The Worst of the Worst

Dear P,

You go to MIT. You are therefore constantly surrounded by the best of the best- the best, the brightest, and the most organized. While I think this is generally a positive thing, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of the people who were not always the best at what they did- and persevered. They even ended up making a profit out of their infamy.

Amanda McKittrick Ros

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Amanda McKittrick Ros is widely regarded as the single worst novelist of all time. She was even mentioned in this documentary on thought catalog:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/what-is-bad-writing-2/

Did you catch that? She was a star in a documentary called “What is Bad Writing?”.

Mrs. Ros was the master of over-done alliteration. She called out her many critics with zingers like “auctioneering agents of satan” and “clay crabs of corruption”. She also wrote poetry:

“Holy Moses! Take a look!

Flesh decayed in every nook!

Some rare bits of brain lie here,

Mortal loads of beef and beer.”

Amanda McKittrick Ros published three novels and two books of poetry in all, and even had a publisher, eventually (she published her first novel, Irene Iddesleigh, on her own dime). She supported herself through the infamy of her writing and helped to bring about the end of the Elizabethan novel. She’s exactly what writers like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were fighting against.

Florence Foster Jenkins

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Okay, I stole this one from another Internet hero:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Txmy4IGOCI

Thank you, John Green. Your explanation of Florence Foster Jenkins is perfect; I have nothing to add.

Rebecca Black
In an age of auto-tuned voices, none can rival the great Rebecca Black for sheer, cringing badness.

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May she ever make music videos we can all make fun of.

I could, of course, write an entirely new article about artists who were considered failures in their own time but are now widely acknowledged geniuses. Van Gogh died a poor man, and couldn’t sell his paintings for enough to live on. Henry Ford was broke from his entrepreneurial efforts five times before he founded Ford motor company. Robert Goddard, famous for his research on liquid-fueled rockets, was ridiculed for his “outrageous” ideas.

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(image source-sheilapic76)

“Use what talents you posses:

the woods would be very silent

if no birds sang except those that sang best.”

– Henry Van Dyke

Keep on keeping on,

E

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