Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Wisdom Teeth

Quoting from one's students' essays on one's website (yea verily even without their permission or knowledge) is unethical. Forsooth, it is. But as it is high time for tea (or high tea time), and I am still at work marking my students' essays, and there is no prospect of going home anytime in the next - ooh - thirty-six hours, the usual moral strictures do not apply. Also, like Saint Augustine, who prayed for chastity and continence, but not yet, I let my digits clatter away at yon keyboard, hoping that my nobler nature will surface just as soon as I've pressed "publish".

Meanwhile, I give you the tippety-toppety best sentence from the latest bunch of freshperson disquisitions on autobiography. It's this: "I don't write diaries because I saw many movies in which the guy was found guilty by the evidence in his diary, so I don't think writing diaries is a good habit anyhow." I hereby nominate this sentence for the Alumni Association's Excellence in B-Grade-Espionage-Flick-Induced Paranoia Award.

While I'm at it, cast your een over this contender for the Prioritisers' Choice Award: "I myself have often thought that relationships are more important than trivial issues." Yes. I myself have often thought that important things are more important than unimportant things too.

And this heart-rending lament: "Oblivion is one of the greatest gifts God gives to men [...] People with great memories always find it hurts."

And for sheer excellence in noun-to-adjective transition surgery: "As well as the use of the first person, speaking of oneself in the third person can imply a somewhat humility element to the writing."

My head hurts.

14 comments:

alexis said...

Just to clarify: many of my students are brilliant. Some of them are darn-tootin' brilliant.

alexis said...

My head hurts, literally. And my back. I think I need to take up exercise.

TimT said...

Ah, yes. I remember Oblivion in the summer-time. Sartre was very fond of it. He used to go there on long weekends...

Martin Kingsley said...

::momentarily delurks::

The diary bit will keep me warm on many a cold night to come (not that, given our current climatic condition, I'm able to any longer recall what those were like, hmph!)

Not that I'm physically able to cast the first stone, or anything. Anyway, while on the topic of paranoic delusions, I wholeheartedly recommend Stephen King's early short story, Paranoid: A Chant. It is wonderful, and can be found in either of his Ye Olde Work collections, Night Shift, or Skeleton Crew. I cannae 'member which 'tis.

::returns to lurking::

Martin Kingsley said...

paranoiac, rather. I'm sure I hit the A the first time around. Oh well. Removed by government lackeys looking to discredit my theory of lukewarm fusion, no doubt.

JahTeh said...

I'll bet the diary hater has a facebook account. Did you have a look?

Dale Slamma said...

Brilliant stuff. I had not thought of talking to myself in the third person in order to introduce humility into my writing. I will start now. Dale you are fabulous. Oh dear, it doesn't seem to be working.

Martin Kingsley said...

I am Dale! No, I am Dale! I am Dale! I am... *insert crucifixion scene here*

...Oops, hang on a minute, that's just Spartacus. Whoopsies.

Pictionary fiend said...

I also just have to delurk momentarily to express my heartfelt sympathies. I hope the number of essays in your pile is not in the triple figures. I recently finished reading a thesis in the social sciences for a friend. I love her to bits, but she is an absolute master of almost paranormal noun-to-verb transformations. Sometimes going to the gym and kicking or punching something can help when one is being exposed to a lot of very awkward English, I've found. My long-term plan is to produce a series of stamps for teachers and other essay readers. "This is not a verb" will be one of the best sellers, I expect.

alexis said...

We can all be Dale, in our own special ways.

alexis said...

Nice thought, Jahteh. I am trying to avoid fraternising with the young scholars on facebook, though. There are things I don't want to know.

alexis said...

Pictionary Fiend, yes, stamps!

Dale Slamma said...

I could use a hand being Dale. I encourage everyone to have a go at being Dale. I'll start. I am Dale.

Martin Kingsley said...

I am...desperately trying to resist taking the bait.