Tag Archives: Reading

Red Herrings and Sweeping Generalizations

“Funny thing about weekends when you’re unemployed, they don’t mean quite so much. Except you get to see your workin’ friends” – Les Claypool

 

I feel like I see things differently than most people, and I blame this on my English Degree. When I see the new sign at the mall that reads “Wifi Now Available in Every Corner of the Mall,” I picture crowds of people congregating wherever two walls meet, trying to harness the new “corner wifi” signal. I’m incapable of reading a sign or an advertisement or a potato chip bag without dissecting and analyzing it (What does the author mean when he says: “Now with more flavor in every bite!” Did they originally try putting more flavor in only a few bites? How would that work? Also, did I just refer to the person who wrote the text for this potato chip bag as an author?). I’m pretty sure that this is a terminal condition, and that one day I’ll see a billboard like the one below and my belt will snap off its flywheel for good:

il·lit·er·ate  adj. 1. Unable to read and write.

il·lit·er·ate
adj.
1. Unable to read and write.

 

But, I suppose I have to take the good with the bad. Being an English Major also taught me a great deal about thinking critically, citing sources, and avoiding logical fallacies. Basically, I feel smarter, just not in a way that can immediately and obviously be linked to a source of potential employment. A lot of other college graduates have the advantage of getting an education in a field that has a career named after it, which in hindsight seems like a solid strategy. If anyone reading this is contemplating a major right now, forget all of this nonsense about “English” or “Cultural Studies” and go for something less abstract, like “architect” or “zip line tour guide.” The truth is that most of us English Majors have no idea what we want to do after college, we just know we like to read books and that we’re terrible at math. Psychology Majors are the same way; They don’t have a clear idea of what they want to do either, but they also have a nagging suspicion that they may be crazy, so psychology sounds like a good way to maybe tackle two issues at once. Us English Majors, by contrast, didn’t have to do any upper level coursework to find out if we were crazy or not – we knew the answer to that question a long time ago.

Yes: we’re crazy.

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