What is The A.V. Club?
The A.V. Club is an entertainment newspaper and website published by The Onion. It appears in the print editions of The Onion and online at www.avclub.com.
What does A.V. stand for?
"Audiovisual." Back in olden times, a school's audiovisual club would be composed of a bunch of geeks who actually knew how to run the filmstrip and film projectors, and were typically deeply involved in things like audio fidelity and newfangled speakers. We're proud to carry on the tradition of people immersed in pop culture and entertainment media to a somewhat obsessive degree.
So the stuff you write is all fake, like The Onion's "news," right?
No. Not even a little. The A.V. Club features real interviews, reviews, features, and other entertainment-related articles.
Huh? So what's it doing in The Onion?
The Onion has had reviews since its earliest days. In the mid-'90s, under the stewardship of former editor Stephen Thompson, it became a philosophically aligned section of its own, dedicated to following entertainment culture down its various side and back roads.
Yeah? So what's in it?
The print edition of The A.V. Club includes short versions of interviews with people who interest us, plus reviews of the latest films, music, and books. All the print reviews, interviews, and features can also be accessed online, generally in a much-expanded format: longer versions of the same interviews and features, more reviews every week, and a great deal of additional content not featured in print.
So which cities have print editions?
Currently, The Onion is available as a free newspaper in Chicago; Milwaukee; Madison; Austin; Columbus; and Providence, RI.
Where is it based?
We have contributors from the cultural hotbeds of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Conway, Arkansas. But over time, Chicago has become the editorial hub of The A.V. Club.
Help! I can't comment! What should I do?
If your Disqus account is acting up, try checking their Knowledge Base page. If that fails, contact them via email or on Twitter. The A.V. Club rarely bans user accounts or blocks IP addresses, except in the case of consistent trolling, abuse of staff or other users, or spam. However, we are seeing a very occasional Disqus bug that auto-bans users it mis-identifies as spammers, often based on content that was cut-and-pasted and repeatedly posted, or that looks like spam to its filters. If you receive a message that your account has been banned and you aren't sure why, send us a message via the Contact Page with your user name and the email associated with it, and we'll look into it. Note: You're much more likely to receive a response if that email isn't threatening or insulting — in other words, if you don't sound like someone we would have banned on purpose.
One of your ads is broken / offensive / annoying / uncloseable / taking over my screen, etc.
Sorry. It happens sometimes. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why do you delete comments?
This site used to have no comments section. We posted our content, but never really heard much about it. Oh sure, the occasional e-mail would trickle in, and we knew we had some readers, but it felt a bit like sending our material out into the void. And that was sad.
Then we added the comments sections, and we started to hear from our readers. And hear, and hear, and hear. And we were delighted. No, seriously. We love the comments section. We love hearing from you. And we love that the pieces we post aren't just ends to themselves now. They're starting points for longer, deeper discussions in which writers and readers both participate. The A.V. Club name began as a bit of self-deprecation, but we've come to take the "club" aspect seriously. It's your site too.
Up to a point. Here's the deal: We strive to cover pop culture with intelligence and wit–note: "strive"–and assume that that's what brought you here in the first place. It's our obligation to make sure the site reflects that goal, and abusive / offensive / obscene posts just don't contribute to that. These are the posts we delete, and we reserve the right to define those terms however we see fit.
Past deletions have prompted charges of censorship. Let's define some terms: If we attempted to pass a law preventing you from saying something terrible, that would be censorship. If you showed up in our living room attempting to say the same thing, we'd have the right to throw you out. The First Amendment forbids Congress from passing laws that abridge freedom of speech on a national level; it does not in any way apply to our right to delete posts on this site.
We suspect that some of you reading this will take this post as a challenge. Please don't. We're here because we can't stop writing about our obsessions with music / movies / books / television / bizarre foods / etc. Let's keep the focus there. There's a lot more that unites us than divides us, so do we really want to get bogged down in tedious internecine battles over the right to use racial slurs or talk about the fuckability of our interview subjects?
Speaking of which — not the fuckability thing, the other thing — let's lay out some guidelines for how not to get deleted from the comments section. While we reserve the right to delete any comments, these are the things we're most likely to target:
… flagrant attacks on other commentators, staffers, or interview / review subjects, particularly aggressive, insulting posts with absolutely no other point to make. Unacceptable: "You're a dick!" Acceptable: "Only a dick would watch Con Air six times in a row!" Better: "You watched Con Air six times?! You should've taken IQ tests before and after to see how it affected you."
… offensive commentary on interview / review subjects, including but not limited to ad hominem thoughts on how they look, how they might smell, and exactly what you'd like to do to them in the sack. Hate on their work all you want, but attacking them for their appearance is childish, and providing detailed commentary on your sexual reaction to them is, well, icky. If you did that at our party at our house, you wouldn't be invited back.
… racist, homophobic, or sexist remarks. Don't assume that everyone else gets your sarcasm, irony, over-the-top tone, etc. Maybe if we knew you personally, we'd know that your consciously offensive statement is actually a gag, but you aren't really like that in person. Online, it's impossible to tell. Attack comments don't get a free pass just because you "didn't really mean it."
… blatant trolling.
… blatant plugs for your own website that don't relate to the topic at hand.
… spoilers. We don't go out of our way to kill these, especially for older works, and we absolutely do not guarantee a spoiler-free site; let the reader beware. But depending on your timing, it may be considered inappropriate to give away the end of a film in the comments on a film review, or the end of a TV episode in the TV Club post about it. We're more likely to target deliberate, malicious spoilers for current or upcoming material than anything else.
One more thing to keep in mind… we can't be everywhere at once. We're all working full-time jobs in addition to monitoring the comment boards. And we prefer to read them to see how people are reacting to our work–and to the films and books and TV shows and creators and interview subjects that prompt us to write in the first place–than to punish commenters who step out of line. So we don't necessarily have time or attention to delete everything that might fit under our guidelines. And comments aren't moderated here in the sense that someone has to actively approve them before they appear to the public. So just because an offensive comment made it past us doesn't mean we actively approved of it, and doesn't mean we won't delete similar comments in the future. If you don't get caught speeding, that doesn't mean the speed limit has been repealed.
Will you review my CD / book / movie / poetry / pottery?
Maybe. Probably not. But maybe. Please bear in mind that we're presented with an enormous amount of material every day, so it's simply impossible to respond to every item that crosses our desks, much less review it. Items for review consideration can be sent to The A.V. Club at our Chicago office (The A.V. Club, 730 N. Franklin St., 7th floor, Chicago, IL, 60654), but we absolutely cannot guarantee that anything you send us will be covered.
Way to support the scene, sellout.
Why don't you review videogames?
The A.V. Club covered videogames for many years (and you can still find that content on the site, with a search), but eventually partnered with AVC games editor John Teti to create the game-focused sister site Gameological Society. While there is some content crossover between the two sister sites, with Gameological features popping up in our features roll, you'll find more games coverage at the other site, and we encourage you to go check it out.
My band's coming to town, will you put us in your calendar? (Or "My film is screening at…" or "I'm doing stand-up in…" or "I'm reading from my new book at…" or any variation thereof.)
Entirely possible. Our local Austin, Madison, and Milwaukee editions feature calendars of current events. Due to our editorial lead time, information must be in at least two weeks before the event. Longer lead times give us more chance to consider interviews and other related features, so the earlier, the better, and the more detail, the better. Contact our Austin edition at email@example.com, our Madison edition at firstname.lastname@example.org, and our Milwaukee edition at email@example.com
Didn't you guys put out a book?
We have three books out under the A.V. Club banner. The Tenacity Of The Cockroach: Conversations With Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders collects dozens of our best early interviews with the longtime survivors of the entertainment industry, with a deliberate theme running throughout, from cynicism and bitterness to optimism and philosophical contentment. It came out in late 2002 and is still available in stores and through online retailers.
Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, And 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists followed in 2009. It features some of our most popular Inventory lists, plus a variety of new lists that never appeared online, including our lists of essential books about film, music, and television. You can buy it here.
And check out Nathan Rabin's My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man's Journey Deep Into The Heart Of Cinematic Failure, published in 2010 and available in softcover or in e-book form. Like Inventory, it includes some of the most popular columns from Nathan's My Year Of Flops feature, plus a ton of book-only content.
Will there be more?
You keep buying 'em, and we'll keep putting 'em out. We love writing books.
I'm a big fan of someone you interviewed. Can you put me in touch with him/her, or pass on my idea for a book / album / show / film?
Sorry, no. It's rare for us to receive any personal contact information for our interview subjects. In the instances where we do have this information, we do not give it out, nor can we pass on messages, project pitches, etc.
Can I submit articles or reviews or ideas to The A.V. Club?
No. The A.V. Club does not accept outside submissions of any kind.
Well, then, can I come work for you?
We very occasionally have job openings we're looking to fill. See the jobs page for details. It updates as new openings become available.
What's up with these "sponsored posts" I've been seeing on the site?
You may have noticed over the past couple of months that we’ve run sponsored posts, not unlike the ones you’ve seen on most of your other favorite sites in recent years. Our advertisers wanted to buy them, so we’ve started offering them; since digital advertising is what keeps The A.V. Club rolling, we’re sure you’ll understand.
We’ll never try to fool you into reading sponsored content. These posts will be clearly labeled, so that those who’d like to will be able to easily avoid them. There will be boxes around those stories, and the words “sponsored content” will appear near them.
We understand if you don’t want to click on them, though they’ll be written by staff and freelancers in such a way that hopefully you can get something out of them (beyond sweet, sweet brand awareness). If something is not labeled “sponsored post,” it means that relationship doesn’t exist. If we happen to write about movies inspired by Die Hard the week that Die Hard 5 comes out, that’s just us being timely.
Occasionally an advertiser will sponsor entire sections or series. For instance, Budweiser is sponsoring A.V. Undercover this year. We do not consider this a sponsored post—they just want to be around our idea because it’s awesome.
Another way we’re distinguishing sponsored posts from regular posts is that we will disable comments. There are arguments to be made on both sides of this, but let’s just say it’s easier, and that Frank Sennett makes some really good points about it (and everything else related to sponsored posts) in this article. Finally, this is not the end of journalism as we know it. It’s just a little thing that now exists in the giant pool of awesomeness called The A.V. Club, in which we all swim.
You didn't answer my frequently asked question.
Really? Sorry. Visit our contact page to send us a message. Be sure to select "Technical problem" if you've encountered a bug or a broken link on the site.