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

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More Twitter Stories Please

Dear Dr. W,

Thank you for sending us your poignant and bloody story "Brocklebank Hollow." While we are as susceptible to stories about murdered mothers as the next journal, we must reject your story on the grounds that our readership is simply not prepared to face the realities of modern dating and the state of publishing.  We hope you will consider sending us your next short, micro, hint, or twitter story -- forms of increased interest to our editorial staff.


Sonia Lyris

Sonia Lyris, Associate Editor

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cultural Anthropology vs. Aardvarks

Dear Dr. B.,

Thank you for the enquiry.  We are very much interested in receiving all sorts of papers.  You suggest one in the field of cultural anthropology, and that would be fine.  However, frankly we would prefer one about aardvarks.  Aardvarks are funny animals, and since we're going to reject your paper anyway, we might as well do so laughing.  Of course to me, the funniest thing about aardvarks is their name, because it starts with two 'a's and ends with 'vark.'  However you may not find this as humorous as I do, given that you probably speak Dutch and just think it means 'Earth Pig.' 

Anyhoo, maybe you should stick with cultural anthropology.  It seems like you had some good ideas, though I must admit I skimmed them.  O o o!, or you could write about wombats.

Best regards,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spotlight on Associate Editor: Omar Ha-Redeye

Biographical Sketch for Omar Ha-Redeye, AAS, BHA(Hons.), PGCERT, J.D.

With a name like Omar Ha-Redeye you have no choice but to be unique, and you quickly learn to reject normalcy. He was diagnosed as a genius at an early age, leading to a life-long rejection of mainstream education as something boring and unchallenging.

He was born in Hamilton, Ontario and grew up in Toronto, but rejected the notion that he should stay in his home town. Starting out his journeys as a young teen he traveled across Canada, somehow graduating high-school out in the Prairies, and made a few trips around the world before ending up in the United States.

Rejecting the idea that students should do a straight-forward degree in Arts and study something like Chaucer, or a Science degree where he could look at organic chemistry for hours on end, he went all out and studied Nuclear Medicine Technology.

Most people in this field tend to find a nice hospital job and settle down for a while, while a select few make some real money travelling and doing temp work. Omar rejected the former option, which led to further rejection of more leases and local ties.

He also rejected the idea that he should be content with something like nuclear medicine, and continued on his education in health management. After sampling some management experience in traditional healthcare settings, he decided he needed more chaos in his life and made his way to a disaster zone in the Far East.

There’s only so much rubble you can clear and only so many dead bodies you can bury before you start looking for a new gig. Public relations was the flavour of the year, right before jumping into yet another field.

If there’s any profession that is imbued with tradition, it would be the law. Unlike in the United States, Canadians retain much of their British heritage. They don’t wear wigs any more in Canada, but the lawyers there still wear legal robes.

He would’ve gone with pink robes if he wasn’t concerned the judge would kick him out of the courtroom. Instead he settled for fancy tabs, which in the legal profession is really pushing the limit.

His law school is still recovering from his time there, which fortunately ended in 2010.  Besides creating general havoc and turning the school on its head, he headed a wide assortment of student clubs. Perhaps most importantly, he found the notion that his law school was the only Common Law (English) school without a law review to be thoroughly repugnant.

He created the Western Law Review Association to change that, and the club finally launched The University of Western Ontario Journal of Legal Studies in 2011. The journal is strongly contemplating the model of the Journal of Universal Rejection as one that would considerably minimize the work involved, and to date has refused to publish a single issue.

Perhaps a little inconsistent, he is less tolerant of others rejecting him. He insisted on publishing in several books and journals throughout law school, including Oxford University Press. Don’t even try turning him down on a date.

But because editors tend to frustrate him, his major form of publication is self-publication. You might know them as blogs. Just try Googling his name, you’ll get an idea of what this guy has done. He has even managed to get his blog posts cited in reputable legal journals (suckers).

Within months of graduating law school he was offered a part-time teaching position at Ryerson University. He thought about rejecting it, but then imagined all the fun he could have rejecting the arguments of his students. They come prepared to class with a thick skin, lots of alternative theories, and sometimes, a box of tissues.

His total lack of conformity to any sense of a traditional career makes him perfect for an editorial position with the Journal of Universal Rejection. Just please, don’t take his rejections personally.

Remember, it’s not you, it’s him.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The End of All War


Attached please find my submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection. 



Dear End War,

Is your submission the end of all war?  That is a hard thing to reject.  So I am not going to reject your central tenet "the end of all war," but simply reject your document, which you did not attach, or if it is the empty document then auto-reject it. 

Best regards,

p.s. If you could let me know if the lack of an attachment was purposeful or an oversight that will help me keep my empty document count accurate.  Thanks.

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Friday, June 17, 2011


Dear Prof D,

Thank you for your submission "Are There Too Many Footnotes In Journal Articles?"  But we are rejecting it because it did not contain enough footnotes.1,2,3,4,5,6,7


1.  How many footnotes are enough?
2.  That is a question you didn't answer.
3.  How will we ever know?
4.  Probably less than ten per paragraph.
5.  And it should also be a prime number.
6.  And as many as possible given constraints 4 & 5.
7.  Therefore 7.

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Motto?

The Journal of Universal Rejection... Making It That Much Easier to Get into the Rejected Quarterly.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Dear Vaclav,

Thank you for your submission "Business through the eyes of Catholic Church" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  It has been filed away until it is "ripe" for rejecting.  You never know when that will be.

However I wanted to respond right away to the scurrilous accusation that our email account editor@universalrejection.org is "acting funny."  There are two reasons I wanted to respond to this
scurrilous accusation right away:
(1) it is
scurrilous, and
(2) I needed some blog content to post today, but am too lazy to write a rejection letter right now.

So, as to the
scurrilous accusation that our mail is "acting funny."  First let me point out that the accusation is completely scurrilous.  The fact that the email address semi-randomly will bounce emails is not a bug; it is a feature.  (And it is scurrilous of you to claim otherwise.)  Some submissions to JofUR are rejected by "Editor Email" as I call him.  Secondly let me point out that not only is the accusation scurrilous, but I find it scurrilous.  (You will have to ask a philosopher about that one.  You could ask our own resident philosopher Luca Moretti, but chances are he'd find you question scurrilous and reject you out-of-hand.)  Thirdly, ..., we I don't really have a thirdly.  And fourthly that's all I have to say. 

With s
currilous regards,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Lament of the Indigenous Freshperson

Dear Bill,

Thanks for submitting
A poem that was "interesting." 
It's not artifice
If I call it nice.
Some of the formatting was queer,
Like the punctuation at the end of this line here?
And I found it wretched
How some of the rhymes were stretchéd.
And felt enraged
By the biased language. 
We've decided to refrain
From publishing your refrain
For at least a year.
Frankly your work's subpar.

Best regards,

p.s. To say your work is "subpar" is actually a complement.  Isn't the goal in golf to get your scores subpar?

p.p.s.  Your poem was better than mine, but you probably spent more time on it.  That's my lame excuse.

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Statistical Aesthete

Dear Prof S.,

Thank you for submitting a statistical poem to the Journal of Universal rejection.

An analysis of word-lengths appearing in your poem yielded the following:
1 letter words 1 1.4%
2 letter words 8 11.4%
3 letter words 15 21.4%
4 letter words 17 24.3%
5 letter words 10 14.3%
6 letter words 8 11.4%
7 letter words 3 4.3%
8 letter words 6 8.6%
12 letter words 1 1.4%
13 letter words 1 1.4%

It appears that there are too many 8-letter words in your poem.

Therefore we must reject your poem.  Should you convert some 8-letter words into 7-letter words, and/or perform a Kolmogorov–Smirnov test on a log-transformation of this data, we will reconsider your piece.  (Don't hope for any change in the outcome, however.)

Best regards,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Read Read Wine

Dear Dr. C,

Thank you for submitting "Mercury Concentration in Italian Red Wine from a Mining Contaminated Region, Tuscany" to the Journal of Universal Rejection. 

We will soon be holding our annual Editorial Board retreat at an undisclosed location, and were wondering if you would be willing to deliver 4,250 L of wine there (we would at that point disclose the location). Should the wine contain undue quantities of mercury--or lead--that would fit perfectly with the banquet's theme "The Mad Hatter's Teaparty."  Tasting will proceed in a musical-chairsy sort of way, with the Editor-in-Chief leading the way as we rotate around the table, relating personal anecdotes, reciting oodles of nonsense poetry, and posing unsolvable riddles.  You could come if you want.

In return for the wine we will promise to report any slurred speech or other toxicological effects to contribute to your wider study.  Who knows, perhaps we would all be feeling jolly and you would score the first acceptance issued by our Journal.  Without an affirmative response on the beverage delivery, however, I'm afraid I must hold up a mirror to your rejection.

Best regards,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Monday, June 6, 2011

Readers Reject IV: Universalism

Dear readership, here is your fourth opportunity to reject an abstract submitted to JofUR, and your first opportunity to reject two people from Harvard, one from Belgium, and someone from some mag known as Science, all in one fell swoop.  Please post your rejection letters in the Comments section.  Be careful, they are tricky.

What’s wrong with universalism?

 Abstract : In this paper, we argue against universalism. There are innumerable examples of exceptions to the rule. This, in fact is a rule. We look at the consequences of this important finding for publication ethics. Our finding is that, despite the weather, if the problem is proving that there are always exceptions to the rule, then proof depends on you. Were this paper to be (unfairly) rejected, it would support our secondary hypothesis that not every rule has an exception. 

Content : The proof is in the pudding (or in the abstract)


Axel Gosseries (Louvain University) 
John Bohannon (Science magazine) 
Nir Eyal (Harvard University)  
Leah Price (Harvard University)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blibber Blatner

Preliminary abstract of as-yet-pre-first-draft paper:
   How to think good.
         This paper describes how to think good.
             Good thoughts in a good way.
    If you don't publish this, maybe you're bad. You don't want that, do you? Nooooo, I know you don't. So try. Try harder. ... no, a little harder... to the right... up a little,  up, up, and away... that's it.
          I await your first complimentary issue.

          Very humbly and sincerely,
Adam Blatner, M.D.

Dear Dr Blatner,
Thank you for your submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection. 

We liked your indenting and punctuation.  But indenting and punctuation alone do not cut it.  We're afraid that the rest of the submission did not warrant publication in our prestigious Journal.  Try not to take it too hard. 

Best regards, 

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Caleb, Caleb old buddy, Don't do this to me. This is my one shot to get published! My acamedic carer is at steik!    Look, I'll put in the punrcreation, the cumpturitin,  whatever,  the dots and dashes and spot... I'll wash your windows...
   Caleb, don't make me beg, man. 

    For me, for old times, for the good times, pleeez 

I'll lern to spel beter, 2.   Give me a brake. 
      My techer was texting alla time. How cud I lern to rite gud? 
   A for effort, y'know? 
           Don't reget my self-isteam. 

Your hummel and obedient survant (I read they uset 2 sine letres that way in the olden days) 


Dear Professor or doctor or somthing hoity-toity...
   A few months ago I did you the honor of submitting or threatening to submit some world-shaking insight for your publicational enjoyments, but you gave the puny excuse below. Let me flatter your ego by noting that your concept is faintly amusing to the less (or more) desperate, but I have saved my copy of our correspondence and will challenge your good (or bad) judgment to give me a break this one last time, no kidding.
   Perhaps mine is not the only item and you have accumulated sufficiently insightful pieces for a print-on-demand volume---so much more plausible than a decade past.
   If you are sufficiently apologetic, I'll allow you to respond. Otherwise, this is (sob) our final communication. From now on, it's up to    THE ANGELS   (ominous thumping music in the background)...

   Or perhaps I will let you write up your experiences for the Journal of (very) speculative philosophy. (It turns out there actually is a journal of speculative philosophy, so I had to stretch it.)

   I remain, your humble & etc.  Adam

Dear Adam,

We can't publish such Blibber Blatner.
Our printing press isn't made of rubber.

Video interlude:


Thank you for a lot of fun sir.

Best regards,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ultimate Foosball

Dear Drs. S., H., H., and L.:

Thank you for you submission "Ultimate Foosball" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

We have been too busy conducting an Ultimate Foosball tournament to respond to your wonderful submission.  However the tournament, and it's followup 7 round rematch has finally come to an end, and a period of ultimate exhaustion ensued.  After that we drank some lemonade and felt much better.

Then we sat down and had a hard think about rejecting your piece.  This was not going to be easy.  Did we need to find a reason to reject?  No, not according to our charter.  But we had this nagging suspicion that if our rejection fell short of your expectations you would shoot back with an email that read "Our grandmothers could reject better than that."  The horror!  The horror! 

But our cogitations wound down to an end without great effect.  Therefore we are sending this rejection, for what it's worth.  And we've chartered a boat to float up the Thames; you'll find us mumbling at length about rejection in the jungle, and obsessively checking our email on our iPad.  At nights we'll dream of Ultimate Foosball as we shiver under the grey starless skies.

Best regards,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection