While we're here working on deadlines, lit journal editor Dave Housley stops by to explain to us a little something he likes to call "March Madness." It comes in like a lion, apparently, and leaves like Mr. T.
Read on, if you dare:
March Madness at Barrelhouse, by Dave Housley
It started, as always, in the Big Hunt, a smoky, dive-y, pretty damn comfortable bar near DC's DuPont Circle that acts as the Barrelhouse meeting headquarters. We were having the usual editorial meeting, kicking around ideas, talking about submissions, and generally bullshitting. Wouldn't it be cool, somebody said, to do a March Madness thing on the site? But what would we do? A battle of words ("spork" vs. "platypus," for instance)? Writers? Books has been done, and by folks who are smarter than us.
A few beers later the answer was obvious: pop icons vs. writers, Mr. T taking on Joyce Carol Oates, the Wu Tang Clan squaring off against the McSweeneys collective.
The result is the first annual (we hope) Barrelhouse March Madness: Pop Icon vs Writer Tournament
The tournament pits one pop icon against one writer each day, with site visitors voting on which is "better in every way" in a one-on-one, winner-take-all, steel cage, popularity contest to the death.
Key matchups include Jonathan Lethem vs. Paris Hilton, Franzen vs. Shaq, and (Barrelhouse contributor) Stacey Richter vs. Gene Simmons.
We spent a LOT of time working on these matchups, and in fact you might be surprised at the debates you can get into, after a few Brooklyn Browns, such as "who is a fair opponent for Shaq" and "will we offend Stacey Richter if we match her up against Tara Reid?" and "Is Stacey overmatched against Gene Simmons?" (We love you, Stacey, and we truly hope you make it into the second round of this thing, but Gene Simmons is the God of Thunder).
The full brackets are here
You can vote on the site right now — today's entry is Mr. T vs. Joyce Carol Oates (as of this writing, T was enjoying a commanding 77% lead). You can also download the full brackets, which will be updated daily to reflect the previous day’s contest.
It's very fun to fill out these brackets, as we did last night. Early favorites include Patrick Swayze, Lethem, and T. All eyes are on the east semifinals, where Michael Chabon could square off against tourney favorite Mr. T in an early heavyweight battle.
Come on over to the site and vote today, or download your brackets. Like we said, the voting is public, and if any of these writers are going to have a fighting chance against Mr. T, somebody's got to vote other than us.