Friday, April 24, 2009

OH MY WORD! - Internet-Age Writing Syllabus And Course Overview

The folks at McSweeney's are at it again. Check out Robert Lanham's piece entitled Internet-Age Writing Syllabus And Course Overview. Here's an excerpt.

ENG 371WR:
Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era

M-W-F: 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Instructor: Robert Lanham

Course Description
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: 301—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.
If you think this is funny, wait until you get to the lecture and discussion section! Do take a moment to read. It will put a smile on your face.


  1. this is great--especially since I'm trying to think about first-year curricular matters right now!

  2. Oh, gad. I don't know whether to laugh or cry! I think Week 8 is my favorite. No, maybe Week 5. Or Weeks 6 and 7, or....