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12 May 2010 @ 03:17 pm
As I am looking for ways to procrastinate writing papers, and as I have finished my grading in an attempt to procrastinate writing said papers, I want to take a moment to write a more elaborate set of snarky comments thoughtful critiques about the  dimwits maturity-challenged students from this semester.

For a while now, I have been very much anticipating writing a lengthy entry about the snowflake who complained that my class "didn't allow him enough freedom of expression" and focused too heavily on "grammar" and "academic language." Who thinks that my criticism of his work is not warranted, for he "writes every day, whether it be lyrics or poems or thoughts" and therefore "Now the content of his papers should speak for themselves" (yeah, that is where the grammar and academic style of prose part comes in).

Oh sweet snowflake, guess what? I don't care how many "lyrics" or "thoughts" you record in your diary every day. Somehow, I doubt that you are the freshman equivalent of Bob Dylan, or even Jakob Dylan. Frankly, I doubt that you have the talent of Melvin Dylanski, Bob's Klezmer-minded cousin from Long Island. Frankly, your whining and bitching about the fact that I expect you to behave like an adult, write emails to me that do not resemble a monkey's attempt at text messaging, and turn in essays that DO NOT SEEK TO SUBSTANTIATE ARGUMENTS BY MAKING INSULTING REMARKS ABOUT A CERTAIN ETHNIC COMMUNITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST (I believe the exact term that you chose to include on your research paper on overpopulation was "maybe Islamic groups in Iran should think about having less children that grow up to be suicide bombers") insults me. And guess what? The fact that I find this insulting does not make me anti-Semitic (I'm Jewish you moron), anti-American, or an instructor dead set on making my politics part of the course. And damn straight I'm going to call you on it.

My class requires you to write (gasp!) papers suitable for academic contexts. And in any case, my greatest wish in life right now is that you keep your melancholic laments about your yearning for the freshman ex-cheerleader with only minimally acne-scarred cheeks to yourself for the rest of my life, preferably yours as well. I am slightly amused that you find it insulting that I choose to "unlike some other instructors, keep [you] here for the entire class time" and ""criticize [your] paper." Guess what this complaint means: I DO MY FUCKING JOB, MORON, AND THAT MEANS TELLING YOU THAT YOU ARE WRONG INSTEAD OF NODDING AND SMILING AND TUNING YOU OUT WHILE DOWNING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF XANAX  SO AS TO NUMB MY ANXIETY DEVELOPING IN RESPONSE TO THE UNEASY EXPECTATION THAT YOU AND YOUR GENERATION ARE IN LINE TO INHERIT THE ALREADY DETERIORATING COUNTRY. Seriously, I just threw up in my mouth thinking that you might, one day, meet someone, procreate, and produce permutations of you who might, one day, create a lineage of increasingly dull and unsophisticated spawn. Shudder.

And damn you for leaving me no choice but to craft entire sentences in all caps. Damn you for that too, asshole.
shannon_f_rshannon_f_r on May 12th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)

Monkeys with smart phones could definitely write better emails than most undergraduates. Remember, if you got enough of them in a room, they'd eventually type out Hamlet, which is more than we can say for students.

"unlike some other instructors, keep [you] here for the entire class time"

One professor (probably high on Xanax or maybe something better) once told this kid that he wrote "pretty well" and got him out of the room so she could turn off the high-pitched whine in her head, and that got magnified in his mind to "inscrutable genius," probably while he was jacking off to the ex-cheerleader's yearbook photo.
debsinenglishdebsinenglish on May 13th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
"Monkeys with smart phones could definitely write better emails than most undergraduates. Remember, if you got enough of them in a room, they'd eventually type out Hamlet, which is more than we can say for students."

Thanks so much for pointing out an embarrassing error in my text!

"I expect you to behave like an adult, write emails to me that do not resemble a monkey's attempt at text messaging."

I meant drunk and blind monkeys educated by the state of Texas. That's the kind of performance minimum I'd like to see them reach.

Sorry if my comments offend drunk people or blind people, or monkeys suffering either or both of these plights. I am also sorry for people educated by the state of Texas. For different reasons, obviously.
Clare Littlebit Blueambtiondata on May 12th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Dude (I have to share this) - kid today first tried to get out of study group by using the force, "you WILL give me credit even if I don't come to study group." When I turned out not to be susceptible to his weak Jedi mind tricks, in retaliation he spent the first 10 minutes or so of study group arguing with anyone who would engage (sadly, too many) regarding the definition of asexuality and, in particular, whether or not a Hutt can have a penis.
rokikurama on May 13th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
You have my utter and complete sympathy.

Also, you caused me to crack up in the middle of my studio surrounded by the master's students who have a deadline tomorrow and are now shooting me nasty looks.
debsinenglishdebsinenglish on May 13th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
But my question remains unanswered: how ever did you stave off his Jedi mind tricks? After two years they still get me every time.
Clare Littlebit Blueambtiondata on May 13th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'm a Hutt... apparently they aren't easily force-addled (according to wookiepedia, which said student cited numerous times in his rant) ;) But he actually did praise my strong-mindedness when I failed to give in....
debsinenglishdebsinenglish on May 14th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
I'm sorry...and I'm perhaps also sorry in advance that I asked.

intextrovertintextrovert on May 12th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
Ugh - you can tell it's the end of the semester; we all want nothing more but to vent about the wastes of space that are our students. Allow me to indulge:

Your kid reminds me of the snowflake who asked if, for her honors essay, she could write as though she were a prosecutor against a character. I told her my concerns (it would probably be full of cutesy rhetorical flourish rather than substance, it would be a collection of different points rather than one sustained, nuanced argument, she's a second semester honors senior). Of course, she turned in a paper EXACTLY like that after I said no, and I gave her a low grade. She complained that it was boring writing regular essays all the time (even though they have personal reflection journals every week, and at least one creative writing assignment option per quarter) and she liked to "express herself." Translation: she doesn't like to think. Such a snowflake argument - I always clench my teeth to refrain from saying, YOUR PERSONAL "EXPRESSION," WHETHER THAT IS LYRICS OR "RANDOM THOUGHTS," ISN'T WORTH ANYTHING TO ME OR ANYONE BUT YOU, ESPECIALLY IF IT'S SORT OF MORONIC.

Oh, look. Now I'm doing it.
rokikurama on May 13th, 2010 10:17 am (UTC)
Trust me, those people should have come to art school. My one flatmate is actually proud of the fact that her work is all about herself. I suppose I'm not "with it" enough to understand.

It's especially sad because I think that the academic writing mold could stand to be shaken up a bit, but people like this give even the attempt a bad name.
intextrovertintextrovert on May 13th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have no problem with bending/challenging the rules...but you have to know how to use them/understand them first to do that in any effective way. Kids don't get that - they see rule-breakers and see it as a way to get around thinking, rather than as something that requires thinking more.
debsinenglishdebsinenglish on May 13th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
But see, this is exactly the root of the problem. The rhet/comp program, for which I work (and which is slowly taking over the academic universe using subversive offensive tactics) not only encourages but also APPLAUDS this precise type of "individual" "unique" pathos driven crap that demonstrates absolutely no ability to engage in the rigor of academic discourse or substantiate the argument by making logically sound deductive claims.

I had a pedagogy seminar in which the professor told me taht I ought to rethink my practice of demanding that my students identify within their paper a thesis. Are you shitting me? Listen, if I'm dealing with a Pulitzer Prize winner or if David Foster Wallace suddenly rises from the dead and decides to pursue three units of basic college writing credit, then by all means, I will give them a pass. Because you know what? I'm guessing that their rhetorical choice not to follow the protocols of "making a logical claim" and "arguing said claim" in an organized and logically consistent fashion is indeed a choice, an informed stylistic deviation from the norm with an intended outcome. But my students write incoherent papers, not because they have OUTSMARTED or TRANSCENDED the status quo, but rather because they are so far from the status quo that they wouldn't recognize it even if it texted them (during my class, of course) to alert them to its presence.

This is precisely the sense of entitlement that I hate, this stunt your student pulls, in which he/she thinks he/she is so darn clever that the SILLY TEACHER doesn't "get" him/her or his/her style.

Balls. Pure balls.
RX King_theplague on May 13th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
Ugh. I've only ever taught one class but let me say how much I feel for you. I don't know how I'm going to deal when I get my first class.

This isn't my snowflake story but my friend who works in the writing center at my undergrad had to deal with a girl who wanted to write her senior thesis on Neil Gaiman's Coraline with the thesis statement: "Parents and their children see things differently." My friend said she had to do everything she could not to laugh in the girl's face. The girl then went on to defend that position, claiming that it was a legitimate point of contention, and then got unreasonably snarky. Really?
rokikurama on May 13th, 2010 10:15 am (UTC)
Thats... so sad. That's all she could come up with about CORALINE?! Ugh.
intextrovertintextrovert on May 13th, 2010 12:29 pm (UTC)
Ugh, those are the WORST. The thesis statements that say NOTHING. Like "the use of light and dark helps the reader understand and get a deeper meaning out of the book," or "Money means different things to different people." Arrrghhh.

Also the worst when they think they are genius for saying it, and will not be convinced otherwise.
debsinenglishdebsinenglish on May 13th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
I think you will find this article rather stimulating.


Short summary:

Although Curious George and Brokeback Mountain share many similarities, they also share many differences. Both involve men in hats, but the meaning of the hat changes.

Curious George is the story of a monkey and the man he adopts. The Man in the Yellow Hat works in a museum, where he never figures out that Drew Barrymore has a crush on him. He must be gay or something. He gets sent to Africa to find a statue that could save the museum. He doesn’t, but he could of if he had figured out how to read the map. A monkey steals his hat, which is like stealing his identity, but it’s a hat. It’s an example of nature’s inhumanity to man.
rokikurama on May 13th, 2010 10:20 am (UTC)
Good lord. That's... horrifying. I'm glad you do call the evil little snowflake on it. Maybe you should just attach a recommendation to read Swift's remarks on overpopulation in Ireland ;-) Almost over. Almost over. And now you have great stories to share in teacher assistant lounges/bar nights, right?