Monday, January 24, 2011

A Brief Note on Acceptable Subjects

One of the comments I get from students each term is that they cannot think of anything to write that would be interesting or important.  For most of them, the idea of "interesting" or "important" necessarily means big and stuffy.  In response, I usually bring up Harry G. Frankfurt's On Bullshit, which is a lovely little pamphlet and a quick, fairly easy read.  In College English 73.3, James Fredal has an article titled "Rhetoric and Bullshit."

Students, keep this in mind: Even in one of the major journals in composition studies, people publish papers on bullshit.  It's good enough for them; it merits critical attention.  You need not go to great, grand issues to write well or have interesting things to say.  I promise.

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