January 2016

“We’re trying to remove the stigma,” says Brian Sargasso, founder and CEO of NaughtyFootnotes.com. “I remember when I was young, taking one of my dad’s magazines on advanced quantum physics and looking at all the long, immaculately formatted footnotes, so elegant and beautiful. Of course, I had to do it furtively, since it ws frowned upon back then.”

NaughtyFootnotes.com boasts a slick and highly organized interface, one that allows customers to customize their experience to view footnotes that are most in line with their personal kinks. Sargasso points out a number of filters: one allows customers to filter by citation type, for instance. “There’s no judgment here,” he says. “We understand some that people are turned on by MLA-style footnotes even if they’re a historian what has grown up looking at Chicago footnotes. It’s not a prejudice, it’s a preference.”

One popular option is footnotes in foriegn citation styles, which Sargasso calls “exotics.” “The Brazilian National Standards are some of our most popular footnotes for discerning fetishists,” he says. “They have a very diverse style that is just what a lot of people are looking for with their citation kinks.” But perhaps the most popular subset of Sargasso’s site is the “Humiliation and Agony” area, which shows footnotes with major errors of formatting, spelling, and style.

“It’s a crossover, really, betweeen my interest in BDSM and my intense fixation on APA style footnotes,” says NaughtyFootnotes.com user HangingIndent66, speaking on condition that only their screenname be used. “I love all footnotes; they’re beautiful and the italics really get my blood pumping. But to see one that’s being humiliated by bad spelling and terrible formatting? Tie me up, I’m done.”

Some, largely in academia and on the political right, have accused operators like Sargasso of exploitation. The authors of the footnotes, for instance, are often paid a flat rate for their work regardless of how popular it becomes. Writers who have done footnote fetishist work say that it has had a strong impact on their ability to do serious academic work. Some even claim that their footnotes, especially ones that fall into the “humiliation” category, are taken from other sites and used without permission.

“Look, we are on the up and up here,” says Sargasso in response. “All our writers are paid and get a percentage of overall traffic as royalties. And if I see an amateur with really good footnotes, I’ll only put their goods up if they sign the waiver and get paid. Some of the other fly-by-night places might not do that, but not NaughtyFootnotes.com.”

In addition to footnote fetishists, a number of sites have arisen to cater to those who fetishize endnotes, like TheBackNineEndnotes.com, or in-text citations, like HotMLAInjection.com. Asked about these sites, and whether NaughtyFootnotes.com would ever expand its offerings to compete with them, Sargasso dismissed the notion out of hand.

“Look, no judgment in my line of work,” he says, “but those people are just sick and wrong.”

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The first one was irksome
The second did annoy
Then a third one did come
And a fourth was ahoy

Lizard they were, lizards all
Skink and gecko, plain and striped
Young and old, monitor and anole
In her bedroom and in her hall

She threw them outside, shooed them away
Sealed up the windows, locked up the door
But in every nook, every cranny they stay
And every day there arrived still more

In time did she ask, “what want you with me?”
And to her surprise, a reply did recieve
“You are our queen and this is homage, you see,”
“We want you to join us and of here take leave.”

So it was then that vanish did she
Searches were futile, no trace did they find
Though locals still swear they see
A large regal lizard, best of all its kind

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The sign to the development read “Egret Landing.” But it was constantly being updated via spraypaint to read “Regret Landing.”

That, though Squid, seemed appropriate enough for the dire 70s architecture decaying along with its inhabitants–what few remained, anyhow.

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The universe is infinite. You hear that a lot, but let’s worm in a little deeper.

Infinite space and infinite time. This means that anything that can happen will eventually happen. Maybe not here, maybe not often. But in a distant corner of the cosmos, or a parallel reality, or wherever. With infinite time, everything will eventually happen.

Let’s focus, then, on our line of work. Stories. The writing and the reading of stories. In an infinite universe, every story will eventually be written. People have been saying that for years, if you remember the monkeys on typwriters. But also consider this:

In an infinite universe, every story will eventually be true.

Again, perhaps not here, perhaps not now, perhaps not in any way we can conceive of. But the fact remains: every story will eventually be true.

Here’s the tricky part, though. Is it your telling of the story that makes it real? After all, we have experience every day of reality that makes stories real. Again, with infinite time and infinite space, it must be so. Sooner or later, commonly or not, in a way we can understand or not…there will be or has already been a time when the telling of a story causes it to come into truthful being somewhere, anywhere.

It’s a mathematical certainty.

Ask yourself this, then: are the truths that are born through the writing of your stories truths that are worthwhile? Are you birthing realities that will endure?

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It’s not they crying that hurts most
The flowing waters cleanse as they sting
It’s when you’re beyond crying
The rivers dammed up and dry
That the blade cuts deepest between ribs
Not just for myself, a selfish hoarded pain
But for those who I don’t know how to salve
Who live and die despite all my efforts
To care is to open your shirt and beckon
For the knife to glide in, sever, keen
Yet the stone cannot choose to feel
Just as I cannot choose to ignore

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“I’ll be blunt, sir. Starting in 1952, we began placing the brains of specially trained cats into homo sapiens bodies tank-grown for that purpose.”

“Why would we ever do such a thing?”

“We needed agents who could be trained but were also capable of independent thought and deviousness and utter amorality. Experiments with natural-born humans ended badly since they were incapable of being trained, and dogs trained well but could not be taught amorality and were incapable of improvisation.”

“Hm. That’s not exactly what I had in mind when you said ‘classified’ but so be it. Why is this an issue? Was the program a success?”

“A smashing success, sir. Some of our best agents came from project Catmatter, though they all invariably went rogue.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“Well, one of our former agents is the current premier of Russia. And we just elected another President of the United States.”

“My God.”

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1899: Haberdasher Hans Geste, originally from Ost-M√ľnchen in Bavaria, begins selling purified chemicals such as mercury and arsenic out of his clothier’s shop in San Francisco. Used in making clothes, the toxins are far more refined than his competitors’ and the business flourishes.

1905: Hans Geste’s chemical business is so successful that he closes his haberdashery and sells it to Macy’s. He moves to Oakland with his seven sons to set up a more professional operation.

1906: The great San Francisco Earthquake results in the detonation and immolation of Geste’s chemicals and incinerates three of his sons. Impressed, the US Army contracts with Geste to provide chemicals and explosives to West Coast military bases.

1915: With the outbreak of war in Europe, demand for Geste chemicals skyrockets. Hans’s oldest son, Lars, incorporates GesteCo as a limited-liability company in June. His youngest son, Klaus, travels on a clandestine mission to Bavaria and incorporates GesteCo as a gesellschaft mit beschr√§nkter Haftun that same year.

1921: With its war profits and international expansion, GesteCo moves into consumer products, launching a line of mercury and radium based pharmaceuticals.

1923: GesteCo begins manufacturing appliances for the home. Its products like toasters are highly competitive due to the use of inexpensive lead paint insteaks of bakelite.

1927: Hans Geste dies of radiation poisoning after a night spent personally supervising the Radiumeal Radioactive Flour division of GesteCo. His son Lars succeeds him as president.

1934: GesteCo’s German branch becomes the largest chemical and home appliance concern in the country. As part of a promotional tour, Lars provides solid gold toasters to key government and Nazi party officials.

1942: With the entry of the United States into World War II, GesteCo expands yet again. The amphetemines provided to US troops to maintain their combat effectiveness are all GesteCo producs. The mustard gas stockpiled at Bari and subsequently released into the atmosphere during a bombing raid was proudly made at GesteCo’s Love Canal facility.

1961: GesteCo inks a deal with Washington and key universities to lend its expertise to the first attempts at genetic engineering undertaken with government funding. The result, rice enchanced with ricin, is used in an attempt to support the Bay of Pigs invasion.

1978: Lars Geste dies after accidentally being exposed to an experimental line of RNA viruses designed to combat bad breath in infants. His son Heinz becomes president, and inks a deal with the Carter administration to provide high-level aid in genetics and chemical synthesis to US ally Iran.

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