Thursday, January 22, 2004

Manhattan Transfer Goes to College: Newsweek's decided to ruin a bunch of college kids' lives by making them into junior league political pundits. One day, as they pick the locks on their leather wrist restraints while Ann Coulter has slipped into the bathroom for another hit of Oxycotin, they'll look back and remember that this all started because they fit some Real World post-adolescent cliche like "Alex P. Keaton Republican."

I spent my college years doing much more drugs productive things, like composing useful guides for my fellow students.
How to Succeed in College.

1. Always assume you are the only one who really understands the class materials. Treat the opinions of others dismissively. Act annoyed when asked to participate in group projects. Seize control of any such project but do not contribute much beyond a domineering attitude. Why should you take up the slack for everyone else?

2. Come to classes late and leave early. Your professors will understand you are very busy, although they may miss your insightful contributions. Try not to wander far, however. This works best if you are just outside the classroom before class begins and there again when it lets out.

3. Try to talk as often as possible in class. During discussions try to speak more than anyone else. Don't be afraid to interrupt lectures with your opinions. You should especially break-in whenever your professor starts to really get going. Ask simple questions to make sure everyone else in the class is following the lecture. It's only fair.

4. Classrooms are good places to eat. Make sure the meal you bring requires a fork and a knife, and a spoon as well. Chopsticks are even better. The professor won't mind when you place your pen and books on the floor to make room for lunch. Foods with strong aromas are appropriate because they remind other students that they're hungry and encourage them to eat four squares. Pickled fish works well. If you forget to bring a drink you should wait until the middle of the class before you get up. This way you won't miss anything important. After class leave all your leftovers and other paraphernalia on the desk. What is the custodial staff for anyway?

5. Your emotions are all that matters. Make a point of expressing them at every opportunity. When a book makes you happy it's important to let everyone else know. "Interesting" is a very informative word to use when discussing literature. "Offensive" is even better. No book, no student's opinion, no professor's lecture should ever offend you. When offended you should let everyone know, hopefully for two or three classes in a row. If anyone else speak during your narrative of offendedness they are trying to "silence" you. They need to be taught to respect difference. "Sensitivity" toward your opinions, your experience and your needs is the duty of everyone else.

6. When writing papers about politics, philosophy, literature, biology, geology or the conditions of juvenile delinquents in South America there are only two possible theses: 1) the test resist hegemonic systems of dominance and 2) the text is complicit in hegemonic systems of dominance.

7. Everyone is curious about your personal life. Sit near a friend and discuss in detail your latest adventures with drinking, girls, boys, drugs and police. Weekends demand extra attention. Talk about your plans on Thursday and Friday, and the disastrous results Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is your choice. (Hint: a good bet here it to talk about the adventures and plans of your friends.) If you are sitting near a stranger you should talk to them. They are really curious about your life. Don't let the lecture interrupt you. What you are saying is much more interesting. You already know this stuff anyway. Or else its too trivial to bother with. No one else will mind your talking—they'd rather listen to you anyway. If anyone turns to look at you be sure to shoot them a nasty look so they know they're getting too nosey.

8. Insist that every analogy is exactly appropriate in every detail. If someone compares a pack mule to a truck remind them that pack mules aren't unionized like the Teamsters. They've obviously forgotten this.

9. In classroom discussions, latch onto the first thing you can that allows you to move as far as possible from the subject matter. Books were written a long time ago, and your opinions are made up right now. Obviously opinions are more important. When discussing literature, never talk about the characters, the plot or the technique. The more emotional a discussion gets the better.

10. Lads like lasses with speech impediments. A Long Island accent is ideal. Try to fake one. Otherwise talk in a high pitch squeal that constantly degrades into a whine. Suck on your teeth a lot. Wear lipstick that smears on your teach, and always leave lipstick on your straw, glass or cigarette. If you can't manage a squeal, try ruining your voice by smoking.

11. Lasses like lads with drinking habits. Habits like passing out, vomiting, and getting into fights are good. Long black outs are better. Complain of hangovers often and carry a flask. Do kegstands, funnels and shot-gun beer. At parties get into a stumbling, slurring, blurry eyed state as soon as possible. Stay that way all night. Or all semester if you can manage it.

12. Lads and lasses of more peculiar persuasions should reverse these recommendations. Lads looking for lads should develop speech impediments, while lasses who love lasses should drink nearly all the time.

13. The library is a good place to socialize.

14. Never bring a pen to class. Other people will have extras. Don't return the pen when class is over. Why would anyone need more than one pen anyway?

15. Never lend anybody a pen in class. They'll probably just steal it.