Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Atlantic Monthy Writing Contest

The Atlantic Monthly has recently published the winners to it's Rewrite Shakespeare contest. The essays are judged under the same standard used by the SATs. Therefore entrants were given this questionable advice.
To receive a high score a student should write a long essay of three or more paragraphs, with each paragraph containing topic and concluding sentences and at least one sentence that includes the words "for example." Whenever possible the student should use polysyllabic words where shorter, clearer words would suffice. The SAT essay will not be a place to take rhetorical chances. Flair will win no points; the highest-scoring essays will be earnest, long-winded, and predictable.

To highlight the dubious nature of this advice, pieces from Hemingway, Shakespeare, Gertrude Stein and Ted Kacynski are also graded. I cannot drown this article in a plethora of superlatives nor describe my ensuing reaction as a cacophony of cackles but it was a fun read .
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