The Toast — funny and literary feminist website, gleeful kneecapper of high culture, omphalos of cheerful misandry, and habitat of the rare courteous and informative comments section — is closing.
The site, launched three years ago by Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg, will stop publishing July 1. The founders said in an announcement that keeping it going beyond that would involve "turning the Toast into something we didn't like, or continuing to work ourselves into the ground forever."
("No Kickstarters, please," Ortberg added. "If you start one I promise I will waste every single penny sent my way on expensive single-serving cakes and various perfumed unguents designed to enhance my beauty.")
I wrote for the Toast twice and was paid zero and $25 for those pieces respectively, which was admittedly not much but probably more than market rate for a translation of a Sappho fragment and a metrically flawed joke poem ("Modified clerihews!" a commenter hazarded, supportively). It is a place for the private passion project, the riffs on favorite books, finely wrought Benedict Cumberbatch fan fiction, or a perfectly executed hit job on male entitlement.
The shock, perhaps, is how long something so exuberantly, aggressively eclectic — in Cliffe's words, "a feminist humor site that is read by 99 percent of librarians and archivists in New England" — managed to last so long and do so well. The house style was gentle anglophilia, intersectional feminism, loving irreverence for the Western canon, pictures of monks with funny captions, and lengthy, carefully argued proposals such as "Let's Make Meat Loaf a Lesbian Icon."