It’s crazy how our assumptions and partially shared experiences can still result in completely different interpretations.
I am not erudite enough to have picked up on The New Yorker article you linked to. (Being the closet subversive that I am, I would have definitely been more interested in the parody than the original article!)
In addition, I read your article on Tim Nortons after I read and responded to your original “will write about donuts” response.
The genesis of “will write for donuts” is completely different.
It comes from my experience in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s. It was the first time I started to notice the effects of then-Governor Reagan’s vicious cuts to the budget closed mental health hospitals. There was an explosion in the number of people standing at freeway exits and major intersections, holding signs that read “will work for food.” There is also the recent twitter phenomenon of #ILookLikeAnEngineer, so I liked the social media feel of creating fake people holding up the sign (thanks for the idea you just gave me!).
Ellie Guzman, one of my favorite humorists on Medium, calls herself “The Donut Whisperer” on her profile. Like any devotee of Chekov’s gun, I always use these kinds of details when I weave the tapestry around someone else’s writing to give The Grammar Games a semblance of continuity.
Her question “what? no donuts?” in response to the fabulous prize awarded to her in chapter 7 was the tragic flaw that led to her high calorie demise.
Hence, donuts became a recurring object in The Grammar Games, and the most natural thing in the world with which to compensate Medium writers.
This is all great stuff. You may yet find yourself transported to another time and place. One of my favorite side features is the man-on-the-street interview conducted by a wannabe journalist and his moonlighting cameraman as they talk to the “unwashed masses” (of which I am one) outside the arena because they don’t have enough followers (500+) to even get tickets to get inside the Colosseum.