How to produce a mediocre college essay and other things you may find interesting

I think my titles are way too long, I’ll work on fixing that up…

Anyway, notice that the title says ‘produce’ as opposed to ‘write’.

I had an interesting project today reviewing Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving.  I obviously didn’t read the book, but I found a few helpful reviews and of course Wikipedia to give me a foundation to jump off.  It was a three-pager and I got it to about 2 1/3 before deciding just to turn it in.  I make up in quality what I lack in quantity, well relative quality at least.

Here’s an excerpt so you can get a taste what passes for scholarly work in our nation’s fine institutions of higher learning:

“In our society of post-industrial consumer capitalism, the notion of love has come to be identified and mythologized through the commodification of what we think love should look like. Advertisements, television, music, and movies lead us to believe that if we buy our significant other a Hallmark greeting card, a dozen red roses, a box of Godiva chocolates, an expensive dinner, and a diamond ring that this will mean that we truly love them. This gesture of love may or not be genuine, but all of the noticeable signifiers have been enabled to allow the thought of love to creep into the relationship.

But is this really love? Is love even possible in an environment where people themselves have been turned into commodities that can be bought and sold?

These are the questions the famed psychoanalyst Erich Fromm sought to engage in his landmark book, The Art of Loving. Dr. Fromm argues that love is still possible, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to realize thanks to the march of capitalism. In this essay, I will discuss his reasoning and why I tend to agree with his thesis.”

I mean for real, I took up nearly a full page just setting up the damn essay!  The conclusion took up about another 1/2 page.  That leaves, oh, about 30% of the paper for the meat of the body – 15% of which is taken up by quotes from the text.  It’s truly abominable how formulaic these projects can become, yet when I read through them they seem to be better than most of the garbage I was churning out when I was still in college.

I said most, not all.

I did have some ‘truly remarkable’ projects that I completed in my undergrad days, at least according to a handful of professors.  My favorite and personal best was a tract against the Iraq invasion through the lens of The Battle of Algiers.  I won’t bore you with the details, but lemme just say that the Pentagon screened this film prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom as a training guide for dealing with ‘guerilla’ enemies.

It’s no wonder the French had no desire to join us in The War on Terror.  Shit, that sounds like more of a movie title than it does an actual military offensive.

Sorry, the formatting got all funky on me when I copy/pasted that excerpt from the essay, so bear with me if it’s annoying.

You know what?  I’m just gonna make this an infant post and throw up another post with some music and links that I was surfing through today, I hope you enjoy!

Haha I got the formatting back by copy/pasting from the top of this post.  I’m so smeeart.

First:  A quote from the aforementioned psychoanalyst Erich Fromm:

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainty.”

I like this conception because it’s an opening up of the notion of creativity instead of  trying to make creativity out to be some mystical force that only God can impart to the chosen few.

Alas, some media:

Here’s the famous clip from Les 400 Coups by Francois Truffaut.

I’m posting it for two reasons:  First because my sister-in-law sent me Hip, vacuous, queer theorists through the thoroughly hilarious ‘Shite Gifts for Academics’ Facebook application.  It doesn’t get much better than Truffaut for ‘hip, vacuous, queer theorists’ I must say.  The second reason is because I checked out Truffaut’s Jules and Jim today from the library and I wanted to get back in the French New Wave frame of mind.

Go ahead and point and laugh at me now, but I will never be a hipster because as Jay-Z says,  ‘I don’t wear skinny jeans cuz my knaughts won’t fit.’

I also picked up Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation.  I had seen it when it came out, but like Bill Murray’s character, I was drinking whiskey and I don’t remember it all that clearly.  Plus, ScarJo is in it.  I love how her last name has two s’s in it.

Hubba-hubba.

Hubba-hubba.

That’s some killer zebra print and pink highlights…

I also checked out Persepolis.  This was based off the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi about her experiences growing up during the Islamic revolution in Iran.  I read the book and have heard great things about the flick as well so I’m looking forward to it.  I’ve also noticed that it’s also popular in film studies classes, hopefully I will have a chance to write about it in the near future as we’re approaching mid-term season.  Here’s the trailer so you can get the feel for the movie:

She was quite the rascal, that Satrapi.  I highly recommend the book as well.  You can probably read it in one sitting, although it took me about a month because I was reading like six other things at the time.

Lastly, I checked out Gunshy.  This is an action romp with Liam Neeson, Oliver Platt, and Sandra Bullock.  Yes, I also have a crush on Sandra Bullock, but I really checked it out because Oliver Platt is fucking hilarious.  Check out the Showtime series Huff for some of his best performances along with Hank Azaria.

In fact, here’s a hilarious one about picking out paint for his upcoming baby’s room:

“I want this kid to be solving complex fucking equations in his sleep.”

“I can paint me the shit out of some monkeys!”

That’s about all for hoy –  I tried the meditation thing last night and found that it’s a good way to fall asleep.  I actually didn’t try it for real tho because you’re supposed to do it twice a day, once in the morning and once at night – I didn’t do it yesterday morning, or this morning for that matter, so I didn’t think it appropriate.  It’s not due til Sunday so I have some time to experiment.

It’s almost Friday!  The time’s they are a’ flyin by.  Before I know it, it will be mid March and my three good friends from the Frozen Tundra’s of Minnesota and South Dakota will be making their first trip to the Land of Enchantment for a long weekend of debauchery.

Until then, I’m just going to focus on the writing thing as it’s a peak period leading up to mid-terms and I’ll just keep doing this here thing pretending that people are actually reading…

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~ by garcialoca on February 19, 2009.

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