Friday, 02 March 2012

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“I believe the essay you asked me to write is beneath what I have been trained to expect to believe you would have expected from me, and I feel ashamed for you.” (This doesn’t quite rise to the level of the most epic student email ever, and in truth more likely belongs to my series on how to write an academic essay, but as it hovers somewhere between one awful mode and another, I thought I’d leave it up to you to decide. Have—shall we call it fun?) If I begin my essay with a rhetorical question, I contradict the Great French Thinker Montaigne, who believed I should not, because as he wrote, a “mind could not find a firm footing, [therefore he] should not be making essays, but coming to conclusions.” Those conclusions, which were important, are sadly lost to history, but the fact that Montaigne’s name remains reminds those who remember it that his failure was reason enough to memorialize it. My professor said that we should not write in the style of Montaigne, presumably because the stench of his insufficient success might sour my prose, but I believe the best essays are the ones that I write, and if my Professor thinks differently, he can take it up with Montaigne. First, my professor told me to write a paragraph like a hamburger. Can you believe that? That is not a rhetorical question: my college professor told me that the best paragraphs are structured like a hamburger. But I must follow my muse, Montaigne, and insist that I am not interesting in stabilizing my subject, however slight, in a structure of such déclassé fare, or that if I were, mine would tower above that base alternative in direct proportion to the extent of my genius. My paragraphs will, instead, inform my audience about the manner of their composition, paying special attention not to structure or transitions but to the brilliance that I mustered to tame into interest material others might find trite. By “others,” I refer explicitly to my Professor, whose ability to mix a metaphor is nearly as impressive as his encyclopedic knowledge of all things which will never make him money. He claims that an essay is like the relationship he’s clearly never had: it begin with a witty conversation, an introduction, if you will, in which impress upon your reader the timeliness and worthiness of your subject. For those who fail to recognize the universal validity of Foucault, this could be an issue, but Montaigne and I know that so long as we only speak engagingly about ourselves and Foucault, the right kind of people will recognize our brilliance and gravitate to the empty table we have saved for them. My professor then proceeds to argue that the remaining paragraphs in an essay constitute an evolving relationship between the writer and reader not unlike the one initiated in the introduction. “Just as a relationship explodes with initial insight in those first heady weeks,” he says, “so too should a first paragraph make good on the promise of its introduction.” Which is simply wrong — the purpose of an introduction is convince your future reader or paramour that...
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It’s now impossible to tell the diary of a warrior from that of a gamer. Citizens of the civilized galaxy, on this day we mark a transition. For a thousand years, Our Republic stood as the crowning achievement of civilized beings. But there were those who would set us against one another, and we took arms to defend of way of life against the Democrats. In doing so, we never suspected that the greatest threat came from within. The Democrat Party, and some within our own Senate, had conspired to create the shadow of racial animus using one of their own as the enemy’s leader. They had hoped to grind the Our Grand Republic into ruin. But the hatred in their hearts could not be hidden forever. As last, there came a day when our enemies showed their true natures. The Democrat Party hoped to unleash their destructive power against the Our Republic by assassinating the head of shadow government – Breitbart – and acquiring control of the reserve forces But the aims of the would-be tyrants were valiantly opposed by those without elitist, dangerous powers, who never went to school. Our loyal know-nothing troopers contained the insurrection within the Jefferson Memorial and quelled uprisings across the planet. The remaining Democrat conspirators will be hunted down and defeated. Any collaborators will suffer the same fate. These have been trying times, but we have passed the test. The attempt on my life has left me scarred and deformed, but I assure you my resolve has never been stronger. The war is over. The Sepratist Democrats have been defeated, and the Decmocrat rebellion has been foiled. We stand on the threshold of a new beginning. In order to ensure the security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Global Empire, for a safe and secure society, which I assure you will last for 10,000 years. An Empire that will be continue to be ruled by this august body and a sovereign ruler chosen for life. An Empire ruled by the majority, ruled by a New Constitution. By bringing the entire galaxy under one law, one language, and the enlightened guidance of one individual, the corruption that plagued the Republic in its later years will never take root. Regional governors will eliminate the bureaucracy that allowed the Democract movement to grow unchecked. A strong and growing military will ensure the rule of law. Under the Empire’s New Order, our most cherished beliefs will be safeguarded. We will defend our ideals by force of arms. We will give no ground to our enemies and we will stand together against attacks from with or without. Let the enemies of the Empire take heed: Those who challenge Imperial resolve will be crushed. We have taken on a task that will be difficult, but the people of the Empire are ready for the challenge. Because of our efforts, the galaxy has traded war for peace and anarchy for stability. Billions of beings now look forward to a secure future. The Empire will grow as more planets feel the...

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