Saturday, October 26, 2013

Week 10 ; Enlisting the reader; Opinion--comments on the three samples

I'm a counterpuncher.

If I read something stupid, something infuriating, something evil, I can hit right back, turn their own words against them, nail them to the wall so hard they will wish they had never opened their mouths. I can be vituperative and vengeful, venomous and vilifying, sarcastic and snide, derisive and derogatory, hateful and horrible, malevolent and mean.

There's an old expression about someone in an argument picking up any available stick to beat a dog with--I will do that, pick up any argument I think I can get away with, even if I know it's not quite fair.

All of that is a function of my personality. I'm impatient, get disgusted easily, am quick to fly at someone's throat, slow to cool off, and, at my best, I'm not noticeably full of goodwill, nor do I suffer fools gladly.

But I'm not a puncher. I'm not especially strong when it comes to working up an opinion piece from scratch, which is what I have more or less assigned you to do for week 10. Myself, I'd rather have a target than be a target....

Feel free to counterpunch if you can find a target.


Check out my two sample persuasive pieces from my blog. They both are attacks on one of my favorite targets--school administrators. I strive for humor and sarcasm in both. I do my best to make those hs principals look like idiots, mean as that is. I spare them nothing, perfectly willing to toss the kitchen sink at them if I could only lift it. I feel strongly about what I am writing. I want you to agree with me!

'School and Jail' from my syllabus is also a piece that reacts to something, that counterpunches. I am reacting to fellow instructors who apparently have time to worry about navel rings, ripped jeans, daisy dukes, druggy t-shirts, cellphones, hats worn indoors, foul language, food eaten near computers, tardiness, and a million other trivial things. They imagine their personal tastes, preferences, and prejudices should be translated into professional decrees.

I don't: have time to worry about anything but my students' writing, or think that my opinion about anything other than writing is worth wasting students' time with.

Many of my colleagues think I'm irresponsibly abandoning a college instructor's job as role model to the masses; I, in turn, think they are self-important fusspots who need to get over themselves.

That's the background to 'School and Jail.'

You will notice, I hope, that in all the samples I keep it close to home. I don't write about abortion, politics, capital punishment, euthanasia, legalizing drugs, and any of the other 'big' topics we all have opinions about but only know from a distance and, usually, from a vantage point of ignorance.


  1. Was this what week 10 was going to be about or did you just come up with this? Just curious. :)

  2. This was the plan, and this material was pretty much set a week or two ago.

  3. Is it not the position of an instructor to instruct? I have never been a conformist myself and look for the teachers/instructor that can bring variety and difference to the table. If I am required to be concerned with what they call the norm, how boring my life would be, how about yours?

  4. Not sure I understand, lisa--give that idea a second shot?

  5. I was asking if you were to become like all the rest of the teachers or fall into the restricted outline of the normal teacher or the view of what most think one should be, would you find your life boring?

  6. You don't think I'm normal? Whaa-at!!!


    Nah, just teasing, lisa, I know I'm weird, hardly late-breaking news. I student-taught under Maynard Walton at Bangor High in 1972, and he showed me how I could teach in a way I could respect and so not lose my self-respect.

  7. That is why I wanted to so take this class, I knew from the first interaction with you in my first semester that you would be the one teacher I would never forget:)and I am not sucking up, unless.....:) Never I get where I going on nothing but my own. How do you like that use of grammar:)