Modern uses for writing… and jokes


Both the authors Robert Lanham and Cameron Dodd discuss the changes of writing applicability in their satirical course and assignment overviews. Both authors mock the plights of modern college students by describing a college student’s use for college level writing.

In Dodd’s list of assignments, the student is tasked with using his/her college writing skills for nefarious purposes. The humor in the assignments is that they are all real life scenarios that a student may have already experienced. The list includes writing apology texts to a girl who the student slept with, writing excuse-emails (and lying) to professors whose classes have been ignored, and trying to worm a way out of paying a landlord rent on time. Dodd’s purpose for writing out these real life experiences as assignments may have been to say “hey, these are the situations most college students are faced with, why not have them practice writing for these exact scenarios”. At the same time it is important to look at what Dodd isn’t saying. These are the situations in which students use their writing skills. Nowhere, does Dodd write about students writing poetry for a girlfriend, or writing a thank you letter to an Uncle who gave nephew/niece birthday money. Instead, “today’s” college students are perceived in this list of assignments as excuse makers, liars, and people who generally mess things up. Dodd generalizes the character traits of a generation of people (students) then uses the traits as a means to build his list of assignments, all to build a joke that says “seriously, we (professors) should gear college writing towards the students in this manor, they only use their skills in these situations anyways”.

In Lanham’s satirical outline of a class, each week he finds a new ways to mock students’ communicative abilities on blogs and through text. Teaching students to bring their “shallow wit” to life as they tweet, as well as construct 800 character blogs by “copying and pasting”. In each week of the syllabus, Lanham finds a new character trait of today’s student to mock. At the end of the piece, Lanham jokes if certain aspects of books should even be taught. In section three, students learn about the dead industry of book publishing. By describing the state of book publishing as “no longer applicable”, Lanham is calling for change in the methods used to explain the publishing world and writing in general.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s