Tuesday, February 13, 2007

One down

Round one (of four) of marking is done. I like grading papers. Really. Particularly because it reminds me of the things language can do. Once you hit a certain point academically your writing style solidifies – you can learn new minor rhetorical flourishes (which you then promptly overuse) but your voice is pretty much established. So it’s refreshing to read undergraduate essays for glimpses of other ways words can be put together – creative, enthusiastic, proud sentences. My two faves from this round:
1. (From a paper on the development of Canadian film): “Then Grierson emerged.” I like this because it makes me think of Swamp Thing: John Grierson rising impressively out of the muck in a dated suit, flabby arms flailing, spouting gibberish about how narrative film degenerates the mind.
2. (On the detective’s trademark wit): “He wields his snark and disdain like a flaming sword.” Awesome: a) the use of ‘snark’ in an academic paper; b) “flaming sword.” That’s a weapon.
And my vote for sexiest sentence: “What Canada's taste for American film style suggests, then, is that we imagine ourselves as a bland shadow of a borrowed cinema.”
With this done, reading week seems so tantalizing close – sleeping in, wine on a weeknight, a book without a bibliography. Soon.


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