The Moustache Club of America is now appearing on The Good Men Project. What’s up with that?
The first answer is quite possibly clear: In early 2012, I was finishing my PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, where I also happened to be a columnist for The Pitt News. Searching for a new forum in which to publish my work, I submitted some material to The Good Men Project, among other online publications, and eventually wound up editing its sports section. During that period , I found myself writing what I termed “Moustache-lite” material; i.e., slightly more accessible versions of the sort of stuff that my friends and I wrote for our long-running blogzine, The Moustache Club of America. When the opportunity arose to integrate that site with the GMP, thereby consolidating all of my side projects, I seized it.
The second answer is far simpler: we wanted to share our work with the vibrant online community that participates in The Good Men Project. Erik Hinton, who has co-curated the Moustache Club for the past year, put it rather neatly:
We are stumbling, tripping, and backing ourselves into mass media as folk media. We need to get there faster. In the end, that’s what we are trying to achieve. To win back the humanity of our originally human pieces. To win back the humanity that’s being choked by the artifice of our mechanical reproduction and our profit motives. It’s not just good business, it’s good journalism. We are seeing the beginning of this potential in social media, because bricolage, improv, and community is built into it.
The Moustache Club of America could not exist as anything but what it is, which makes it rather astonishing that it exists at all. It is not a single-subject blog, like Paul Myerberg’s wonderful Pre-snap Read. It is not a hipster sportswriting collective à la The Classical; it is not a highbrow literary journal in the style of The New Inquiry. Instead, it is an attempt by several dedicated writers–me, Erik, Ben Labe, Ryan Björklund, and Nathan Zimmerman, among others–to “win back the humanity” of the sort of one-off, bottom line-driven content that proliferates on teh internetz.
The Good Men Project has done an excellent job of integrating several other blogs into its matrix, in the process further enriching the site’s stated objective of examining what it means to be a good man. No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? may not be the last word on radical feminism, but Ozy Frantz et al.’s words certainly warrant your attention–particularly in a setting that has had to contend with aggressive behavior from Men’s Rights Advocates in the past. Shawn Maxam’s For Shawnel provides a jolt of welcome positivity in the face of considerable adversity. And The Good Life, curated by Justin Cascio, has proved that there’s a much wider audience for poetry than might be easily suspected.
Where, exactly, does the MCoA fit? We’re hoping to offer a bit of everything: cultural commentary, sportswriting, comedy, flash fiction, slice-of-life vignettes, and much more. What links us to the GMP is not so much our subject matter as our deadly seriousness about evaluating issues of “goodness.” Can satire make you a good person? Can critiquing the media’s obsession with obese cats make you a good person? No, of course not–but reading our work might help you realize why we should attempt to become better people, more reasonable people, people for whom irony–in its various conventional, slipshod definitions–is a bad word indeed.
Our archives came over with us, so if you’re interested, I’d encourage you to check out representative pieces like Our Best Flash Fiction of 2011, Walter Young: A Success Story, and One More Medal for Scout.
Photo of Oliver Bateman by Molly Burkett