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

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reality Therapy

Dear M       ,

Thank you for your submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  We appreciate that you did not send the paper, and opted instead for a bullet-pointed list.  (In the future, please attached bullet-pointed lists as PowerPoint documents.)

Your list began with the claim that "reality therapy is pretty frickin' sweet."  This led us to the thankfully-unblacked-out Wikipedia to read the first paragraph of the article about reality therapy.

Your submission has completely changed the life of this editor.  When I read that reality therapy does not try to delve into a patient's past, but rather to focus on positive changes for the future, it reverberated to the depths of my sole (yes, I did mean to spell it that way).  Could this therapy be applied to me?  Don't I often hold on to past wrongs, and poison all future endeavors?  Reading that paragraph, I vowed to change for the better.  My wife hasn't gotten home from work yet, but when she does, I'm sure she'll be overjoyed to hear that I forgive her for throwing the toilet-paper tube into the trashbin instead of recycling it.  And that she is off the hook for saying I put too much salt into last night's dinner.  And I forgive my son for when he was eight months old and he bit me!  Ah the release!  Also my brother will be happy to hear that the vacuum-cleaner shark incident is forgotten.

Now to focus on the future.  Yes, I would finally get that hair cut that has been in the offing for months.  (Well, hm, maybe.... at least I'm going to clip my toenails.)  And do laundry!  I have big plans.

With all this heady change, I applied reality theory faster, further.  Even unto the Journal of Universal Rejection.  Was our title too mired in past resentment.  Did all the papers we've rejected weigh on us, like... like... like... something really heavy that weighs on us?  Could 'rejection' itself be considered negative?  Shall we change our name?  Let's see, we're supposed to focus on what we really want.  And what we want is not 'rejection.' 

And then the answer struck us:  We only use rejection as a tool to garner prestige!  Maybe we can rename the journal the Journal of Prestigious Prestigiousness!  Or the Super Bestest Journal in the World.  Super Bestest in the Universe!  Universal Journal of Awesomeness!!

But then we thought, nah.

Your submission is rejected.

Best regards,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

... 87, 88, 89, ...

Dear Tilemahos,

Thank you for submitting your research paper to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  A casual glance informs me it is written in Greek.  I can't read Greek, but I enjoyed flipping through your manuscript and watching the numbers in the upper right hand corner of each page increase.  At first these numbers seemed to be jumping by 10's or 20's, but once I calmed down and proceeded in an orderly fashion more befitting an associate editor of the world's most prestigious journal, it became clear that the numbers incremented by the customary step size of one.  

After this initial in-depth review of your paper, I walked to a coffee shop to purchase and consume a fine beverage (which was even more delightful than usual since I drank it in a Journal of Universal Rejection Ceramic Travel Mug!).  I took your paper along with me in order to give it a quick second look.  On the way to the shop I walked past several young men with sequences of three Greek letters emblazoned on their clothing and headwear.  Surely, they must be experts in the Greek language!  Excitedly, I showed them your manuscript in order to form a better understanding of its intellectual merit.  Strangely, the conversation went something like this:

Me:  "Excuse me, gentleman.  Would you please take a moment to peruse this paper and give me your opinions of it?"

They:  "Dude."

Me:  "I know it's somewhat lengthy, but you would be providing a valuable service to the scholarly world."

They:  "Like, duuuuude."

Me:  "I take it that you are uninterested in reviewing this?"

They:  "LOL!  R U nuts?"

Then they walked away, laughing. 

So, I must base my decision on your manuscript without the benefit of input from additional reviewers.  It is a nice paper, with the page numbers increasing in an orderly and efficient manner.  Unfortunately, this is not enough to meet our high standards and expectations.  I must reject your paper.  


Eric Chicken
Associate Editor
The Journal of Universal Rejection

Monday, January 23, 2012

Five JofUR Essay Topics

1) Compare and contrast JofUR and /dev/null.

2) Compare and contrast JofUR and an Orwellian memory hole.

3) What I love most about JofUR.

4) If JofUR were a foodstuff, what foodstuff would it be?

5) Name five causes of the War of 1812.

Friday, January 20, 2012

ExtraTerrestrial Begs and Threatens

Dear Citizen Moshanthingliodorlu Dazkoranmar:

I always appreciate a cover letter that begins with begging. It warms my heart and makes me beneficently inclined toward the submitted work, nearly as much as does your subsequent threats to my entire race pending our rejection.

Though I must say that I'm not at all sure that changing the water on Earth to blueberry juice would be such a bad idea. Was that threat or bribe?

Yes, Citizen of Planet DARMANC-917, Galaxy 509B, Quadrant II, Ward 181 (Street 53, Unit 419), nothing could please us here at the Journal more than to acknowledge you as our first alien author submission. Such a thrill would no doubt overshadow even the long-anticipated bonuses promised us by our esteemed corporate overlords.


If I had a dollar for every alien we have rejected here at the Journal, I would have that bonus and then some. If I even had two bits for each of the legions of aliens who have sent us stories--works as remarkable as yours, I might add--who have begged and threatened to gain acceptance, why, I would have enough cash for a decent meal. Or a Starbucks latte.

Now to your submitted story. It certainly is a story, and we perceive the alienness of it peering around the words. But, to be blunt, it is a classic trope about world destruction at the hands of an all-powerful AI, and it has--oh my yes--been done before.

As an alien, of course, you wouldn't know this. I recommend to you the science fiction libraries of any number of fans who I am confident would be delighted to host your alien self for as long as it takes to devour their collection. (I mean that metaphorically; look it up.) Perhaps this will give you the necessary perspective for your next story.

Thank you for your submission.

We look forward to the blueberry juice.

Sonia Lyris, ExtraTerrestrial Editor
Journal of Universal Rejection

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Palindrome Em Or Dni Lap

Dear James,

Thank you for submitting your article "Can an Algorithm for Palindrome Reversal be Written in O(log n) Time?" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

I attempted to do a preliminary review of your article yesterday.  But when you defined a 'palindrome,' you cited Wikipedia.  I could not check on that, since it was SOPA Blackout Wednesday.  So I just gave up.

Today, however, I drank a Redbull, and came at the problem of looking at your paper with renewed energy.  All was going well for your paper until I got to your algorithm for palindrome reversal.  Although I believe your abstract that polynomials can "Probably" be reversed in O(log n) time, I regret to inform you that the algorithm you provided:
  For(i=0; i < n; i++)
       do nothing;
runs in O(n) time! 

I propose that you used a probablistic algorithm which randomly picks letter positions between 1 and floor(n/2), then switches the letter in that position with its conterpart iff the neighboring letters satisfy the Birch-Swingertown-Dying condition.

If you attempt this, we will take another look at your paper.

For now, it is rejected.

Best regards,

p.s.  We'll review your other submission sometime.  Yeah.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Contents of Our Stocking

RE: Your empty submission of 12/25/2011

Dear Michael,

What, were we bad at the Journal of Universal Rejection this year?  No Christmas present?  Even Santa gave us something this year--though granted, its chemical structure looked like this:
image by Karol007; Wikimedia Commons

We cannot accept your piece.  Had you submitted on Michaelmas, perhaps you'd've had mas suerte (pero probablemente no.)

Happy New Year,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection
Twitter: @JUnivRejection

Friday, January 13, 2012

JofUR Rejects SOPA: Press Release

Contact: Caleb Emmons        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Email: j.universal.rejection@gmail.com
Twitter: @JUnivRejection

SOPA Would Be Bad for Business

The Journal of Universal Rejection officially declares its opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).  We vow to not publish another issue online until the bill is defeated.

According to the Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Caleb Emmons, "If my--admittedly shaky--understanding of the bill is correct, it would force several of my favorite websides (napster.com, myspace.com, and huffingtonpost.com) to become de facto journals of universal rejection.  Frankly we can't stand that kind of competition in the rejection business.  At least not until we have more Twitter followers."

The Journal plans to join other prominent websites (Reddit.com, the Cheezburger Network, Wikipedia?) in the Internet blackout on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012.  "Our initial thought was to not participate.  We hoped to pick up some web traffic that would no longer be going to those other sites.  But our consciences spoke, and demanded action," said Emmons.  "Our second thought was to replace our website http://www.universalrejection.org with a single image of a giant thumb poking downward into a sopapilla," continued Emmons.  However, in the end, we were afraid that our cyber-thumb would be burned by hot cooking oil, so have decided to position the thumb hovering dangerously close to, but not penetratingm, the sopapilla.

It is also quite likely that we won't post anything to our blog http://reprobatiocerta.blogspot.com on January 18th, 2012.  Sometimes we like to take Wednesdays off.

Ultimately, the U.S. government--or any government for that matter--should not be in the business of shutting down the dissemination of peoples writing, art work, films, and so forth.  Let us reserve that niche for specialized Journals such as the Journal of Universal Rejection.

# # #

If you'd like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Caleb Emmons, please email j.universal.rejection@gmail.com and follow @JUnivRejection on Twitter

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Dear SP,

Thank you for submitting "untitled.odt" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  You are the 24th person to submit an empty document to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

I must congratulate you on two levels.

Firstly, because you are the first person to submit an empty Open Office document.  I take that your aim is to provide a biting social commentary on the state of Word processing today.  Your aim, by submitting to us, is drive a sudden wedge into the monopolistic control of Microsoft Corp.  Like the toenail of a penguin that slabs an enormous iceberg off of the Ross Ice Shelf, your submission is the final claw, and like that same icerberg, once afloat, 90% of its meaning is underwater!  I predict that within a few days of the publication of this rejection letter, it will no longer be necessary for every single job applicant to waste space on a resume writing "Microsoft Office"

Secondly, by naming your document "Untitled," you follow in the footsteps of such great artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Rothko, Emily Dickinson, Charles Simic, ... The list goes on and on.  A bit of their greatness has rubbed off on your work, which glows with a warm amber aura.

We do reject all submissions, empty or not.  Therefore--despite the social commentary and glowing halo--yours is rejected. 

And trust me, the emptiness we publish is our own, not yours.

Best regards,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 10-minute Play

Dear Michael Maiello,

Thank you for submitting your play "Titus of the Bank" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

Unfortunately I must let you know that we can neither publish, nor enact, your play.  Moreover, we must discourage you from writing, or sending, any more 10-minute plays.  The reason for this is twofold.

Firstly, what is up with a 10-minute play?  Think about your consumer--the theater-goer.  Must I call a hotline to order overpriced tickets, find a babysitter, take a shower, iron my shirt, comb my hair, find my cuff-links, relearn how to tie a tie, polish my shoes, drive downtown, find parking, stand in line in the cold, have a hassle when they can't find my tickets, get seated in the drafty part of the theater where there is also no view of the stage, and then to find out that the play IS ONLY TEN MINUTES LONG???

So you can see, we are not particularly inclined toward 10-minute plays in general.  But let us move on.  I have taken a look at your play.  It seemed to only have three characters.  But I guess that is forgivable, given its length (or shortness).  But did you know that the characters "Titus," "Saturninus," and "Tamora" have already appeared in a perfectly good play by a certain Francis Bacon--or was it Christopher Marlowe?  In any case, it's been done before, and though I didn't really read your play, I'm sure the old one was much better.  And perhaps worth all the travail.

Thanks for your time.  Maybe if you add some more to the play, and get some new characters, we will take a second look at it.

Best regards,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Twitter Twitter Twitter

[Begin important announcement]  The Journal of Universal Rejection can now tweet.  We have yet to do so, but we can.
Yay! [End important announcement]

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Andre the Giant and Mentos

Dear Prof. L             ,

In your paper you write:

"Many caveats apply to our conclusion, which is likely to be false."

This was a breath of fresh air in the musty halls of academia.  Nay, more than a breath, it was as if Andre the Giant ate an entire package of Mentos™, inhaled huge lungfuls of sulfur hexafluoride, and then blew a ginormous blast into said halls.  

Because your paper was so insightful, we have decided not to publish it in the Journal of Universal Rejection.  Here is what would happen if we did:

(1) Your paper would shoot to the top of our most-read list
(2) Your paper would be read by everyone-who's-anyone in academia
(3) You would be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences
(4) Like sand through the hourglass, prestigious job-offers would pour in

And that's just the beginning.  Clearly you could never extricate yourself from academia's musty halls at that point.  The must must overwhelm you--or the mustiness must, mustn't it?  Like one overcome by mustard gas, you would be rendered incapable of escape.

But you deserve to live free.  Publish or perish?  We say live rejected or die!  Perish before it's too late.  Take your insights and head to Wall Street!

Best regards,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection