Here's a sample from last October, starting with an actual email I received from a real editor of a MAJOR American literary journal.
I'm not just an editor. I'm a motherfucking cop. If you think we would publish something so raw, so real, and so timely, then you must be stoned. And that, son, is against the law. Please feel free to resubmit when you have something less raw, less real, more candy-ass and mainstream. Until then, I'll be watching your punk ass.
The editor of a seriously BIG DEAL literary journal and a damn good cop"
Read on to see what The Man can't handle.
Topical Yet Unique Halloween Outfits for 2009
Sheila C. Bair
Chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Wear a conservative yet bright business suit, dye your hair brown, and insure all accounts up to $250,000. So far this year, the FDIC under Bair's steerage has rescued over 100 failed banks. A fun matchmaking game would be to tell someone that they are a "bank" that just "failed." Then, tell someone else that they are also a "bank" and that they must "take ownership of this failed bank to ensure the solvency of the credit system." If any children are present at the bar/party--or if people are dressed as children-- read to them from Isabel's Car Wash (Albert Whitman & Co., 2008), Bair's illustrated children's book on small business ownership. If you cannot acquire a copy of this book in time for Halloween, then just read from Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock (Albert Whitman & Co., 2006) her illustrated tour de force on compound interest, as experienced by the titular twin brothers, Rock and Brock.
Fox News Analyst
White topical-costume-enthusiasts, be forewarned: blackface is still offensive. A fake mustache, though? Perfectly fine with most mustachioed-Americans. To pull off a decent Juan Williams--no matter your race or gender--just talk the talk. Read his groundbreaking biography, Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary, (Crown, 1998) and sprinkle Marshallnalia into conversation whenever appropriate. Say things like, "I disagree Chris," to people not named Chris, and they will eventually assume that you are alluding to Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. Say things like, "NPR's Talk of the Nation had its highest ratings when I hosted it." Basically, stay in character. Calling out who you are dressed as is hack, of course, but there's no shame in just tipping your hand and periodically saying, "I am a black person."
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Me.)
Carry a stack of plates and smash them while dancing. Set fire to cheese and scream, "Opa!" This will allude to Senator Snowe's Greek heritage, and everyone will get it. If you want to go the extra mile, then write a rap titled, "Reformer," highlighting her time as chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Seapower. Everyone will get this allusion to the hit 1992 crossover Canadian rap, "Informer," by the similarly named Snow. (If you are dating someone who looks like Snow, convince him to go as Snow and rap for you. Then you guys will have a cute couple's outfit. A similar dynamic will work for the previous costume if your boyfriend/girlfriend looks like William Kristol.)
Lt. Col. John A. Nagl, (US Army, Ret.)
President of the Center for a New American Security
Carry a bowl of chicken noodle soup and try to eat it... with a knife. This obvious but clever allusion to Nagl's masterwork on guerrilla warfare, Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam (Praeger, 2002), will get you laid. These days Nagl the civilian wears suits and ties. If you choose to highlight his military career, build a "mini-tank" around yourself using whatever boxes you have lying around, and use a tube from FedEx or some such shipping company to convey a 120 mm M256 smoothbore cannon. The whole ensemble will symbolize his time as tank commander in the first Gulf War. Whether you choose to go as Nagl the civilian or Nagl the soldier, you must carry a bowl of soup and try to eat it with a knife at all times, otherwise no one will get it.
NOTE: if you go as Nagl, do NOT grow a thick beard, wear a tie under a V-neck sweater, or talk about measurements of specific heat and volume as a function of temperature--not even if it comes up in conversation! If you do, everyone will think you are Carnegie Mellon physicist John F. Nagle, who has not been in the news and would therefore be a terrible costume.