O Grading, How I Hate Thee

I love to teach. Love, love, love it. I’m constantly learning new things — which as anyone who knows me knows, is something I can’t get enough of. I’ll yak about the things I know and listen to the things I don’t for free, so getting paid to do it all is sweet.

But the grading … oh, how it is the bane of the teacher’s existence! Sure, there are moments of wonder, even of beauty, when a student performs the metaphorical equivalent of the steady approach to the end of the diving board followed by a confident bounce and a springing, spinning, entrancing leap out into the blank before slipping seamlessly into the waters.

But other times — more often, I’m sad to say — I am faced with sentences like this:

[One critic] approaches this from a transvestite Pardoner perspective, being a desperate cry for an “organic relationship with the group from a position dependent on hierarchy, can hold the tenuous together.”

You’d like to think that makes sense, wouldn’t you? I mean, those are all real words. And individual phrases here and there really do sound decent. But strung together they’re like so much Palinspeak. I spent a good five minutes of my life trying to figure it out before deciding that the only thing I could conclude was that we shouldn’t ever disregard the transvestite Pardoner perspective on things.

Oh, and then I decided to go ahead and ask Sarah Palin about it, seeing how she is soooo gosh-darned excited and all to be president and stuff when McCain, ya know, kicks the ol’ bucket-a-roo 😉

Q: What is your feeling about the transvestite pardoner perspective?

PALIN: He’s also known as the bailout, as the solution to this, taking action, and being serious about the size of LAX, that platform of land and it’s a matter, too, of some of these countries, especially Russia.

That’s why he has embraced offshore drilling.

Well, it wrong.

Ah, yes. That makes sense. Especially the part about the drilling.

(I don’t care if you brand yourself blue or red, that Palinspeak site is brilliant! And, just for fun, here’s the site’s “about” page that points out how the n-gram Markov model “seems well suited to Sarah Palin statistical language modeling” given that they use the same methods over at interviewpalin.)


  1. We do not envy you the task at hand if that quote is anywhere near the norm. Unbelieveable!!

    Loved the PalinSpeak site, and discussion thereof.


  2. Oh, it ain’t all that bad!

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