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May 2, 2006

English Prof Turns Exam Grading into Drinking Game

Left: Brown bourbon, purple prose

By Billy Pilgrim, Codependent Collegian Rogue Editor

(Los Angeles, CA)—UCLA adjunct professor Tim Boswell has decided to turn this last week of the spring semester into one prolonged drinking game in order to tolerate the abysmal writing on his freshman composition exams.

Boswell’s decision comes after three consecutive days of headaches, sexual frustration, and eating Chinese take-out.

“Every time I read a misspelled word, I chug a beer,” Boswell vented. “For every kid who can’t write a thesis statement, I take a shot of Jack [Daniels]. I figure I’ll either go blind or die before this hell is over.”

Boswell’s poor student performance is punctuated by the difficulties in his personal life, which have swelled in recent months.

“I haven’t had sex since November, and the transmission on my ’89 Corolla is almost shot,” slurred a far-from-sober Boswell. “I should have taken that library job and given up on trying to teach these fucktards about topic sentences.”

The unusual coping technique, said Boswell, also led to a new method of grading.

"I take the paper and toss it toward my beer stein," he said. "'A' papers land and stay balanced on the glass, 'B' papers have to touch the stein in some way, and everyone else is a 'C.' Works like a fucking charm, at least until these bastards start calling and bitching about their grades. By then I hope to be in Martha's Vineyard." Stephen Colbert

I can sympathize, though I'm also glad I wasn't graded this way (or at least I don't think so).

Why is "Stephen Colbert" written in white text after this article?....
I agree with this poor professor. Many people these days are illiterate idiots. The sad part is many are COLLEGE students. When I was in college, I asked some fellow students what their goal in life was. One said that he was going to be a DOCTOR, moments after he broke the microscope slide with the lens of the microscope. You learn how to use a microscope in Junior High for god's sake. Grading in Organic Chemistry course was a joke. It was so watered down that people who made a score of 30 on the exams passed. Kind of pissed off those of us who actually studied and made grades in the 90's. Rant, rave....yes america, we are turning out numerous idiots from our schools!!!

It's sarcasm. It's not very funny, but it's not real.

By the way, please stop this crap. People assume it's real because this isn't vaguely amusing - satire and humor are often entwined, so when people can't find the dead humor, they don't make the connection to satire. That's why so many comments here don't understand this is an Onion ripoff.
Remarkably close to how my father recommends grading: toss the stack off the top of the stairs. The further the paper falls, the lower the grade (the lighter they are, after all).
"All the news that we can make up, plus we deliver satire and parody about..."

That's what it says at the top of the page. So if people can't tell this is a joke, then they are idiots, the kind being written about in this article. Honestly, we all need a laugh sometimes.
OMG it says Stephen Colbert in white lets sue him, or better yet call him out as a commie pinko trying to subliminally influence us!
Subcomandante Bob sometimes places hidden phrases in white in order to toy with the search engines to get a little more traffic.
"Onion ripoff?' I think not. The Onion hardly has a copyright on satire and humor.

It's a free country, assclown. We are free to write whatever we want, and you are free to stay the fuck away.

BTW - what have you written, Mr. Anonymous, besides sophomoric wannabe criticism?
Thanks to the other intelligent commenters for the kind words and thoughtful criticism.
Some chicken said:
"By the way, please stop this crap. "

It's not our responsibility to prevent stupid people from believing what they read. If you want news you can believe, read the bible.

Oh no! More jokes?!!
How will I ever tell reality from fiction, when my diction is perplexin, and it's vexing those detecting some sempblance of truth!
I am guessing Colbert's name is there to help bump search engine rankings. People will be doing a lot of searching for his name post-White House Correspondent's Dinner.
Here I have to weigh in. I'm in the middle of a week long grading marathon, and while this article is intended for satire, it's far from being "un-truth." I'm so tired of seeing "defiantly" instead of "definitely." Yesterday, I honestly had the sentence, "Personally I've never read Alice Cooper's The Color Purple." While I don't have a drinking game, I do depend on glass after glass of wine. But don't take it all out on the students. The system sucks, especially when those of us who teach have to constantly look at our budgets -- food, clothing, or shelter -- and pick the best two out of three.

signed--Searre, the Migrant English Worker.
somehow I think my law school exams are graded under said method. If not, it surely isnt graded on the merits.
I am sure Alice Cooper's 'The Color Purple' would be a most entertaining read.

On another note, wtf are 'topic sentences?' A quick Google seems to suggest that they are exactly what the name implies. This begs the question: people have to be taught this stuff? In university?

Back in my day, in the UK, we were expected to be able to extrapolate the conventions of grammar and spelling from the books we read.

Finally, having known a few University Profs, I can appreciate the slim satire in this article - though I fear it may be too true to be funny.
Whomever wrote this should have done their research if they wanted it to seem plausible. UCLA is on a quarter system and won't have term stuff due until early June.
LOL! Looks like somebody struck a nerve with the "Onion Ripoff" comment.
The article is damn funny and it's also penned by Billy Pilgrim; I highly doubt the protagonist of Vonnegut's "Slaughter House Five" has been doing any journalism recently
Yes, a bit of a nerve, Anonymous.

It's one thing to critique the merits of Billy Pilgrim's piece as a work of satire or humor, but quite another to accuse him of ripping off the Onion.

This was an original piece of satire, and it owes no debt of gratitude to anyone, except perhaps Shakespeare.

If anything, the Onion has ripped of the Codependent Collegian:


Besides, we do this 365 days a year for little more than grins. If we make a buck some day, halle-freaking-lujah, but it's about creating a lasting body of work.

Some pieces are hilarious, some are yawners, and some just plain suck.

But we keep plugging away.

BTW - check out this piece (warning - it is a bit over the top and has raw language).

We thought this one had "FARK" karma written all over it, but the FARK gods instead chose this lower-key, subtle piece of collegiate humor.

BTW - thanks for the earlier comment about UCLA. The point is well taken.
It's not that it's a wannabe Onion article, it's that it isn't funny, and that your writing style isn't the greatest either. If you're having fun, good for you, I just wouldn't hold your breath about making any money out of it...

Maybe if you had a paypal link so people could donate for you to go to comedy school...
I thought it was hilarious, Bob. Tell Billy we think he rocks.
When I said that aboutthe nerve, I wasn't jabbing. I thoguht that the piece was very funny.. and I think you guys do an awesome job. It was more of just an observation.
No problem, anonymous. It just gets frustrating when people come on the site and make moronic comments when, in fact, they are the very example of mediocrity of which they pontificate.
As a TA who has graded totally retched papers/labs, this made me chuckle. I know I've felt like drinking after going through a stack of labs... I think that the article is funnier if you've suffered the pain as well..
How would you even know to look for a name in white at the end of this? I just don't get it. I looked only after somone mentioned it and then thought, "what would make you look for that?" This is also very close to the truth when it comes to some of the college students in the world today. Some people can't even write so much as a sentence without screwing up their grammar
Someone. That was a great time not to check my spelling when I'm talking about grammar
"On another note, wtf are 'topic sentences?' A quick Google seems to suggest that they are exactly what the name implies. This begs the question: people have to be taught this stuff? In university?"

a topic sentence *should* be the first sentence of a paragraph and it should introduce the theme of the paragraph. it's basically, as its name implies, a mini-introduction.

and yes, people do have to be taught this stuf. in university. believe me. i teach freshman composition and i sometimes have to return to "what makes a sentence a sentence."

sometimes reading these papers is like reading Finnegans' Wake... without the brilliance... or technical mastery.
Only dung beetles stop the crap. I guess I'm saying that this crap should continue to roll on... ?
If I was a teacher, I'd totally grade like this, too.
Stephen Colbert
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Stephen Colbert
I'm grading right now - but instead of getting drunk, I have to stuff myself with caffeine - it's soooo boring, you wouldn't believe it.
" topic sentence *should* be the first sentence of a paragraph and it should introduce the theme of the paragraph."
My teacher says that it should be the last sentance of the introductory paragraph. I say he's wrong, but I can't do anything else without getting a bad grade (not that I get a good grade when I try to do it)
The article was funny and obviously satirical. Grading would be unbearably boring if not for the entertaining, albeit frightening, answers our future leaders give us. Last week I "learned" from one student that Gandhi went to Germany to round up people for a collective suicide and a friend's student wrote that during WWII President Roosevelt sent all Chinese-Americans to relaxation camp!
Looks like this piece really struck a nerve. It's darn funny.
Like all good satire, it contains a germ of truth.
“somehow I think my law school exams are graded under said method. If not, it surely isnt graded on the merits.”

Since when has law had anything to do with merit?
topic sentence *should* be the first sentence of a paragraph and it should introduce the theme of the paragraph."
My teacher says that it should be the last sentance of the introductory paragraph.

You're thinking of a thesis statement. Thesis statements come at the end of the intro. EVERY paragraph should have TS at the beginning.

Signed - yet another anonymous English teacher sick of reading shitty finals.
A recent paper I graded pleaded that adoption should be illegal, especially if the mother is more than 3 months pregnant. She meant "abortion," BTW.

Or there's they guy who claimed Faulkner's "Light in August" was a "tour de france" of Southern lit.

Or the girl who described the ideal mate as "clean and smooth down to his large nuts."

I've got plenty mroe.
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