May 4, 2004

Type Slowly

I am in no mood or state to write a real column, nor am I in any mood for anything constructive. Having just turned in my senior thesis, I'm dashing this off so that I can start studying for my programming midterm. Keep that in mind. Thus I present you with three unsympathetic takes on local aesthetic issues:

SG Candidates: Please learn to write

I ask you this, fellow students: Do you trust your money and time to SG candidates who, for all their careful ideas and years of experience in student government, cannot be brought to re-read their statements and platforms for basic errors, terrible writing, and blatant grammatical offenses? It's worth a thought. Some of the more painful examples:

Our slate feels that this is important because minority issues of isolation parallel those of the general population and so in order for the University to foster a happy, healthy campus that is richly cultivated in experience and learning about diverse social groups, every group, minority or otherwise, need [sic] to feel comfortable enough to interact with each other and with administrators.—Slate of the Union

Hello! Thank you for reading our candidates' statement.—Slate of the Union

It is further imperative that we initiate a program…. Bartlett should not be throwing out mass quantities of perfectly edible food….—This Charming Slate

Currently, many students feel they cannot in touch [sic] with administrators….—Slate of the Union

Finally, we are concerned with community relations.—This Charming Slate

Another year, another round of fake stump-speech language riddled with elementary mistakes. This is terrible writing. But I'd be willing to bet that most of these candidates are probably half-decent writers who would never dare to give a teacher something as garbled as the first example. There's something about SG elections that brings out the worst in otherwise respectable stylists, probably having something to do with the desire to sound official. "Further" and "imperative" do not belong together outside of a PowerPoint slide; in the future, slates are advised to stop writing officially and start writing well. We see what you're trying to do, and it's not working. The Maroon's most recent editorial suggested that this year's slates are especially uninspiring. I suggest that this has as much to do with form as function.

It may be true that those who can't, write. But virtually everyone I know will copy edit 1,500 words in exchange for a six-pack. I'll do it for less. The current slates—save for the members of Raise the BAR (Bar? I don't get it), who appear to be able to write in sentence form—seem to be more enamored with imitating personals ads and making cheesy Flash movies (lightning?) than actually editing their damn copy. I'll grant you that the current avatars of political discourse, GWB and John Kerry, are not known for their oratory skills. But we're all kids of the Clinton era, right? Does anyone care about rhetoric anymore?

Also: I'm working on my B.A. Please stop asking me if I've voted.

The Jennifer Hudson controversy

Anyone who attributed this Chicagoan's sudden absence from American Idol to racism, please turn in your right to make aesthetic judgments forever. Just because she has range and tone and power does not make her a good singer. Listening to her grab songs by the throat and throttle them was no more fun than watching John Stevens not realize that he's Larry the Lounge Singer. Sorry: She's got talent, but not taste. At least it's better than all but one of the alternatives. But if you're going to make me acknowledge that she's good, I'm going to make you promise to cover your apartment in Peter Max posters and read Mark Leyner for an hour every night before you go to sleep.

Show your support for the Red Line Shuttle

This service, termed "the ass-cleaning service" in an especially brilliant letter to the editor, commences its trial run this week. Anyone with any sense will avoid this bus like the plague. After figuring out I could abuse University transportation at will, it took me months to adjust to actually walking around the city of Chicago and standing on frigid street corners like everyone else who doesn't have a magic U of C ID. Having to wait for the 55 at 1:30 p.m. in December was an important part of this process. Really: If you start using this service, you're going to keep using it, and you'll wake up to find you're 28 years old and the kind of person who spends $1,000 a year on cabs. You don't want to be that person.

I'm just as culpable

I'm working on this at a coffee shop. On a laptop. Running wireless. I'm such a hoser.