A few years back, the journalist and essayist John Jeremiah Sullivan spoke in an interview about the effects his work as an editor of other writers has had on his own writing. It made him more exacting, he felt, more ruthless when it came to his own prose. But the danger, he continued, “is you go too far with that, and you can’t write, because the critical voice is just so powerful from the very beginning, it smothers what you want to say. You’re trying to light matches in a rainstorm of self-doubt. Writing has to believe in itself as it’s happening.”
This is exactly right, I think. For all that you need to be aware of the perils of irrelevance and self-indulgence — to guard against the jarring insertion of coffee-spilling slapstick into otherwise serious essays, say, or against excessively self-referential subclauses — to get anything done at all, you also basically have to ignore that necessary awareness.
“What’s important is that critical reading can be a way into thinking about questions that are difficult and complicated, and not in some boring and abstract way, like, ‘Oh, in Moby-Dick white is a symbol for nature’s ambivalence to man,’ but instead in a concrete and totally interesting way, like, ‘Nature’s complete indifference to you, as expressed by the color white in Moby-Dick, is something that you had better get your head around or else you’re going to end up like Captain Ahab.’ So it’s not so much about uncovering secret mysteries for the sake of uncovering secret mysteries, it’s about using story as a way into thinking about our actual lives and how we’re actually living them.”—
greykiwi It’s part of a portfolio that counts 70% of the grade. While it’s only one part of the 70%, it’s still a big deal.
Plus it’s the principle of the thing. When I was writing my dissertation, I included a footnote to a website that was discussing a character in a Stephenson novel in the same way that I was—independent ideas, but the same ideas. No one would have called me on it because probably no one a) would ever read my diss, and b) only I was looking for the ideas, but because the guy’s ideas were similar to mine, I footnoted it because it would have been dishonest, in my view, not to.
This student isn’t even doing that. S/he is 100% passing off someone else’s work as his or her own. And I cannot abide it.
This student has written garbage all term—including garbage revisions of papers that I have marked extensively. S/he can’t write a coherent sentence at times, never mind cogent analysis, even with support.
Suddenly using words like modalities, a priori and posteriori, and the like.
Nothing comes up on Turnitin or through extensive Google searches.
Someone else wrote this paper, and I can’t prove it.
I bet s/he paid someone to write it. This cannot stand.
Listen to the voices of the neo liberal right and infantile Randian fantasists, that infests every political thread on the Guardian US blog like a disease. Like an obese playground bully with learning difficulties and a big gun, looking through a myopic lens at the corpse of American exceptionalism, the tragic ongoing massacre of the innocents comes as no surprise, in a country that mixes equal parts hypocrisy and nauseous value free sentimentality; the right to bear arms, exploitative/rapacious free market individualism, paranoia, religious fundamentalism and cultural ignorance of the external world.
As a professional artist/designer of Anglo-French origin, I’ve worked on and off in the US for over twenty five years - mainly in San Francisco and New York which I love(d). Beyond those two cities i find a US whose population has no conception of the world beyond its borders, who wallow in their own cultural ignorance and a belief that gun ownership sets them free. They have the highest rate of gun fatalities and lowest take up of passports in the West, and compared to Western Europe have a lower life expectancy, lower living standards, higher infant mortality, lower educational attainment per head of population, but they do excel in gun ownership, pollution, obesity, frothing at the mouth and shooting children.
The US now consists of small towns with shuttered shops, huge unemployment, increasing dependency on charity, free food, soup kitchens. Almost fifty million below the poverty line. Tens of millions without health insurance and those with cover, struggling to pay their premiums. Braying TP Republican party supporters suggesting those without health insurance should die, gun control is a liberal Marxist plot, and gay soldiers who are apparently defending American freedom with their lives should be vilified. The largest prison population in the Western world, execution as bread and circuses. I see a country in eclipse and in debt to their biggest ideological rival, China. American cities with crumbling infrastructure that are beginning to resemble the Third World. The self serving rich and their lickspittle politicians who would embarrass Caligula’s Rome. In its irreversible decline America has become the world leader and advocate for a new age of gun wielding, child shooting, economic and social barbarism - its preferred model.
The American ruling class fail to see the Orwellian irony in promoting a return to master/serf medievalism in the guise of ‘American Freedom.’ This verminous, parasitic, parvenu, lickspittle, non empathetic sociopathic trash. These reductive whores of unfettered market driven, voodoo Social Darwinism, that wishes to reduce every aspect of humanity to mere units of production, who despise ordinary people, who see their only value, as an entry in a profit and loss account - to be exploited by the human garbage that this sub-strata of humanity are, and the corporate fascism they serve. To read their comments is to see the true face of their malignant, cancerous moral degeneracy, and in that, they at least serve a purpose. Much like the gargoyles on a church spire, they represent a grotesque warning of how deformed ones humanity can become.
Ironic isn’t it, America may end up becoming the Western world’s first failed state? A kind of Somalia with guns, hamburgers, obesity and better drainage; ruled by Christian fundamentalist neo liberal warlords and Ayn Rand inspired libertarian gangsters, funded by Wall Street parasites, with the Tea Party as the Sturm Abteilung (SA). Remember the fascist war cry as they went into battle against government troops during the Spanish Civil War? “Death to the intellect! Long live death!”. How appropriate? Maybe America could work that into a revised version of ‘America the Beautiful,’ while using the Statue of Liberty for target practice.
Comment on the Guardian’s site in response to David Simon’s article.
But the notion that poor Irish Catholics would inherently be opposed to scary white supremacist types (or even inherently on the Allies side in World War II) is kind of historically unreasonable. Like, the IRA was collaborating with the Nazis throughout the whole British-German aspect of the conflict. And you’d better believe the IRA had strong diaspora support (from, say, poor Irish Catholics in New York) throughout that era.
The IRA and Republican efforts back through to the start of British occupation is a long history of alliances with Britain’s enemies. Never good. But allied with the Nazis? The worst.
“A family on a healthy diet can expect to pay $2,000 more a year for food than one having less nutritious meals, say researchers who recommend that the cost gap be closed. The research in Thursday’s issue of British Medical Journal Open reviewed 27 studies from 10 high-income countries to evaluate the price differences of foods and diet patterns.”—
Let the record reflect the conclusive result of empirical research spanning 27 studies from 10 countries: healthy eating is fucking expensive and people who deny this reality are annoying and full of shit.
greykiwi we don’t meet again face to face this term, so it has to be done via email. And I’m probably not going to pile on with the whole texting issue unless he/she makes a fuss about getting the F for the assignment. But yeah, this is no fun at all.
tbridge usually departments allow instructors to use their discretion, just document it. But the gray area is whether to a) turn the student into academic affairs (at worst), or b) allow the student to write a whole new paper (at best, for the student, obviously) as this was just a draft—not a final paper for credit.
savoystomp I think the answer is fear and frustration—they have literally run out of options and are afraid that they will fail the assignment, so something is better than nothing? But given turnitin, google, blackboard, yeah, it’s insane to think that you’re going to get away with it. The ones who do get away with it buy their papers. Those are essentially original work or behind paywalls, so they don’t turn up in turnitin or google.
I really hate this part of teaching. I have invested myself in this person’s education.
I want him/her to succeed. I want them all to succeed.
But this student has spent the majority of class time buried in his/her phone, texting, and never participates. S/he is taking this class for the 3rd or 4th time (not with me). What good is another F going to do? What good would allowing him or her to turn in another draft do?
Why can’t they all just do their work honestly? I hate this.
The Pats play Cleveland, so a) DIAF, samsplace but b) I have to go out to watch them (hopefully) dismantle the Browns. Therein lies the dilemma.
There was this place called the Pickle Barrel, where I have had a few good meals and all, including a few great game days with Captain Annoying/Doug and Holly. But they wildly over-serve a small cadre of drunks who are no fun to be around, and they stopped carrying Sam Adams or any other decent brew. I’m not looking to get lit, but even if I was, I ain’t drinking no Natty Light bombers.
There’s a new place, with ok food, no drunks, and Ranger IPA on draft. But there’s no atmosphere. It’s dead, and no wifi. Eh.
Then there’s BWW. Wifi, decent food, good beer selection, but the Benning guys go there. Seemingly all of them.
I really wish that AppleTV would break the NFL and DirectTV’s exclusive deal on Sunday Ticket. I love MLB.tv’s package. I watch and listen to 100s of baseball games all season. I would gladly pay $150 or so for the ability to watch the Pats from my couch.
“It could have been that our own hearts turned to stone. It could have been that we inscribed vengeance on our banners of battle and resolved to meet brutality with brutality. But we understood that oppression dehumanizes the oppressor as it hurts the oppressed. We understood that to emulate the barbarity of the tyrant would also transform us into savages. We knew that we would sully and degrade our cause if we allowed that it should, at any stage, borrow anything from the practices of the oppressor.”—
This is such a perfect example of everything I love about Waits’ music. The barbaric yawp of his voice, the battle with good and evil in the speaker’s soul, and the desperation of the horns in the arrangement.