Response to McSweeny’s articles

The two articles we read are meant to be extremely satirical yet they hold a grain of truth about modern writing in the 21st century. In the Syllabus article, Robert Lanham pokes fun of young people preferring simplified internet speak while blogging, tweeting, and interacting on facebook. He states that we are in the post-print age and goes on to outline a class that teaches its’ students how to write in 140 characters or less, adapt their writing for short and easy to read blog posts, and why printed words aren’t good for the environment.

In Cameron Dodd’s article, he provides us with a list of 11 humorous writing class assignments that can actually be applied to the real world. My favorite one was “Write an obituary for a family member who was, by all accounts, an emotionally distant asshole and unaccomplished poet.”

The purpose of the humor in the aforementioned articles is to point out where our writing classes are lacking in the contemporary world. In college writing classes we are taught how to write analytically and in the proper MLA format. We write research papers that can easily be over 10 pages and cite our sources so we are not accused of plagiarism. We are advised to expand our vocabulary so our writing appears to be at college level and not like the book report of an 5th grader.

Needless to say, some of the information learned in writing classes are valuable; I believe that my writing has improved tremendously after high school. But the main point of the articles (which I agree with) is that what we are taught is outdated. After graduation, many of us are going to be working primarily on the internet or uploading our work on the internet. Whether it be journalism, filming, marketing, or advertising, we will be (and already are) spending a massive amount of time on the internet. Our research and writing classes need to reflect that.

Unless you are going into a science related field, there will be no need for to write wordy research papers. Professors need to focus on more modern writing styles like blog posts and online news articles that are meant to be read by the common person and not a research scientist. Some of the points the articles make are a bit extreme, for example in the Syllabus article, Lanham outlines that books and magazines are obsolete. Although satire is heavily used throughout, the underlying message rings true: our college level writing courses are not easily integrated with the internet world.

Articles:

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/college-writing-class-assignments-with-real-world-applications

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/internet-age-writing-syllabus-and-course-overview

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