by Conor Friedersdorf
Eternally impressed by the quality of feedback offered by Andrew's audience, I'm eager to solicit some reader e-mails on specific topics that I can share in subsequent posts. I thought that this week, I'd try posing all the questions in one Monday post, and curate the best answers to share this Tuesday through Friday, one topic a day. Responses to this post or any other can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org -- please use my headlines or subheads as subject lines. Hopefully there is something for everyone in what follows.
1) BELOW THE MASON DIXON
Insofar as it is stereotyped, I always suspect that The South is misunderstood by folks who've never lived there, myself among them. Alternately romanticized and denigrated, its stature as an influential region in politics ensures it will remain a subject of interest, and its stubborn poverty makes it a matter of ongoing concern. What I'd like to know, as someone eager to travel its highways for the first time, is what Southerners in fact or in exile would advise an outsider intent on immersion. Were De Tocqueville or Michener or Steinbeck surveying it today -- and I realize those writers suggest different itineraries -- what cities beyond the obvious should he visited? What landmarks or museums or local color shouldn't be missed? What highways should he drive? Where should he eat, drink and sleep? Small towns and obscure suggestions are especially welcome. I'll share the best responses so that Dish readers intent on a future road trip can pick and choose.
2) THE BEST JOURNALISM OF 2009
Newspapers and magazines all over the country are busy preparing entries for the Pulitzer Prizes and the National Magazine Awards. I'm picking my own list of year end favorites and checking it twice. But I bet Dish readers can best us all. Any exceptional non-fiction is fair game from the lengthiest magazine feature to the pithiest blog post. Audio and video are fine too as long as they can be linked. All entries must have been published this calendar year.
3) READER ASSIGNMENT DESK
What does the media miss? What stories ought to be covered but aren't? Here's your chance to play assigning editor -- tell us the story, the writer to whom you're assigning it, and the publication where it should appear. Bonus points to anyone who inspires a story to be written and published (even if by an author or publication other than the one they suggested). Assignments to bloggers are fair game too.
4) THE BEST JOKES
As a guest blogger, I am going to be slightly more conservative than Andrew might be, so exercise some discretion, but with luck, we'll have a bunch of great punch lines to get us through the day on Friday. Anything from one liners to long, narrative story jokes (my favorite kind) are fair game.