I don’t know if there are any parents out there, but if there are, just let me start by saying I’m so, so sorry.

I have corrupted your children’s minds with the disgusting filth known as “literature.”

As I mentioned yesterday, we’ve spent the past day or two collecting “Holdenisms,” as we try to nail down what it is that makes Holden sound like Holden. We’re trying to define what it means to have “voice” in writing.

Well, today we took our lists of Holdenisms and set out to describe our weekends in the voice of Holden Caulfield. This, predictably, led to a lot a bizarre accounts of trips to the Fashion Place mall and teenage girls’ sleepovers, all told through the eyes of a depressed, snarky 16-year old in the late 40’s. It was a lot like that scene from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where Socrates and Billy the Kid and Napoleon go out for ice cream.

This was some pretty bad stuff, but that wasn’t the corrupting part. If you’ve ever read Catcher, you know that the mother of all Holdenisms is the word “goddam”(sic). Last semester, in Matt Thomas fashion, I figured I’d just give the writing assignment and see what happened. Well, what happened was a “goddam” mess. Many students profaned right past the spirit of Holden and instead channeled the voice of an old drunk pirate with Turrett’s syndrome. I’ll just let you imagine the old guy talking about his trip to the mall, and all the divinely cursed things he saw there.

So this semester I wrote up on the board that there was a limit of 5 “goddams” per writing, and exhorted the class to use them wisely and to the maximum effect. Judge for yourselves the “effect” in the following passages:

“This weekend I slept and played Insane Aquarium on Yahoo!, but the goddam aliens killed all my goddam fish.”

“I slept through the last 5 minutes of church. Then I went home and watched some more goddam movies.”

Ugh. I’ve got more, but I think you get the idea. Anyway, everyone seemed to really get into the spirit of the activity and it was great. We’ve got a whole bunch of li’l Holdens running around the school.

After writing and sharing, we read Catcher up to page 61, leaving 16 year-old Holden alone and depressed in the Edmont Hotel, which, he says, is full of morons, perverts, and “screwballs.” If this isn’t uplifting literature, I don’t know what is.

Yeah. Maybe I don’t know…


Quote of the day: “This book is pointless and profane, but it teaches us a lot about life.” Matt Thomas

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2 responses to “1/31/2007

  1. hmmm this is fer all yur blogs i havent commented i didnt want to write a sperate one fer each one…
    but i must comment on the spiky haired kid… its true well sometimes adults take one looks at kids who look unusual and they automatically judge us . not to be rude but it seems like most of the time unless you skirt/dress is past yur toes and your heels are half and inch and nothing above your elbows or below your chin show with your shirts your orrupted. turthfully we have iumagination. we dont color our hair outrageous colors because we are rebels pr bad kids we rae creative and we dont all want to be act and look the same we do what we do to be heard becuase you label us automatically. im not trying to give excuses fer doing drugs or drinking sluffing what have you just dont label us know us for who we are not what we look like. i mean ask a copupld teenagers where they learned the syaing dont judge a book by its cover most of them will say my mother father gma gpa people we look up to and yet they judge us fer looking the way we do and being individuals. i have died my hair 7 different colors and have never sluffed drank or gotten high. first thing i heard when i died my hair pink… an around 40 year old woman walked up to me and asked why i died my hair like that i said because i like it why? and she was like but it draws attention to you and i thought well why hide… why blend in… i have something to share the worl and show other people to…. anyways im done being oprah.

    i have to say i wasnt to excited about reading catcher in the rye but fer now from what we have read i love them book. and i thik our class is rad!!!

  2. Danie–

    Thanks for this comment. It’s funny how most kids want to express themselves and show how “crazy”(and cool) they are by their appearance, but then kids are also super sensitive about being judged for their appearance. And you’re right, adults are pretty bad about that stuff. MY blog post was mostly about how I think KIDS are bad at that kind of judging, too. Like how I see all these weird kids at our school, who are also really interesting and kind of cool in their own way, but most kids at school see superficial things about them–like a crappy haricut or lousy personal habits–and judge them for it. Just like adults judge a punk kid for their hair color. I think punky judgemental kids are just as bad as “normal” looking judgemental grandparents.

    So I’m with you–down with the crappy judgemental people!


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