A number of years ago an author took a number of famous short stories, penned by famous authors, and submitted them to a number of prominent magazines. All were rejected. I don't know if any 'personal' comments were made. Memory says that only one or two of the stories were recognised for what they were.
In my attempt to place short stories (to no avail) two rejections stand out. One was from The New Yorker. It was on a business card. It said: Thanks - but no thanks.
The other rejection was from Playboy. The envelope reeked of perfume. [DE]
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The New Yorker Rejects Itself: A Quasi-Scientific Analysis of Slush Piles
By David Cameron
It began as the kind of logical argument that seems airtight to anyone who has never studied logic.
If the New Yorker is the most desirable literary magazine in the world, and if the New Yorker can have any short story the New Yorker wants, then whatever story the New Yorker gets would—logically—be so intrinsically desirable that all lesser literary pubs (e.g., everyone) would pine for it. Just like the prettiest girl at the dance: the guy she picks is the guy chicks dig. Basic deduction 101.
After a few glasses of two-buck Chuck I was ready to test my hypothesis. I grabbed a New Yorker story off the web (no, it wasn't by Alice Munro or William Trevor), copied it into a Word document, changed only the title, created a fictitious author identity, and submitted it to a slew of literary journals, all of whom regularly grace the TOC of Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, O’Henry, etcetera and etcetera. My cover letter simply stated that I am an unpublished writer deeply appreciative of their consideration.
That was it. I sowed the seed, and waited.
As for the result, please sit down and place your Starbucks Venti on a secure surface.