Wednesday, September 29, 2010

World's Haughtiest Email

"Janette Turner Hospital is the author of Orpheus Lost and other books, and a professor at Columbia. She sent MFA students at her old school, the University of South Carolina, the following note about their inferiority. It is amazing."

Link: http://gawker.com/5651154/columbia-writing-professor-sends-worlds-haughtiest-email-to-former-students

Doesn't sound so bad to me, but what do I know?

16 comments:

  1. I love this. Especially since I'm planning to apply as a transfer to Columbia next year. No plans on doing an MFA in writing, though. :)

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  2. Ahhh, her shit doesn't stink. Got it.

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  3. Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke.

    Oh, pardon me, does that bother you? Well, producing the cream of the cream is hard work you know.

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  4. Archie, now I see where your avatar comes from...oh no I di'n't.

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  5. Oy veh. Way to say to less privileged students, "You suck! But come prostrate yourselves at the feet of your betters!"

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  6. That first paragraph could have easily been written by my committee chair, who also believes that graduate students should be held to sumptuary laws that would prevent us from having cars or personal computers and would force us to live in some kind of strange rabbit warren.

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  7. One of my ex-students, a very handsome, charming fellow, is a professor now at Columbia. I will write him and suggest that he seduce and abandon her. Then, he can send a letter to all her former students with the details.

    Nope. Still not enough to make up for that email.

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  9. More evidence that there are more horses' asses than there are equids.

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  10. BlackDog, Have you noticed your committee chair smoking illicit substances, such as the world's largest rock of crack cocaine, or possibly licking a small orange-yellow toad?

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  11. You know the really distressing thing? One could read this email as simply over-enthusiastic happiness at new gig; the problem is that it is directed to the denizens of the old gig. Like fulsomely praising the awesomeness of the new boyfriend to the only recently ex-boyfriend. It's gotta sting. Still, a clueless person might write this more or less innocently.

    The problem? Is that the writer is a WRITING PROFESSOR. Surely the one discipline that ought to be guaranteed to have a professionally-trained expert ear for tone, intended audience, and subtext.

    So, either the writer does have that ear, and is a deliberately offensive jackass, or she does not, and certainly shouldn't be holding that job ...

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  12. Is she also the author of "How to use cliches and other methods of crappy writing"?
    Good golly, this is a terrible letter. I'm not even worried about the tone of it. I mean that it is just very poorly and boringly written.

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  13. It looks to me like she copied and pasted a huge chunk of an email intended for someone else (family? good friends?) into the one intended for her students. Maybe thinking she needed to add something about how her new position was going, so copied it across without thinking about audience.

    But even that first paragraph, which must have been originally written for her students, is kind of clueless.

    And as Merely Academic says: a writing professor of all people should understand tone and audience.

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  14. She forgot to include a description of that drunken night with a student when they became BFF.

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  15. I considered going for an MFA for awhile. Even applied a few places. Then I was told it was essentially a waste of my time (especially if I landed in a program where nobody believed writing could be TAUGHT, only HONED). If this lady is any measure of MFA professors, I'm glad I didn't go that route.

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  16. I vote for Archie's comment as Comment of the Week. Brilliant!

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