Analytical essays

Due to circumstances beyond my control (laziness), I am now in a position where I must write no less than six analytical essays over the course of these last four weeks of school. Thankfully, for some of the essays due in his class, my English professor helped everyone out with some pointers in an engaging piece of email he sent. “These are all texts,” he wrote, “that have a distinct hypertextuality about them: does this mirror how we read?” You see, sometimes he forgets things, like when he forgot that “Hypertextuality” is not a word. He’s from Canada, though—maybe that’s a word in Canada. All I know is that I looked the word up in 20 different dictionaries and they all just shrugged back at me, adding, “As far as we can tell, that’s just one of those words retarded people say to sound like they’re talking about something important.” I said, “Oh come on, you’re just being hypertextual.”

Here’s a quick recipe for insanity I developed: stay up all night reading a book written by Jean Baudrillard (a name pronounced using about a third of the actual letters) called America and then write an essay on it. Here is an actual sentence from the text: “Akin to the nostalgia for living forms that haunts geometry.” If you’re wondering, no, I didn’t take that sentence out of context. It was written out of context. It doesn’t relate to anything, and it is impossible to make sense out of, let alone write an essay on.

So to combat this problem of having to read books that were written by authors who randomly banged their heads on a keyboard, I have developed several surefire tips for writing analytical papers:

–Randomly locate an obscure word in the dictionary that nobody has every heard of. Next, stick the prefix “quasi” in front of it and the suffix “ism” at the end of it and include it in your thesis. Make sure that the resulting sentence doesn’t make any sense.

–Call lots of things paradoxes. Bonus: call the fact that something is a paradox a paradox in and of itself.

–Use old-English words like “therefore” and “thus” until your essay reads like an old Shakespearean play.

–Instead of using periods, commas or the letter ‘k’, use semicolons. They make you sound smart; semicolons are fresh.

–Say that the book you read had a lot of “hypertextuality.”

–Start every single paragraph with the word “ultimately.”

Using only a few of these tips, here is an example of a sentence you could make: “Ultimately, the quasi-calcitrationisms of Baudrillard’s America lead to a paradoxical hypertextuality.” What does this sentence mean? Hell if I know. The beauty lies in the fact that your professor wouldn’t know either, but would pretend like he did in order to sound smart. No professor will ever say, “Wait a minute, this sentence is just a bunch of meaningless literary buzzwords randomly strung together,” because this is exactly how English professors talk themselves. In this way, they’re very hypertextualized.

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