Required skimming: Internet-Age Writing Syllabus and Course Overview

There are lots of inside jokes and jabs in this hilarious McSweeney’s piece that’s a description of an “upper-level” course called, “Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era.”

Among the prerequisite courses:

ENG: 232WR—Advanced Tweeting: The Elements of Droll
LIT: 223—Early-21st-Century Literature: 140 Characters or Less
ENG: 102—Staring Blankly at Handheld Devices While Others Are Talking
ENG: 301—Advanced Blog and Book Skimming
ENG: 231WR—Facebook Wall Alliteration and Assonance
LIT: 202—The Literary Merits of Lolcats
LIT: 209—Internet-Age Surrealistic Narcissism and Self-Absorption

Among the topics covered in the course:

Students will explore the dangers of curling up by fires with books and newspapers. That paper could catch fire should an ember unexpectedly pop out. And all that curling is not good for people’s backs. Especially since most readers of books, magazines, and newspapers are elderly and are thus already more likely to suffer from back ailments.

Where do I sign up?

(Read Skim the entire piece here.)

Later: I thought of “skimming” later in the morning, when I skimmed headlines that were lined up in my “River of News” (in my case, this means skimming headlines from news sources I’ve subscribed to using Google Reader). When you skim headlines this way, you sometimes run across an interesting news flow. For example, I just noticed four Reuters stories about the economy lined up in a way that, if I were just reading headlines, this is what Reuters would have told me this morning:

The recession is responsible for workplace violence, abortions and vasectomies. That’s bad because the IMF in one story says the world economy is in severe recession but not so bad because in another story, the IMF says the recession (at least in the U.S.) is showing signs of moderating.