A Reaction to McSweeney’s (1/15)


Possibly, these authors were looking to use self-deprecation to get their points across. This is more so prevalent in Cameron Dodd’s post “COLLEGE WRITING CLASS ASSIGNMENTS WITH REAL WORLD APPLICATIONS” than Robert Lanham’s “INTERNET-AGE WRITING SYLLABUS AND COURSE OVERVIEW“. Both seek to exemplify the current college student generation.


In a way, the contemporary world belongs to that of its contemporary inhabitants—a.k.a., the newest generation of writers should make no attempts to replicate that of, say, the work of literary classics. Not to say that the classics are outdated, or that its more formal and strict format isn’t something to appreciate. However, in order to make room for a fresh version of the classic writers from this era, this time period, from this modern and contemporary world we need to break the rules and create things from the unexplored: exactly what these two writers have done.


WHAT SHOULD BE: Dodd’s work implies that real world experience is a fresh way of not only representing a part of the contemporary world (kind of like a snapshot), but also to bring something unexpected and genre-breaking into the literary world. Each sentence listed is interesting because we, as readers, like the relatable and connect with an author/writer who doesn’t hold back, making the mundane into the entertaining.


WHAT COULD BE: The format of Lanham’s piece offers much to be appreciated. By now, we all now what a class syllabus looks like, and usually, it’s never fun. Lanham gives it a cool, sarcastic twist and embedded underneath all that sarcasm is exactly what shouldn’t go on inside a writing class. That’s what makes it interesting. Lanham takes our expectations and gives us these quirky, overdramatic, yet hilarious categories of prose that more than likely predict where the future of literature is headed. What scares me is that—somewhere, at some point in time in the very near future coming—this may actually become a class.


So the lesson? Read McSweeney’s and save the world.


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