The “Game of Thrones” Thinkpiece I Have Just Been Informed I Am Required to Write In Order to Keep My Job

Editor’s note: this is an essay I submitted to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency in 2019. They chose not to publish it, the bastards. So I’m archiving it here instead.

The wait is finally over! After a year and a half, winter has finally come to HBO with the debut of the final season of its epic fantasy series, Game of Thrones.

But why am I, the chief feed and graze correspondent for Guernsey Gazette, the leading journal of the dairy farming industry for 110 years, writing about this hit TV show? Because my new 27-year-old editor told me in a meeting an hour ago that I am required to if I want to keep my job. He didn’t care that I’ve never even seen Game of Thrones. “Guess you’d better find someone who’ll let you use their HBO NOW password,” is all he had to say on that score. What on Earth is HBO NOW? I certainly couldn’t tell you. But he shared a dorm room with the tech guy who bought Guernsey Gazette last year, so, well, here we are.


Well, let’s start from the beginning, that should be good for a couple hundred words. Game of Thrones is the story of… oh, God. Look at this Wikipedia entry, it goes on forever. The cast list is so long they had to break it out into its own separate page! Nobody prepared me for this back when I was studying Animal Science at Texas A&M in ‘73.

OK. Deep breath. You can do this. Start again.

Game of Thrones is the story of Ed Stark, who – no, wait, it’s NED Stark, not Ed. He is the… the king, I guess? No, he just works for the king. And then one day the king dies, and Ned stumbles across some kind of plot or something, and he investigates and –


Look. Try to understand. I don’t watch a whole lot of television. The wife and I, we’ve got a nice little spread outside New Braunfels. Don’t raise any cattle there – Pa always said a man shouldn’t bring his work home with him. But we keep a couple horses, and they keep me plenty busy when I’m not providing the in-depth coverage of the feed and feed additives markets that the readers of Guernsey Gazette expect and deserve. So I never saw much point in setting up a satellite dish or what have you. You ask me, a man who can live in the hill country and spend all his time cooped up in the house watching television is a man who’s taken his eyes off what’s really important in life.

And now they’re apparently just chopping people’s heads off. Right on television. Lord above.

Right. So there was this guy, Ed – wait, NED, who got his head chopped off. And then there was some kind of war, and…

No. No. I’m going about this all wrong. This is supposed to be a thinkpiece, right? So think.

Let’s talk about feed. If you’re a reader of Guernsey Gazette, odds are you know how much the feed and feed additives landscape in the dairy industry has changed over the last couple of decades. Time was no consumer cared what you fed your cattle, so long as they stayed healthy and gave plenty of milk. Nowadays you’ve got consumers demanding milk from cattle raised on grass, cattle raised without antibiotics, cattle raised without growth hormone. It’s a whole different world than the one you and I grew up in, and one slip in keeping up with what the market demands can put a good, productive dairy farm right out of business.

Which is kind of like Game of Thrones, right? From what I can see, anyway. This plot summary I found keeps going on and on about it just taking a single blind spot to get a character on this show killed. The guy who got his head cut off was apparently just the start of it. His son didn’t marry the woman he was supposed to marry, and that was enough to get the boy killed, along with his mother and a whole bunch of other people too. Then there’s another woman, a princess or something, who gets sold to a bunch of wild men. Her brother annoys them, so I guess they pour molten gold down his throat? But then the princess traps the wild men in a house or something and burns them all alive?


Can’t people just watch football anymore?

In conclusion, the world of cattle feed and feed additives is a land of contrasts. And, just like on the inexplicably popular television show Game of Thrones, dairy operators need to stay on top of the changing trends in our business if they want to live to milk another day. And in other news, the world is even sicker and more depraved than I’d thought.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some horses to feed.