May I also bring to your attention Jami Attenberg’s Vice anecdote? A few years ago she submitted an article–“a mostly funny and then slightly scary piece about getting felt up on a trip to Jamaica by her snorkeling instructor.” In the emailed acceptance:
Ed … said that in order to publish it they were going to need me to provide some sort of “visual.” (Conde Nast this was not.) Part of the article mentioned me sunbathing on the topless beach, so Ed thought maybe I could send in a picture of myself topless. Had I, by chance, taken any pictures of myself in a shirtless state while on vacation?
No, Ed, I had not.
Well we’re going to need something, he said.
What about a picture of a sunset? I said. My hotel room?
Yea, those aren’t going to work, said Ed. Ed’s creative juices started flowing. What if you were topless and you had a joint in your mouth? That would be really hot.
While indeed it would be a hot photo, it was not, unfortunately, in existence. And even if it was, I wasn’t going to put it in Ed’s sweaty little hands.
My polite, negative responses (and suggestions for other options) only further seemed to incense Ed. He began writing me in all caps, urgently. I imagined a huge pile of blow sitting next to his computer, inspiring his brilliant creative vision.
The last email I got from him read simply, “WE NEED VISUALS!!!”