log·roll·ing: the exchange of support or favors, esp. by legislators for mutual political gain as by voting for each other’s bills; cronyism or mutual favoritism among writers, editors, or critics, as in the form of reciprocal flattering reviews (“back scratching”); the action of rolling logs to a particular place (duh); the action of rotating a log rapidly in the water by treading upon it, esp. as a competitive sport; birling. The NYT put it well in 1921: “Admirable is the ardor with which our young geniuses go on discovering each other.”
Logrolling in practice:
- The Stupak Amendment
- Warning: for SF Bay Area literary geeks only. Apparently, McSweeney’s “Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales” is nothing more than a giant literary logroll. The backstory includes Dave Eggers saying to his pal Michael Chabon, “If I let you guest-edit an issue of McSweeney’s, can we please stop talking about this?”
- Any event that requires wealthy, nicely dressed people to spend a few hours stroking each other’s egos on television
- Early 20th century: Ezra Pound (whose 1928 book of poetry included an intro by Eliot) and T.S. Eliot (whose most famous poems might not have been published were it not for Pound’s influence)
- blogrolls—oh, this makes so much more sense now
“But wait,” you say. “I love this word so much, I wish there was a related game.” Good thing the internet rarely disappoints. (Accepting suggestions on how to turn this into a drinking game in the comments).