prof Harbaugh's plea to his Dean:

Subject: my raise
Dear Dean Wormer:

I'm writing to request a long overdue raise on the basis of my extraordinary teaching and research.
As you may have seen on the news, the legal issues raised by my students have now been resolved, and my teaching record therefore can now be characterized as "not guilty".

Research is the only remaining issue. In that regard I append below a revise and resubmit, from Editor Caleb Emmons of the highly selective JofUR.

This is for a paper written during my sabbatical at the Overlook Hotel, and posted here

Reading between the lines, I take Editor Emmons's comments to mean that - after correction of a few typing errors - he will be eager to publish this seminal work.
 
I look forward to your consideration of my request, 

 Bill Harbaugh 

And finally to me:

Dear Editor:

I must report that my attempt to use the revise and resubmit I received from the JofUR as justification for a raise was unsuccessful.

Bill Harbaugh

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Landscape Descriptions

Editor's note: Some correspondence with author Sonia Lyris.

Dear Editor,

Attached please find my short story "Done."

I have lots of publishing credits, but none of them will matter to you.

Thank you for taking the time to reject my story.  It is an honor.

Sincerely,

Sonia Lyris

--
Sonia Lyris
  http://lyris.org | noiseandsignal.lyris.com |  AIM/Yahoo: sonialyris


Dear Sonia,

Thank you for your submission "Done" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

Our readership prefers stories with lots of landscape description.  Clearly as your story stands we cannot accept it for publication.  Should you add something about (e.g.) the hills around Derbyshire into  your story, we would give the story another look.  We also accept bribes, and are almost as trustworthy as the characters in your story; small bills only please.

Best regards,
Caleb

--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection

Dear Dr. Emmons:

It is beyond me to put into words how delighted I was to receive your encouraging note vis-à-vis my story "Done" rather than the swift bona-fide rejection promised me in your Instructions for Authors.

As a writer little could please me more than an invitation to rewrite a story with the possibility dangled before me of being corrected again prior to my pending rejection. Despair and glee war within; never has lack of rejection left me feeling so conflicted.

But I am helpless in the face of editorial whim. Thus please find attached a new version of "Done" which includes a good number of what I hope you will find tasteful and appropriate references to landscape.

I look forward to your reply.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Sonia Lyris

P.S. I will, of course, blog about this. You'll be famous. Possibly.

P.P.S. Send PayPal link.

Editor's note: the rewrite was very good.  Lots of beautiful descriptions of the hills around Derbyshire, etc., stuck in a pleasing semi-random way into the story which had been only dialog. 

Dear Sonia,

We were very pleased to read your updated story.  So much so that we shared it with our wife, who was also very approving.  The landscape descriptions are fantastic.

That said, however, there is still too much dialog.  Our readership doesn't read dialog.  Perhaps a story that is solely about the hills around Derbyshire?  Or a travelogue (sans dialog) of popular vacation spots for hit men?  Ideally it would be a story with 6 characters and no dialog.

Sincerely,
Caleb


Dear Dr. Emmons:

I lament my inability to express my pleasure at receiving your non-rejection. You are right: there is too much dialog in the story. I see how your audience could not possibly read such a thing.

I wish I could express to you my gratitude for your willingness to work with me on this issue.

Please find attached my complete rewrite with no dialog whatsoever. I hope it will be more to your and (perhaps more importantly) your wife's liking.

Cordial regards,

Sonia Lyris

P.S. It occurs to me that despite your fearless reputation in academia, you might be withholding a rejection out of misplaced concern for my emotional well-being. Be assured that I have been rejected before many, many times, though rarely with quite this much work.

P.P.S. Grateful regards to your wife.  Does she publish a journal, by any chance?




Dear Sonia,

Please excuse my yet again tardy reply.  You will surely understand that we are busy here, and these decisions take time. 

We have decided to reject your submission.  Although we don't need a reason, here is one.  Although you claimed your story had no dialog, clearly on page 37 of your ms appears:
    "Carry on," the monkey said to Alan, with a smile and a rose.

Frankly you can only give us the run-around on this issue so many times.  We have demanded more landscape descriptions, and no dialog, and yet you continue to have your characters jibber-jabber throughout the entire story (or at the very least on the last page.)  I hope you in general submit to editors with more patience than I.

Thanks for playing.

Best regards,
Caleb

p.s.  You needn't have worried about our fear of rejecting fiction writers.  For example, we rejected Geoffrey Landis on the first go.

p.p.s.  Any interest in our correspondence appearing on the Journal's blog?
http://reprobatiocerta.blogspot.com/


Dear Dr. Emmons:

I have a confession to make. I trust that, given the length and intimacy of our friendship, you'll carefully consider my words before passing judgment.

I knew you would bring up the monkey. Given your extensive education, uncommon insight, and position as the editor of the most prestigious arts and science journal in the world, it was inevitable.

Assuming, that is, that you had read the story. We writers are a delicate and insecure lot, never certain that our darling creations will get the attention they deserve. I am deeply gratified to discover that you have, indeed, read all the way through. Yes, the quotes were a deliberate ploy. I trust you understand.

Now, as to the rejection. Yes, of course you need give no reason, but, alas, you have. As I have sought this rejection most ardently, I am loathe to explain your error, but integrity demands I do so.

The monkey is not in our world, but in a virtual reality, and thus not speaking at all. Indeed, the illusion of monkey-speak in this story is a postmodernist reflection on the collective cultural delineation of "speech" in contrast to the abstract notion of "silence" highlighted by appearing within artificial quotes in a story with no true dialog. It is a literary device representing man's struggle to be heard.

From a scientific viewpoint, the monkey's actions move no air molecules and thus fail to change the physical world in any fashion whatsoever. The monkey is, for all intents and purposes, both literarily and literally, mute.

I trust you see the profound symbolism here.

I must therefore with great disappointment reject your rejection as standing on no solid ground. While I long for the rejection I have worked so hard to obtain, I cannot, alas, accept it under false pretenses.

YOS, etc.,

Sonia Lyris

P.S. Thank you, but Mr. Landis is a better writer than I am, so that's hardly a fair comparison. 

P.P.S. Should these subtleties be unclear in any way, you may wish to consult your wife, as she has shown uncommon good judgment on these matters in the past. 

P.P.P.S. Blogging appears to be the done thing, good sir; if you wish my consent, you certainly have it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Coin Flip

Dear Drs. Sponge, Gurkenkern and Mistermirandran-Hua:

Thank you for submitting your article to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  I notice that the first large word in your email is misspelled.  This did not dispose me kindly toward expending any effort in reviewing your article.  Since you randomly generated the paper, I think it only fair that I randomly reject it.  (I believe I have a coin around here somewhere  ...  ah, here it is  ...  tails.)

After careful consideration, your article is rejected.

I firmly believe that all rejection letters should end on a positive note.  Therefore, allow me to congratulate you on the correct spelling of many of the words in your email.

Again, thank you for considering the Journal of Universal Rejection.

Sincerely,

Eric Chicken                  
Associate Editor
Journal of Universal Rejection


Editor-in-Chief's note: In this case we dodged a bullet,
 as luckily the coin came out tails. Whew!  

Monkey at the Keyboard

The monkey at the keyboard should not be allowed to make decisions.  We have relegated him to the back room and are teaching him to be a sous chef.  And we are reverting to our original title: the Journal of Universal Rejection, our original logo, and most importantly our original mission: to reject any and all submissions regardless of quality.  Please disregard yesterday's posts.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Universal Acceptation, Update

We are ready to roll out our new logo:

 

Universal Acceptation

We announce with great pleasure that the Journal of Universal Rejection is changing its name to the Journal of Universal Acceptation.  (We would have gone with the Journal of Universal Acceptance, but that was already taken.)  All papers submitted will be acceptated.