This week, McSweeney's Internet Tendency is featuring Robert Lanham's Internet-Age Writing Syllabus and Course Overview. Both clever and a bit more true than most folks would like to admit, this internet spoof will have most teachers laughing through their tears. See below or read the full story here.
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Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era
M-W-F: 11:00 a.m.—12:15 p.m.
Instructor: Robert Lanham
As print takes its place alongside smoke signals, cuneiform, and hollering, there has emerged a new literary age, one in which writers no longer need to feel encumbered by the paper cuts, reading, and excessive use of words traditionally associated with the writing trade. Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era focuses on the creation of short-form prose that is not intended to be reproduced on pulp fibers.
Instant messaging. Twittering. Facebook updates. These 21st-century literary genres are defining a new "Lost Generation" of minimalists who would much rather watch Lost on their iPhones than toil over long-winded articles and short stories. Students will acquire the tools needed to make their tweets glimmer with a complete lack of forethought, their Facebook updates ring with self-importance, and their blog entries shimmer with literary pithiness. All without the restraints of writing in complete sentences. w00t! w00t! Throughout the course, a further paring down of the Hemingway/Stein school of minimalism will be emphasized, limiting the superfluous use of nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, gerunds, and other literary pitfalls.
Students must have completed at least two of the following:
ENG: 232WR—Advanced Tweeting: The Elements of Droll
LIT: 223—Early-21st-Century Literature: 140 Characters or Less
ENG: 102—Staring Blankly at Handheld Devices While Others Are Talking
ENG: 30—Advanced Blog and Book Skimming
ENG: 231WR—Facebook Wall Alliteration and Assonance
LIT: 202—The Literary Merits of Lolcats
LIT: 209—Internet-Age Surrealistic Narcissism and Self-Absorption
Required Reading Materials
Literary works, including the online table of contents of the Huffington Post's Complete Guide to Blogging, will serve as models to be skimmed for thorough analysis. Also, Perez Hilton's Twitter feed.