MLA

October 23, 2008

We’ve been lied to.

 

 I spent 4 years of high-school trying to master MLA formatting.  “Because that’s what they require in College!” they told me, exclamation points flying.  “They’re going to hand back your midterms with a big red 0 if you don’t learn how to properly site your sources!”.  So we practiced, learned, studied, all in the name of MLA.  Convinced that if we didn’t properly site our sources that we would be thrown in academic jail for plagiarism.

            Well here I am now, at university, in upper level courses.  And what do they tell me? “oh, MLA format is too complicated. Just somehow let me know where you got the source”. 

            How much of life is spent preparing for things we are never going to experience?

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8 Responses to “MLA”

  1. janessica Says:

    Ok, you’re lucky. I failed a paper because I didn’t use the proper MLA format. Some teachers are MLA Nazis.

  2. mnagel Says:

    yeah, maybe I just lucked out. But all three of my professors have told me the same thing.

  3. Joel Says:

    Yeah, teachers lie. It’s what they do. It’s part of how they lead you to the Truth.

    Most of my college teachers and profs required MLA. Yeah, that was millennia ago. It certainly makes sense that there would be some consistency on a given campus or system or department. Indeed, thank God; and there should be. So, if your three professors are at the same school, well, there you go. It also makes some sense to me that upper level instructors would be more liberal about it. It’s unfortunate that some are fascists; alas, this is the condition of the world. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    Thing is, it’s good for you to learn to write to a style guide. It’s also good for you to learn that there are dozens of contradictory style guides. What you should really learn is how to quickly learn and write to any style guide. It all seems arbitrary. It sort of is. But it’s still somehow meaningful. I can’t fully explain it because I neither fully understand nor even believe it myself.

    I tell you, the universe is shifty, not to mention the multiverse, not to mention us weaselly humans crawling around on this blue speck of dust.

    But I will say this: documentation and attribution and referencing and standards are good things. I wish they were practiced more out here in the real world.

    Moreover, my suspicion is that MLA (which I admit I kinda like, and it’s certainly less arcane and convoluted than some of the systems I’ve had to use) taught you some things you don’t yet realize you learned.

    Also, any form of expression is arbitrarily constrained by convention. It just is; it’s unavoidable. If you think that you’re ever not constrained, you’ve just been that much more deceived by your oppressors.

    Damned kids. Get off my lawn. 😉

  4. steve Says:

    It’s a good thing I don’t even know what MLA means.

  5. Gabriel Says:

    I think the problem is that Mike’s professors are total slackers. They probably wear sandals with wool socks, have ethno-necklaces, need a hair cut, and say “bro” a lot. Total lallygaggers. Mike should fire them and go learn from Janessa’s professors.

  6. steve Says:

    Gabe- Ha! That was great! They sound like the kind teachers I would like.

  7. Joel Says:

    Realizing that I’m in sensitive defensive mode for my people (given the current season) . . .

    Gabe, Gabe, Gabe: you fascist, reactionary whore (“slut” implies liberalism and, given your attitude, I wouldn’t dream of sullying the word by attaching it to you). You make a false association between appropriate and desirable attire and hairstyling, a superior understanding of relaxation and effective and congenial communication on the one hand and a potentially inappropriate disregard for standards on the other.

    Slackers?! Lally gaggers?! Hardly. Just ’cause they’re not not obsessed with the bourgeois facade doesn’t mean they don’t care. Indeed, it tends to imply that they care about the right things.

    Of course, there are some who wouldn’t consider them “real” Americans. I won’t even get started on that lot. [But feel free to check out my facebook page if you just have to know.]

    ;-D

  8. Gabriel Says:

    @Joel: What’s really sad is that your whole rant was just a shameless plug for your facebook page. 😛


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