“Internet-Age Writing Syllabus” and “College Writing Assignments with Real World Applications”

The essays “Internet-Age Writing Syllabus” and “College Writing Assignments with Real World Applications” on Timothy McSweeney’s website use literacy techniques, such as satire, in order to get across a point to an ever rising social issue. Satire is “the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/satire). In employing satire, McSweeney is able to express his distaste in the ever rising new style of “writing” that is most popularly seen on social media websites or through text messages.

Both of the essays are styled to resemble a college- type syllabus in which the requirements and expectations of the course are outlined. Each week is devoted to another vulgar way of teaching students how to write poorly in our social terms but properly within this new age.

This new age of writing is the real problem here. Much like Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, the use of satire within this text was to draw awareness to an issue, which is in this case, the rise in poor writing skills and overall short hand. This form of communication, or lack therefore of, leads to improper excuses, misplaced self-importance, entitlement, and overall lack of concern for how our actions, or better yet, posts, affect not only our lives but the lives around us.

The essays, in a nondirect way, state that research/writing classes should be teaching students to not follow the mass populace in the way of improper and overall poor writing that is now so commonplace. Research and writing courses should be teaching students how to use the technology that they have and fully use it in the proper way it was intended, not for some random Facebook status or tweet with hardly any thought at all, but as a tool to be used to gain knowledge and overall better oneself.


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