How The MacArthur Genius Grants Are Awarded

Illustration for article titled How The MacArthur Genius Grants Are Awarded

The 24 recipients of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation “genius grants” were announced Tuesday, with each fellow given a no-strings-attached gift of $625,000 over five years to pursue their boldest artistic, academic, or scientific work. Here is a step-by-step guide to how the MacArthur Foundation awards its grants:

  • Step 1: MacArthur scouts dispatched to studios, laboratories, and lecture halls throughout the country
  • Step 2: Selection committee asks each candidate why he or she most wants to be a genius
  • Step 3: Committee member throws in 43-year-old data entry clerk Tim Conners from Ohio to give rest of committee a laugh
  • Step 4: Committee ensures candidates have never before been declared a genius by another foundation to preserve fellowship’s prestige
  • Step 5: Candidates who admit that they hate human progress are immediately disqualified
  • Step 6: Finalists examined by leading phrenologists
  • Step 7: Some fucking avant-garde puppeteer makes more money over the course of a phone call than you will in your life
  • Step 8: Winners awarded MacArthur Foundation tote bag
  • Step 9: Recipients receive painfully awkward, disingenuous congratulations from peers and colleagues
  • Step 10: Winners required to submit two forms of ID plus voided check stub in order to begin direct deposit
  • Step 11: Snubbed geniuses vow to use talents to wreak devastation upon humanity
  • Step 12: Public waits for five years in feverish anticipation for poet’s 18-page chapbook