Letter From The Editor


I'm Leonard Pierce, and I'll be your “editor-in-charge” for this issue of The High Hat. Perhaps you know me from my seldom-updated website, or from the many stories I have failed to have published in many different venues. Or perhaps you remember me best as the 14th president of the United States; if so, I must unfortunately confess that that was not me, but rather Franklin Pierce.

I must confess that I never expected to find myself in the position of “running” an edition of this fine web magazine. In my prior rôle as associate editor, my duties consisted largely of correcting the spelling of various French philosophers’ names, airbrushing out the genitals from the graphics on our title page, and acting as ombudsman to the many contributors who claimed that our editing of their pieces consisted of replacing them in toto with Waffle House menus. I was happy with my lot, grateful for the biannual Hamm’s tall-boy that is an editor’s pay, and no more expectant of greater responsibilities than of someday being entrusted with the care of sharp objects or a telephone.

But I did not then foresee the series of calamities that would befall our happy crew. Our esteemed owner, Hayden Childs, found himself happily burdened with family affairs, made all the more challenging by his genetic heritage of psychic powers and uncontrollable use of impolite language. At the same time, beloved co-founder William Ham accepted a prestigious executive position at the Corporation for Punic Broadcasting, and spent more and more of his time producing musical comedies about the destruction of Carthage. Gary Mairs’ charitable work teaching film theory to the Sentinelese of the Andaman Islands had hit a snag upon his discovery that they lack electricity, post-Paleolithic tools, or English-language editions of the books of Laura Mulvey. And Don Slutes found himself in near-constant search for the peanut butter mine left to him in a will he found on the internet. It became increasingly clear that, if left to these stalwarts, the next issue would not arrive until sometime around 2036, at which date its articles would be less than timely.

A search, which you may have heard of on FOX’s successful So You Want to Edit an Online Magazine of Cultural Criticism!, began to find someone with the time, skills and inclination to put together the edition you now read. Unfortunately, the resultant scandal involving the television program (in which the staff of the High Hat offered to sleep with the contestants — any of them — in exchange for anything whatsoever) scuttled it as an avenue for replacement. Following the vetting of a number of the editorial staff’s relatives, friends, and pets, and the subsequent disqualification of same for reasons of illiteracy, surliness, and lack of opposable thumbs, the staff was pleased to offer the honor to me.

Especial thanks are due to Paul Hernandez, who saved our bacon, pulled our fat from the fire, and performed any number of other meat-metaphor functions. Without him, this issue would still exist only on my hard drive, next to the illegal Jandek bootlegs and nude photos of 19th-century poets.

I will not further impinge on time you should spend reading the excellent articles here presented by telling you of how they were acquired. Not for you the details of my editorial approach — a combination of flattery, treachery, and cold-blooded violence; not for you a recapitulation of the copious notes I took at Jan Wenner’s All-Night Editorial Training School and Beach Volleyball College; not for you the tale of how an innocent e-mail to writers of my acquaintance with the subject line “Solicitation” led to my arrest on an outmoded and shameful morals charge. For you only an invitation to read what's in front of you: it was written by people whose talents are noteworthy, put together by people whose dedication is legendary, and overseen by me: the 14th president of the United States. God bless America.