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A study for Comp101

March 22, 2006

A study for Comp101 courses. I first must make a confession. I teach composition. It is not sexy; it is not glamorous. It just is. I am one of the many, faceless, trench dwellers slogging away at commas, colons and citations. We are legion.

We are also some of the main avenues of enrollment for English departments (which dare I say means revenue). As a grad student I was allowed (much to my delight) into my own section my very first day on campus. I was the teacher, with little to no buffer between me and the 20-odd, awkward Freshman before me. So, in my little cramped room I taught them, and myself, the basics of composition. Over the last ten years (a couple of 4 C’s conventions) I have continued to teach comp, more so because it is always available than it is my dream course. In fact, I would much rather teach lit. than comp., but then again, who doesn’t? I mean, try and get a tenured member of faculty to deign to teach writing… I digress…Teaching writing like I have has, much to my surprise, opened my eyes to stories like the Cloony-Huffington debate. Long story short, Huffington posted a compilation of quotes from a few of Cloony’s interview, making it appear as if Cloony had written the material himself for the site (original link taken down, but archived here). Turns out he did not, heated exchanges ensued, and she has now apologized for the whole deal. Apparently it was a misunderstanding.

I don’t see what there is to misunderstand. Proper citation is proper citation. If I quote someone, then I make sure that the reader understands what I am doing. If I compile a series of quotes transcribed from interview, I let my reader know. How hard would it have been to preface the post by telling the reader that the following comes from here and here, linking the transcripts.

Huffington claims that there is a learning curve to blogging. I think she didn’t pay attention in ENG101…


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