"With his blue ox, Emily Dickenson, Walt Whitman traveled across young America . . .
April 25, 2004 8:10 AM   Subscribe

"With his blue ox, Emily Dickenson, Walt Whitman traveled across young America . . . and helped the nation grow into the angry powerhouse it is today." End of the year (2000), pressure from Mr. Farlow to take the class seriously and pick a real poet, Honors Student has 15 cups of coffee and cranks out a masterpiece . . . Not Walt Whitman. Anyone have any information on teacher, student, or their subsequent careers? (via Blogdex)
posted by palancik (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sorry about the jpeg, though I guess it's needed for the teacher's handwritten "see me" comment, which speaks volumes. I'm interested in more than the "crap students produce" motif, though of course that can be endlessly entertaining, even if it is faked. Despite the Vietnamese name, the kid clearly is at home in English and has absorbed the Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, et al. stories. Is this just a "fuck you" to honors English class? What's passing through the kid's mind to turn in a carefully typed piece of deliberate nonsense?
posted by palancik at 8:14 AM on April 25, 2004

Syphilis. Capone got this way before he died, too.
posted by trondant at 8:21 AM on April 25, 2004 [1 favorite]

looks like there are more of them.
posted by atom128 at 8:24 AM on April 25, 2004

Thanks a lot Walt Whitman.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:25 AM on April 25, 2004

Is Walt Whitman the guy who invented the Disnewy World or the Whitman who invented candy?
posted by Postroad at 8:37 AM on April 25, 2004

I bet that gothcakes leave you feeling hungry.
posted by machaus at 8:39 AM on April 25, 2004

Sweet lord, this is a work of surrealist genius. It may sound like rambling nonsense ... well, to be honest it is ... but by golly it's STILL absolute genius. I hope the dude writes a book.
posted by kaemaril at 8:52 AM on April 25, 2004

maybe he had a blog?
posted by andrew cooke at 8:59 AM on April 25, 2004

I wish I had cared this little for some of my classes. Maybe I'd be a genius too.
posted by sciurus at 9:03 AM on April 25, 2004

It's like I always say, 'If you're gonna fail, fail with style'
posted by wobh at 9:06 AM on April 25, 2004

Man, this is great. Don't miss the essays linked by atom128; they're every bit as good.
Just when things couldn't get any worse, they smashed a plane into our trade buildings, so we responded by killing Princess Di. Is this an arms race anyone can win? Whoever wins, the children lose. And who cares? I hate kids. Bunch of little punks ruining my movie. I wanted to see The Passion of Christ in peace, not have a bunch of stupid kids crying. Oh well... at least people weren't paying or anything.
And the teacher says plaintively "What is this?"

Be sure to read "The Stations of the Cross Report" (the "of" link): "It of course was no difficult task for Jesus, because he was not only our savior, but he was also a heroic Time Traveler from the future." And dig the clueless comments on the brilliant Jimmy McPerson essay! "The Japanese never attacked N.Y. OR Chicago." And what's more, the ruler of Japan wasn't President Maximoto!

If I were this guy's teacher, I'd give him an A and excuse him from all classwork so he could write a complete deconstruction of American history and culture. And if I were Matt Haughey, I'd seek him out and force a MeFi membership on him. A little competition might restore quonsar's edge.
posted by languagehat at 9:21 AM on April 25, 2004

this is hysterical--i'd give him an A too.
posted by amberglow at 9:32 AM on April 25, 2004

Is it this guy? See e.g. the Christopher Columbus Biography. Whatever, the guy's a genius.
posted by carter at 9:59 AM on April 25, 2004

i failed typing miserably, but one day we had a substitute teacher who administered the ever present timed test. the task was to create a business letter, using the given text. i disregarded the assignment and instead typed (in my inimitable 6-finger style) a purported letter from an applicant to the betty crocker bakeoff (an actual event back then) citing her ability to bake with one arm tied behind her apron and other silly things. the paper was returned graded A- and included a glowing tribute to my (barely) humorous "creativity" scrawled across the top in red ink, along with encouragement to seek a career as a writer or comedian. so much for substitute teachers.
posted by quonsar at 10:03 AM on April 25, 2004

"Thanks to his dumb ass, now none of us can ride it anymore."

While it's very funny, I'm generally ambivalent towards students who think they're being cool by writing the equivalent of "fuck it." Apathy as a consequence of boredom due to already knowing something is fine, but a lot of students don't know the material, and consequently use this "cooler than thou" exercise to mask their ignorance.

The fact that he used proper capitalization and punctuation isn't even a good tell, since Microsoft Word can correct that sort of thing automatically nowadays. If it were handwritten, or utilized proper grammar more consistently, I might feel differently.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:03 AM on April 25, 2004

Dunno. It all read like a bit of mystical genuis until he got to the inside jokes about livejournal, at which point I instantly began to think of him as just a jerkoff.
posted by argybarg at 10:05 AM on April 25, 2004

Looking at atom128's other links, I particularly liked this excerpt:

"Jesus came from a bleak and dismal future, ruled by dragons and whore on the backs of animals (Revelations)."

The attributed source is what cracks me up.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2004

I think we can all imagine how this one started. This kid wanted to write about some of teh beat poets, or Claude McKay, or someone contemporary and the teacher insisted that only the likes of Walt Whitman, Dickensen, etc. were worthy of examination. Cue smart-ass paper.


posted by jmgorman at 10:23 AM on April 25, 2004

there're also these ones :D (via waxy's links :)
posted by kliuless at 10:55 AM on April 25, 2004

Maybe I'm just a lame oppressor, but I kind of found it stupid and banal.

Also, it doesn't really look authentic. For one thing, the teacher's notes looks like they are purposefully designed to be punchlines. Also, that guy sure gets a lot of one-page double-spaced assignments.
posted by Hildago at 10:58 AM on April 25, 2004

This was how I made it through high school English. I would take whatever topic was assigned, find some off-beat slant on it and write it up. The graders (substitute teachers who did the grunt work for the "real" teachers) seemed to appreciate papers that weren't just one more dull essay on "Sharing," "Respecting Other Cultures," or "Why I Love America." I invariably got A's.

"Stand Up and Holla!" say I.
posted by SPrintF at 11:20 AM on April 25, 2004

"I think that's what they mean by 'nickels a day can feed a child'. I thought, 'how can food be so cheap over there?' It's not, they just eat the nickels."

I wish I'd written that one - truly great.
posted by pyramid termite at 11:40 AM on April 25, 2004

The bad news is, they're fake. The good news is, they're funny. (Though the WWII one is least funny.) I think I may try the "Barabbas began the Dragon Slayer Bloodline" argument next time I'm in any kind of theological discussion...
posted by logovisual at 12:18 PM on April 25, 2004

walt whitman ownz joo
posted by Satapher at 2:03 PM on April 25, 2004

The bad news is, they're fake.

Do you have actual evidence for this, or are you talking out of your ass? Because if it's the latter, it's my duty to tell you that quonsar is MeFi's designated ass-talker. Leave it to the experts.
posted by languagehat at 2:23 PM on April 25, 2004

This reads little like my Mefi entries scrambled through genefilter.


Anyway - I didn't know Whitman owned a blue ox. Was he a Hindoo? And how did his ox get so smart that it could write poetry? And is that why Emily became a recluse after her travels with Whitman.......because he wasn't at all squeamish about bestiality and so she fell in love with him and then he broke her poor heart - for being such a "free spirit" - and then she could never again descend to the humiliation of sexual congress with all of the less-libertine-than-Walt Americans of that time who would only have sex with farm animals in private and who would deny it on pain of death - even when Hoover's G-Men tied rocks tied to their legs and threw them into a lake to see if they would float ?

Emily the ox was strong and smart too, and she wrote political screeds ; one of these made it's way back in time in Ben Franklin's time travelling machine called the "Whatsis" that looked like a woodstove and was powered by lightning by means of a kite (which Franklin would use to visit poor benighted Emily in her ivory tower, specially built to be cow and ox accessible, so he could rip off her political ideas) and was dropped off at Seneca Falls when Ben had to stop to piss. He demanded that Cady Stanton give him a blow job in exchange for the document, so she kicked him in the nuts and took it anyway. He was embarassed and never returned to that decade.

Emily eventually became religious, secretly, and took to a papal bull. And she left her tower for Baltimore - to participate briefly in the civil rights struggle and also to warn Roosevelt about the bomb. She spent the rest of her days working as a fry cook at a White Castle in Glenn Burnie. She would write little poems on the burger wrappers.


Goddamn. Majcher is unecessary! It comes effortlessly......
posted by troutfishing at 2:58 PM on April 25, 2004

They'll have this kid transformed by prescription drugs into a productive member of society in no time, even if they have to get a court order to do it.
posted by fuzz at 3:07 PM on April 25, 2004

Eh, it's not as funny and knowing as it would have to be to be outrageously anything. It's somewhat droll, but this kid's no genius.
posted by digaman at 3:35 PM on April 25, 2004

the graders...seemed to appreciate papers that weren't just one more dull essay...

Come to think of it, we had to list all the steps of cloning on one of my old genetics tests and at the end I drew a little sheep saying 'baa' and got an extra credit point out of it because I made the TA laugh while grading.

Apparently the only way she knew it was a sheep is because it was saying 'baa.'
posted by sciurus at 4:20 PM on April 25, 2004

The kid didn't come talk to me to tell me they're fake, no. But look at the length of time over which they span. 1999-2004 is at least eighth grade to twelfth grade, which is a loooong time for somebody to be getting away with this crap -- once, sure, twice, quite unlikely, three times, no way. The perfect one-page assignment length, the courses he's taking over that period, none of them jive with actual high school as I'm familiar with it.

This doesn't change that it's ass-talk on my part, but it's much more likely that these are fake than not-fake.
posted by logovisual at 7:55 PM on April 25, 2004

Then there's the fact that those aren't scans, unless he prints in a pixelated font, he corrects the levels to have pure white / pure black (except for the curiously circular shadows in nguyen4.jpg), Mr. Farlow has a pen that writes a perfect 1-pixel wide line, and Mr. Gutierrez has some strange form of marking implement that colors with constant width, color, and brightness and can color red *over* black printing, like a magic, super-thin crayon, or the Photoshop paint tool...

Yeah, my ass has its opinions, too.

Still funny. I've written similar in my day. The lesson I learned: Get the teacher for whom you wrote such an essay (explaining why you dislike her class) to write your college recommendation letters; due to the many talks you'll have with her, she'll know you better than any other teachers.
posted by whatnotever at 9:18 PM on April 25, 2004

Thanks for the genefilter reminder, trout. I'd totally forgotten about it! That's some comedy gold right there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:44 AM on April 26, 2004

Hysterical. Please please please read your horoscopes, which this week are also hysterical.
posted by ewkpates at 8:43 AM on April 26, 2004

stavros - you're welcome. I find genefilter like playing a slot machine, but it's free. Pull lever - lemons. Pull lever - lemons. Repeat. Repeat. Then.......Kaaaatchiiiing $ !

Try Opus Dark - here's some random samples :

"It's so big!, Jenifer insinuated, as Marvin the paranoid android
wriggled wildly, and plop went her flatulant card catalog into her
crusty roody-poo candy ass."

"Do they need unmotivated dilettantes with astronomical IQs who just want to look hot and get paid for whipping up half-baked ideas? I'm not asking for myself, you understand - it's not muscle - it's like watching a crucial scene from the Alps. Daughter! she cried in horrified despair, when she discovered that the hooligans had shredded her child, and were gnawing upon their favorite pieces, and crudely smacking their lips. She eyed the burping demons"

"Silence is the ceremonial, eleventh hour release of a carefully trimmed subset of traditional values"

"For those who were first to the abattoir and let me lick the walls. Empire?Filter. Why me? Why him? Why us? Why them? Why not? Why? What for? What if? Right? Wrong? Good? Evil? Mommy? . When reality feels threatened, it shrinks"

"A trewly bark lapchaser would never quicken here. Silence is the sin of using trite expressions--phrases, figures, metaphors, and quotations; such as--not to mince the matter, took occasion to, won golden opinions, the cynosure of all eyes, mental vision, smell of the Fancy Thanatoids I wish I could get me one. Do they come with corporate logos? I'd like a
neo Captain Caveman. I've considered dreads, but I already get arrested with alarming regularity. So, retro-narc it is. With prowling beads for city nights. Snuff porn for carnivore brats. In a thread about it - no strings attached. Been off Prozac for three years (was on it for two)...I visit the pit regularly, of course, but they're business trips- I'm just floating by on Queequeg's coffin. He is a mixture of whispers and buzzes, and taken together, the sum is a hero for having made the choice to serve his country,..."

posted by troutfishing at 8:57 AM on April 26, 2004

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