I’d like to start with this picture of Michelle Tea:
I know! This is part of Canteen’s Hot Authors series, for Issue Seven of their magazine. Their premise? Writing is sexy. Writers are sexy. Why don’t we treat them the way we treat other sexy people?
Writers have lost their place as cultural heroes. Instead, we celebrate a numbing parade of overpaid and undertalented actors, musicians, and athletes. Ridiculous amounts of money, publication real estate, and TV time are squandered to promote The Bachelors and the Kardashians and whoever will soon rise vapidly to take their place. Writers don’t traditionally get such crass and ubiquitous promotion. But why can’t they at least try to compete with pop-culture stars on the same terms? Let’s promote novelists as sexy and fabulous! Insist that the PEN Award require a turn on the catwalk! Hold the National Book Awards on a sliver of sand populated by buxom models in horn-rimmed shades; let the champagne pop for the cameras, as Oxford tweed gets wet on Temptation Island!
It’s definitely possible (and sort of fun!) to debate whether talking about writers in terms of their physical appearance is really elevating them to a status they deserve or whether it’s negative attention that writers should be glad they can (at least sometimes) avoid. (Minus the soft-focus cleavage-y jacket photo that female authors are so often blessed with.) But also fun is looking at photos of pretty people and talking about books! Current authors featured on Canteen’s site include Michelle Tea (!!!), Tao Lin, and someone named Porochista Khakpour whom I’ve honestly never heard of but is cute as hell and I think you would really like based on her answer to “what’s the hottest thing you’ve ever read?” There are more authors coming up soon, including one whose book I am coincidentally in the middle of right now, shoutout Rivka Galchen!
I can’t really decide why I’m so into this — looking at mildly to extremely sexy photos of people on the internet has been around for as long as the internet has. But those of us for whom writers are the epitome of smoldering attractiveness, and whose first unrealized fantasy crushes were in YA books instead of 90210, this is like the world finally looking like the inside of our heads already do. And because really that’s the question I secretly always want to ask everyone: what’s the hottest thing you’ve ever read?
What authors do you wanna see making sexy eyes at you? Who would you put in your Hot Authors issue? What’s the hottest thing you’ve ever read?