Thursday, May 17, 2012

we're all tea-partied when this kid makes it to university

So remember that scene in the Rodney Dangerfield classic Back to School where he gets Kurt Vonnegut to write his paper on Kurt Vonnegut?

Well, some dumbass up here in Canadia tried to do pretty much that that with a Sean Dixon book assigned for a grade 11 class.  First, they contacted a reviewer they found on the internet.  The reviewer tweeted about it. The author saw the tweet...and the rest is a hella awesome blog post, titled "The kid who was supposed to read my book"The Globe and Mail has now picked up the story, ensuring that an appropriate amount of ridicule will ensue.

While I encourage you to read the whole blog entry, I ask you: who among us hasn't wanted to smack the Flakey McFlakersons who keep asking us to do the work for them just like this?

"All you have to do is use your powers—the same powers you use to seek help from half of the internet including the author of the fucking book! All you have to do is use those powers to interpret the exercise you've been given in a way that makes you able to do it!"

Use your powers, indeed. Kudos, Mr. Dixon.


  1. It's not just 11th graders. I think my school's former president was caught doing something like this.

  2. Also, I'm still on the fence about whether or not it's ok to plagiarize my own material.

  3. While in grad school, I had the misfortune of taking a class that was cross-listed for both grad students and undergrads. So, there I was, sitting in class with some of my former students (I taught and TA-ed the prereqs), being told we had virtually the same expectations for assignments, with mine (as the grad student) simply being expected to be more up to my level. You confused? I was. I mean, I knew what I had to do...but I knew what they were capable of (and not).

    Enter Ducky Donald into the story. Ducky was a senior who was proud of the fact that he did as little work as possible, recycled old HS paper for college credit, and often played Tetris on his phone in lieu of note-taking. For his BIG FINAL PAPER, he was recycling another HS paper, which he bragged he'd already used twice before. But he thought he'd "enhance" it with some more material. You know, just to pretend he did some work. His "research"? E-mailing a professor at another school who had written a new book on the topic that the prof mentioned in class. Did he read the book? Nah. Or so he said. Maybe he did actually read it, but he also admitted the author was VERY helpful with his paper. Wanna bet he just re-wrote what the guy sent him?

    Sadly, this is nothing new.

    1. I wonder how Ducky Donald actually did on that paper....

      I thought I was pretty hot stuff in HS, but my very first semester in college I got clobbered on writing, and had to up my game. Thought I was pretty hot stuff by the time I graduated, but my very first semester in grad school, I got hammered on writing.....

      Ah, the good 'ol days.

    2. I had the unfortunate experience of rooming with a dipshit named Sokny (yes that rhymes with sock-me and yes it sounds like he's asking for it). Dude was a communications major and asked me, "You ever write a paper before? I have a paper due in a few hours and..."

      My response: "If you are wanting someone to write a paper for you, I'm not the one to ask."

      His face fell.

  4. Holy crap - that is funny. The author has a good sense of humor.

    ahistoricality - me too. I took APs in everything, even social studies and English, and got mostly 5s and a couple of 4s. So when I got to snooty-rich-girl-turned-co-ed-SLAC (where the student body was comparable to the 20 year old versions of this blog's participants, but slightly hippier) and they told me I needed [what we called] remedial reading [but they sugar coated and listed as 'college auxilary course for speed reading'], I almost died. You know the part in the Grinch where they show his heart grow? I did that in reverse.

  5. Every now and then I get an e-mail from a desperate high schooler begging me to interpet a novel for them. Delete, delete, delete.

    ahistoricality, I had the same experience, and I went to really good schools at both the college-prep and college level, with lots of la-di-da honors in each. At each new level my writing got smacked -- which is as it should be.

  6. This specific situation has never happened to me (and obviously as a lowly grad I don't get requests to interpret this or that), though I have had a few students who pass off their HS papers.

    What's funny, though, is when you teach more obscure material for which there are no online summaries or book reviews. In the past few weeks, we've started on "contemporary" hamster studies in my class, and my students have been shitting rings around themselves because of the lack of online "assistance." No internets! It's like watching a bunch of heroin addicts come clean without methadone.


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