March 25, 2006
(Columbus, OH) Martin Balinger has taught composition for thirty years. Frequently he assigns Henry David Thoreau's Walden as the basis for an essay, and sometimes the pathetic essays generated by students provoke laughter among he and his colleagues.
A Walden essay turned in by a freshman last week, though, gets Balinger's vote for futility.
"The best part about this particular essay is tht the guy was actually SERIOUS," guffawed Balinger. "I mean, it's one thing when a kid uses the MS-Word thesauus and sticks in a phrase like 'shabbily shawled shoulders,' but this clowns writing is the most inept, pretentious bullshit I have ever read."
Balinger cited a few of his favorite passages.
"Here's a good one: 'Thoreau's thoughtful thinking thoroughly threw me through the threshhold of theory.' I mean, this shit is hilarious!" he howled. "Where the fuck do they come up with this stuff? It's not by mere chance that this student wrote: 'The hushed lake suddenly jumped out at Thoreau like a hungry tiger at a bloody T-bone.'"
Balinger is toying with the idea of contacting the Smithsonian on the writing sample.
"There's bad writing, and then there is Jacob Neimenn," he said of his comp student. "This clown's opus is a composition that will reign as a defining standard of rhetorical incompetence." Ben Domenech