This morning, Nicole Cliffe and “Dear Prudence” columnist Mallory Ortberg, co-founders of The Toast, announced that the publication will be closing as of July 1, and the Internet wept. It’s hard to believe that The Toast has only been in our lives for three short years, but in that time it has become a bastion of hilarity, comfort, and understanding. So we salute these two brilliant women and the writers and work that they fostered, and share with you some of the pieces that Slatesters hold most near and dear.
Charlotte Shane’s piece is built on the kind of conceit that could be hacky, like a feminist-internet version of a bad Shouts and Murmurs, but every single detail is so perfect that it’s actually a feminist-internet version of the greatest Shouts and Murmurs of all time. —Gabriel Roth
There are very few things that make me laugh until I cry, and this is is unquestionably one of those things. It’s my bad day pick-me-up, my go-to for impromptu dinner-party stagings, the link I send to my friends when they’re in the midst of a bad breakup, and it’s one of the top-five best pieces on the internet, no questions asked. – Chelsea Hassler
I loved this tribute to The Simpsons’ Martin Prince (pictured above) so much that I changed my social-media profile pictures to images of Martin and wrote an embarrassing fan letter to Mallory about it in the spirit of someone who, as she writes, “has not yet learned to appear as if he cares about anything less than he does.” —Jessica Winter
Mallory had me figured out long before we became colleagues. —Torie Bosch
Sarah Miller’s David Brooks sestinas reveal that Brooks’s version of thinking — the assembly and recombination of chunky little nostrums, the magic words, the swoops into bathos — could have been invented to fit the sestina form. These poems reflect Brooks’s mind more authentically than Brooks’s own columns. —G.R.
When I came up with the idea for this, I assumed no one would pay to publish an essay on such a self-evidently ridiculous topic. Then I found out he was probably a Republican. Then I pitched The Toast. - Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart
What I like best about The Toast is how it has made a specialty of difficult and painful emotions. Sam Thielman’s essay on going to Disney World as a sad person is just a beautiful piece of writing and thinking and observation. —G.R.
Mallory’s Ronbledore theory is something that will always make me smile in low moments. I absolutely loved how she kept it going after J.K. Rowling responded to it. “For the last time: time travel reverses your sexual orientation.” —Heather Schwedel
Nicole Cliffe converted to Christianity last summer and she immediately became one of my favorite essayists on religious experience. “How I Pray” is both a winsome soft-sell of her newfound faith and helpful how-to for the prayer-curious. —Ruth Graham
Most writing on being a writer is full of mystification, but this from Michelle Dean is brutally concrete. —G.R.
I was frequently amazed at the genuine insight to be found in what looked at first glance like a just-for-laughs excuse to revisit a favorite piece of pop culture; this piece in particular was brilliant and illuminating. —H.S.
I’ve often thought about how two classic works feel like they’re missing a certain something, but I’ve absolutely never seen two classic works fit together quite like Karl Marx and Dune. The first time I read this I went back and found the quotes in their entirety and marveled over the perfect splicing that had been done, and to this day I’m often guilty of forgetting that these quotes aren’t actually the real thing. —C.H.
Nicole’s daily link roundups were a joy: chatty, funny, full of little details about her family and gym trips and daily life that made me love her, and casually revealing of what a deep and good reader she is. Her endorsement of Thinx and her thoughts on college financial aid were not to be missed. —H.S.
Hard to pick just one Mallory piece but I’m going with this one. “‘Such a good dad,’ he echoed. ‘You can tell because he’s always talking about what a good dad he is.’” —G.R.
OK, I picked two. This post in the “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series is parody and horror and poetry and myth and proof that artistic work of the highest order can be written and pasted into a CMS and posted on the Internet, even now. —G.R.