50 Article Ideas for 2012

by David Miller Dec 31, 2011
Stories of travel culture are found everywhere. Why are we only telling 1%?

FIRST, A DISCLAIMER: this is not a submission call. Matador isn’t endorsing or condoning the actual production of, or requisite behavior involved in producing the following stories, some of which are potentially dangerous, others illegal, and others probably impossible.

This is more just a series of article ideas that occurred to me while driving from Asheville North Carolina to Sarasota Florida, with the nagging sense that if we have work to do in 2012, it’s killing off the disconnect between the way people experience things and the way we’ve been acculturated to reading about them. The list is admittedly US-centric. Let’s hear your ideas in the comments below.

Happy New Year’s everyone.

50 article ideas for 2012

A conversation with the Obama Administration’s chief speechwriter Jon Favreau on “language, psychology, and solidarity” orchestrated over a game of beer pong.

A “gonzo” narrative of TBEX written by someone present as part of the custodial staff.

A review of the 2012 Van Halen (w/David Lee Roth) Reunion shows written by a recently arrived immigrant to the US.

A personal essay from a Canadian on the evolution / cultural relevance of the “fireplace channel.”

A photo essay of abandoned roads in the US.

A narrative from anyone taking a canoe, raft, kayak, inflatable pool toy and putting on at the closest point of the watershed to where they live and attempting to go as far downstream as possible.

A narrative essay on employment at Disneyland, preferably from the POV of an actress who plays Cinderella.

Documentary short based on the lives of fixers who organize everything behind the scenes at Discovery / Travel Channel shows.

A travel narrative / documentary short based on renting an RV and just driving around the country, staying at different Wal-Mart parking lots.

A linguistic study of subdivision names and place names such as “Indian Hills” written by a Native American student, aged 16.

A first person narrative about a new form of “adventure travel” called “dry-bag swimming” which involves essentially packing camping gear into a dry-bag, utilizing wetsuits / extra-flotation devices / GPS, and then just swimming from one area to the next.

An account of being on tour with ___________ (Deerhunter, Flying Lotus, Outkast, etc.)

A first person narrative about attempting to cross the entire US on a Segway.

A podcast about the evolution of Chiptune music.

A profile / documentary short on the subculture of people who sell things at gun shows.

A first person account of being a TSA worker.

A first person narrative of sneaking into Yellowstone Canyon and paddling it, possibly at night.

A first person narrative of traveling to a casting call for models, actors, voice talent in Southern California.

A profile on the subculture / lifestyle of truckers.

Helmet cam footage of being in a New Orleans funeral march.

A documentary short of being embedded with the Yes Men, ideally involving some part of the Republican National convention.

Investigative report of botanists and wildlife biologists whose job it is to track the range of flora and fauna in the US.

A travel narrative written from the point of view of a pair of Nike shoes, starting with the extraction of resources, through manufacturing process in ________, to shipment across ocean, to stocking, selling, and then purchasing in say Tallahassee Florida.

A first person narrative of being embedded / traveling to contests with a top collegiate ultimate Frisbee team.

A profile on the subculture of people who stay / live at Black Rock city after Burning Man is over.

A personal essay on tailgate markets.

A video documentary (preferably with headcam footage) of the first paddlers running sections of the Elwha river post dam-removal.

A historical account of a squatter’s house in Berlin told from the point of view of the house.

An essay on the subculture of hikers’ “trail names” on long distance trails in the US.

A memoir from an IDF soldier, preferably female, about traveling around Israel and always having to carry her weapon.

A linguistic study that looks at as many languages as possible in the context of words and expressions that describe a person’s relationship to place.

A documentary short on SUP (stand up paddleboarding) from Malibu past movie stars’ private beach homes, preferably with surfing footage that takes place in front of their houses.

A narrative account of a trip based on illegal stealth camping in beaches “closed after dark” around the US.

An investigative report on the shifting demographics in US suburbs from middle class to poverty.

A podcast that traces the life of a Cuban “tres” or other stringed instrument from its creation by a luthier through its being played by a musician.

A documentary short called something like “Refugieros” that interviews people who live / work in mountain shelters / huts in Patagonia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Canada.

Interview with a veteran Greyhound bus driver.

A photo essay of chess played by homeless people in public spaces around the US.

An etymological study of the word “stoke.”

A sociological study of “tribal elements” in the context of men in the US who drive vans.

An interview with the marketing and advertising executives at Taco Bell administered by a panel of Mexican migrants.

A documenting short (with “thumping soundtrack”) on local San Diego kids who travel down to Tijuana on weekends to party.

A profile on the surf culture of Jersey Shore as written by someone who has never seen the show “Jersey Shore.”

A “taste test shootout” for “top coffee on the interstate”: am/pm, Pilot, Flying J, Race-trac, BP, Dunkin Donuts, etc.

A nonlinear narrative based around a local neighborhood cafe in San Francisco or Seattle or wherever, told only in dialogue.

A study of new argot / terminology that’s come out of the Occupy Movement.

A timeline of the last cities in the US to receive electrical power, telephone, internet service.

A historical account of the American South over the last 200 years written from the perspective of an American Chestnut tree.

A video that shows how to make venison stew where every ingredient in the stew is either hunted, foraged, or harvested from the video-maker’s garden, and all steps (such as animal slaughtering) are documented, intercut with a similar video that shows production cycle of a McRib.

A political essay calling for the formation of a new “travel party” in the US.

A list of towns left in the US where open container is still legal.

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