Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Things I learned in Community College: How to be Megan McArdle

Our oh so balanced econo-Englishcist decides it's been too long since she wrote a book report and, after the usual long winded and pointless anecdotal preamble, decides to go ahead and give us her thoughts on her current read. (Question about those preambles; why do you have to tell people WHY you're making a post? If it's not apparent from the content of the post, the post prolly wasn't worth writing. Then again, none of your posts are worth writing so... nevermind. Carry on.)

So how does she start this return to her undergrad days? Why, with shit ass freshmen level writing that looks like a perfunctory attempt at summarizing a book that was merely skimmed so that adequate time for preening and getting drunk was still had, of course. Megan strive for authenticity, if nothing else. I must say, this is the one area in which she succeeds. Everything she produces is authentically and unabashedly, Megan McArdle.

The first thing that strikes you is her hero-worship of her father. Modern people don't write like this; we want to see parents as people. In Addams' portrayal, her father comes across as a sort of Christ-like figure--endlessly patient, kind, generous, modest, and so forth. The childhood she describes in a small Illinois town is so perfectly idyllic that you can't help but wonder what dark secret she was hiding
Now, let's play "you're a TA teaching freshmen comp"

The first thing that strikes you (uneccessary) is her hero-worship of her father. Modern people (who?!) don't write like this; w. We want to see parents as people (we do? citation! provide examples!). In Addams' portrayal, her father comes across as a sort of(if he's sort of christ-like, why not skip that and tell us what he actually is?) Christ-like figure --(. He is)endlessly patient, kind, generous, modest, and so forth. The childhood she describes in a small Illinois town is so perfectly idyllic (idllyic means perfect! don't use words you don't know!) that you can't help but wonder what dark secret she was hiding( awkward. also provide examples from the text!).

Megan,

Please see me after class.

Sincerely,
your professor, who writes crap like this for his second semester community college English class, but knows better than to be proud of it (or even think that anywhere else it'd get anything other than a gigantic freaking F and the continuous scorn of anyone who ever gazed upon it)

5 comments:

Clever Pseudonym said...

I especially like this paragraph:

"The whole thing is cast along the lines of the sort of saccharine Victorian literature that is now blessedly forgotten. Yet it's absolutely gripping. Her motives are opaque, her grasp of economics abysmal, and her description of the people around her annoyingly scant--but she has an amazing eye for the world she lived in, and the fervor of a zealot."

Where do I start? If this Victorian literature is "blessedly forgotten," then why are you writing about it? Specifically, how can it be forgettable and gripping at the same time? How are her descriptions "annoyingly scant," while also having an "amazing eye for the world she lived in"? Megan often contradicts herself; it's just a rare treat to see her do it in the same sentence. And "the fervor of a zealot" is stupidly redundant. Don't even get me started on the nerve of her calling someone else out for their grasp of economics being abysmal.

"We want to see parents as people." WTF does that even mean? Speak for yourself, Megan. I like to see parents as cats.

rickm said...

Well its beats "and the fervor of a ferverous person."

NutellaonToast said...

yes, her writings definitely have all the markings of the marked.

spencer said...

Specifically, how can it be forgettable and gripping at the same time?

To be fair, whatever literature she's thinking of could simultaneously be forgotten and gripping. But she undermines even this overly generous interpretation of her jibba jabba by specifying that it is "blessedly forgotten," which implies a lack of gripping-ness (among other things).

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