Reader’s Report

“i sent a piece about hitler to Reader’s Digest (sales 3.5 million) for their series ‘my most unforgettable character’. it came back very promptly. feuchtwanger tells me thomas mann and werfel, who has been very successful here, had their contributions sent back too. the magazine submits readers’ contributions to half a dozen experts. one checks whether the thing is brown, a second whether it stinks, a third that there are no solid lumps in it etc. that is how strictly it is checked to see that it is real shit before they accept it.”

—Brecht, Journals, 04/21/42


  1. Mushin August 18, 2017 at 9:38 am | #

    I feel much better now regarding my own propositions in prose and emotional dispositions hearing this story. I actually laughed and understood why I never read the Readers Digest.

  2. ronp August 18, 2017 at 2:29 pm | #

    Holy crap, what a quote!

  3. Carlo August 18, 2017 at 3:53 pm | #

    Which brings to mind the old joke:
    A man sends a story to the Readers Digest called “I raped an ostrich.”
    The RD responds, “We love animal stories, but this one needs development.”
    So the guy sends in a second version: “I raped an ostrich for the FBI.”
    “Excellent,” replies the editor, “but there’s still something missing.”
    The version that finally gained his approval was, “I Raped an Ostrich for the FBI and Found God.”

  4. uh...clem August 18, 2017 at 4:17 pm | #

    The Reader’s Digest used to also have a regular feature called Have You an Amusing Anecdote? The only one I remember actually came from Mad Magazine (c. 1960) in its satire of that regular feature. It went something like this: A little old lady leaned over to the passenger sitting next to her on the plane and whispered, “The echoes of mankind are irrepressible.” Brilliant satire!

  5. MJD August 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm | #

    Reminds me of a quote F Zappa said years ago about rock critics. I do not remember it verbatim but went something thus: Rock critics: people who can’t write, doing interviews with people who can’t think, in order to prepare articles for people who can’t read.

Leave a Reply