@KashanaCauley on Research, Lawyering, and America

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Kashana Cauley is a writer who lives in Brooklyn. She’s written for The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Esquire, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. She writes a bi-monthly column called “Intersections” for Catapult about social class. Recently, I asked Cauley to tell me more about three of her favorite tweets she’s written. We talked about the future, the law, and doing research for tweets.

Cauley: Most of what I write these days are the sort of essays that require a couple of weeks’ worth of research, and along the way I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge that would be best put to use on Jeopardy, one of the most celebrated homes for random facts. But I think a lot of us would love a sexier destination for all the random facts we learn on the Internet than our heads.

What would you say is the most research you’ve ever put into a tweet?

I tweeted once about how I thought it was funny that people with the Virginia “Don’t Tread On Me” vanity plates pay extra money to the government to tell everyone on the road how much they hate the government, and I figured I might get replies that asked how much extra those plates cost, so I went to the Virginia DMV website & hunted down the price. ($10)

Are there things you go out of your way to not tweet about?

Legal issues, since I used to practice law and the way legal issues are discussed on the Internet usually doesn’t have the detail I recall from lawyering.

I’m a proud American who enjoys making fun of America.

This is part of a larger series of tweets you do about the future. Is there anything about Twitter specifically that you think makes it a good fit for fake predictions?

Lots of Twitter people seem obsessed with the crazier aspects of the present, and making fake future predictions is a fun way to joke about how we don’t know what we’ll consider to be important from this era in say, ten years.

Are there other series of tweets you like to revisit?

Sexts. Twitter sexts are a fun way to make fun of how important and awkward sexual stuff can be. They’re a fun thing to do at night when Twitter gets more laid-back.

There’s a retro 70’s & ‘80’s trend going on in fiction right now, often accompanied by commentary on how people my age missed the good old days of New York, when all we probably missed is the feeling of being young in some other era. I don’t oppose nostalgia, but this is my joking plea to let young people be young without telling them their era sucks.

If you had to distill your voice online using just a few words, how would you describe it?

Too mean to live in the Midwest (where I’m originally from); too nice for people to think I’m a New Yorker right off; though I should note that New Yorkers, contrary to stereotype, are very warm people.

How does your voice online compare to your voice IRL?

I think I’m much meaner and sharper online, but when I meet people irl, they tend to think I’m about the same.

Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny Or Die.

@KashanaCauley on Research, Lawyering, and America