Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"A class of yeowls arose."

I've seen the dumb-lines-from-student-papers bit done before, but it's worth revisiting now and again:
During the Middle Ages, everybody was middle aged. Church and state were co-operatic. Middle Evil society was made up of monks, lords, and surfs. It is unfortunate that we do not have a medivel European laid out on a table before us, ready for dissection. After a revival of infantile commerce slowly creeped into Europe, merchants appeared. Some were sitters and some were drifters. They roamed from town to town exposing themselves and organized big fairies in the countryside. Mideval people were violent. Murder during this period was nothing. Everybody killed someone. England fought numerously for land in France and ended up wining and losing. The Crusades were a series of military expaditions made by Christians seeking to free the holy land (the “Home Town” of Christ) from the Islams.

In the 1400 hundreds most Englishmen were perpendicular. A class of yeowls arose. Finally, Europe caught the Black Death. The bubonic plague is a social disease in the sense that it can be transmitted by intercourse and other etceteras. It was spread from port to port by inflected rats. Victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks. The plague also helped the emergance of the English language as the national language of England, France and Italy.
The merchants sound like Cathars.

... The funniest thing a student of mine ever did, back in my salad days as a TA trying to teach Comp 102, was to write a paper on Mary Gaitskill's "Secretary" (a first-person narrative) in which he failed to use quotation marks, or any other device, to set off text from the story. Haven't the paper or the story in front of me, but the effect was rather like this:
The girl in this story is completely crazy in her sex life. I went home and masturbated, thinking about my boss spanking me. This shows how crazy she is.
Wondering whether to give it a D or an F, I gave it to my fellow TA/roommate, who burst into laughter on the first page. From which I inferred The Laugh Test: if your essay makes people laugh at you (and such was not your evident purpose), it's an F.


  1. At least we can be certain this Middle Evilist isn't a plagiarist.

    Surrealist, perhaps (they grew boobs on their necks?)...

  2. At least we can be certain this Middle Evilist isn't a plagiarist.

    Probably not, though one of the sad facts I learned in teaching comp was how many people cannot copy even an author's name correctly when they're writing about a story. The kinds of kids who will copy a paper verbatim, are likely to add any number of spelling errors in doing so.