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Semi-OT - a rant about bad academic writing disguised as a song parody
Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013 2:38 PM

Semi-OT, but I have to rant about this, and this seemed like an appreciative venue.

 

In my other life, I'm an adjunct instructor, and I have to assign a paper every semester.  Every semester, the writing quality gets worse and worse, even though I put more and more effort into providing "how to not suck at writing" resources that these people should have learned long before they ever got into college.  That was the inspiration for how I came to write this:

 

THE LEGEND OF THE GHOST WRITERS

(To the tune of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" by Stan Jones, although for singing along with, I recommend the Spiderbait cover.)

A student was a'writing up
His homework one fine day
He did a really half-assed job
So he could go and play
When all at once, a red-pen wielding
Phantom horde he saw
They snatched his essay from his hands
And sniffed out every flaw

Their hands were stained with crimson ink
Their faces dark with rage
They gnashed their teeth and hollered
As they read through every page
A bolt of fear went through him
As he saw his free time die
He saw the writers working hard
And he heard their angry cry

Yippee oy vey
Yippee oh nooooo
Ghost writers make you cry
Yippee oy vey
Yippee oh nooooo
Ghost writers maaaake you cryyyyyyyyy

They marked up every spelling goof
And every comma splice
They ravaged every paragraph
He had not made concise
His misplaced modifiers
And his tense shifts made them howl
And his sentence structure
It was nothing less than foul.

Their work was finally ended
And he heard one call his name
"If you want to save your grades from Hell
And scholarly declaim
Then, dumbass, change your ways today
And learn to friggin' write.
Or share our curse and ride with us
Fixing papers every night."

Yippee oy vey
Yippee oh nooooo
Ghost writers make you cry
Yippee oy vey
Yippee oh nooooo
Ghost writers maaaake you cryyyyyyyyy

::Awesome guitar/harmonica solo::

Yippee oy vey
Yippee oh nooooo
Ghost writers make you cry
Yippee oy vey
Yippee oh nooooo
Ghost writers maaaake you cryyyyyyyyy

--edited by Ian Nathaniel Cohen on 7/21/2013, 2:42 PM--


MariAdkins
Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 5:09 PM
i'm in love!
Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 2:23 PM

Actually, now that I think about it, while this was intended as a parody of the Stan Jones song, a parody of the Ghost Rider comic book with this premise would be made of awesome.  Think about it - "Ghost Writer, Spirit of Grammar Vengeance," a supernatural vigilante who punishes bad writers - from bad novelists and screenwriters to students who don't know the first thing about grammar.  As a take-off on Ghost Rider's Penance Stare that makes villains feel the pain of their victims, Ghost Writer uses his Red Pen-ance Stare to make his enemies feel the pain of every sentence they've mangled, everyone who's had to read their godawful work. 

 

Hmmmm...anyone know a good artist?  (Not to mention a lawyer?)

--edited by Ian Nathaniel Cohen on 10/28/2013, 2:23 PM--


 

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