While you can count on every HuffPost headline starting with WATCH or PHOTOS and every NY Post screamer being a pun your grandfather would have found hilarious, the Times has its own headline ruts that seem to have gotten deeper over the years. Here are the four most common kinds…
1) The Equivocators: These headlines present a hypothesis, but then get squirrely about going out on a limb and cover their bases. The two most common manifestations are “Something can be good, but also bad” and “Something is new, but also old.” Whatever form they take, these titles always remind me of the “Simpsons” Halloween episode in which an evil alien presidential candidate proclaims “Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.”
- “Wise for Some Restaurants, Coupons Are a Drain at Others”
- “Diving Into the Past, but Definitely Still in the Present”
- “Job Hunting Is, and Isn’t, What It Used to Be”
2) The Maureen Dowd: These are easy to write. Simply mush together a bunch of slangy, pop-culture references into a semi-sensical pseudo-sentence that vaguely reminds you of a commercial jingle or movie title from the latter half of the 20th century.
- “Have You Driven a Smartphone Lately?”
- “Lord of the Internet Rings”
- “Governor Brown Redux: The Iceman Melteth”
- “Driving Miss Saudi”
3) The Kind that Smugly Give You No Information Whatsoever: These are the oddest of the bunch: The ones that make searching for and finding the story virtually impossible. I know the Times would never deign to have an SEO strategy, but some people read things on the Internet—say via Twitter or RSS—neither of which offer enough context to explain these cryptic titles (which often seem like they were written by a drunk Garison Keillor). Proper nouns, while not allowed in Scrabble, are admissible in headlines.
- “In a Life Filled With Firsts, One More”
- “At Their Feet, Crafted by Hand”
- “First an Outcast, Then an Inspiration”
4) The “Here’s a Question We’re Not Going to Answer”: These usually show up in the health section—an area where people go to look for answers but find few. While less sinister than the question marks used in chyrons to imply slanderous falsehoods, these are simply a tool to let the author write about a subject with no real answer. They are annoying, especially because you want the first word of the article to be “yes” or “no” but it’s always “maybe” or “I don’t know.”
- “Does Loneliness Reduce the Benefits of Exercise?”
- “Did Bankers Pay Add to this Mess?”
- “What’s the Single Best Exercise?”
Some revolutionary words
- revolution = revolución
- liberty = libertad
- change = cambio
- nation = nación
- action = acción
- resistance = resistencia
- solidarity = solidaridad
- hope = esperanza
- education = educación
- health = salud
- love = amor
- brotherhood/sisterhood = hermandad
- humanity = humanidad
EVERYBODY REBLOG THIS
Last week, an Arizona House Committee approved a bill requiring even the poorest students to pay a minimum of $2,000 per year to attend public university in the Grand Canyon State.
Arizona Republicans took up the measure, HB 2675, after hearing that nearly half of students at Arizona State University did not pay tuition in the 2009-10 school year, whether due to financial aid need or scholarships. In reality, “[t]he most current figure is closer to 25 percent, said Christine Thompson, the regents’ vice president of government relations.”
Though approximately 100 Arizona college students showed up at the committee hearing to voice their concern that HB 2675 would make it harder to graduate, Rep. Michelle Ugenti (R) had pointed words for them: “welcome to life.” The Arizona Republic has more:
About 100 students signed in to oppose the bill, and a handful spoke out against it. James Allen, UA student-body president, told legislators that by passing the bill, legislators would make it harder to achieve a higher-education degree.
Rep. Michelle Ugenti, R-Scottsdale, replied, “Welcome to life.”
A few minutes later, Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, admonished his colleagues for their comments.
“I feel these students are being greeted with open hostility,” said Heinz, who later voted against the bill.
Despite the students’ protest, the House Appropriations Committee narrowly passed the bill on Wednesday, 7-6. It did not earn a single Democratic vote.
Tuition at the three public universities in Arizona is already above the national average, thanks to recent “sharp tuition increases.” Nevertheless, the University of Arizona voted last April to raise tuition rates again, this time requiring students to pay an additional $1,800 during the 2011-12 school year.
Somehow, Arizona manages to consistently top itself with its awfulness.
¿Por qué? vs. Porque
- ¿Por qué? = Why
- Porque = Because
¿Por qué llegaste tarde? = Why were you late?
Porque se me pasó el tren = Because I missed the train.
A government scam that allows public schools to justify firing experienced teachers to replace them with cheap, inexperienced teachers-in-training. Or, a money-saving program at the expense of rural and poor students.
And now TFA participants are being encouraged to use TFA as a resume builder for exclusive MBA and Law schools, as well as a boost for a possible lucrative future in corporate and political America. So much for finding dedicated teachers.
File under: how privileged students profit from public education’s failures.
I’ve known quite a few people who have done/considered TFA, and none of them had a career in K-12 education as their endgame. Almost all of them were using it to pad their resumes to move onto jobs in Washington.
The people I knew who wanted to do it and stay as teachers all got rejected. Fuck TFA. I know a guy doing it now and he’s just in it for the resume padding.
Literally, all of the training most of us have had is a one hour seminar that is generally viewed as a joke by most of the faculty and students. Sorry if we suck.
So there’s this fancy new column on Forbes from Gene Marks called “If I Were A Poor Black Kid”. Shockingly, it is not written by a poor black kid, but a middle-class white man. But don’t worry, this isn’t just any rich white man: this is the middle-class white man who knows the answer to all of their silly poor people problems.
Yep, that usually works out pretty well.
The column (which I am not linking to, because that guy deserves web traffic only slightly less then he deserves joy in his life) outlines the following helpful solutions for poor kids looking to achieve:
“I am not a poor black kid. I am a middle aged white guy who comes from a middle class white background. So life was easier for me. ”
Oh, hey, no shit.
“I believe that everyone in this country has a chance to succeed…Even a poor black kid in West Philadelphia. It takes brains. It takes hard work. It takes a little luck. And a little help from others. It takes the ability and the know-how to use the resources that are available. Like technology. As a person who sells and has worked with technology all my life I also know this.”
So, as a person who has worked with technology your whole life, you’re qualified to solve the systematic oppression of poverty in the inner-cities. That’s kind of like me saying that because I know how to bake cookies, I know how to build a combustion engine. But OK, continue.
“If I was a poor black kid I would first and most importantly work to make sure I got the best grades possible. I would make it my #1 priority to be able to read sufficiently. I wouldn’t care if I was a student at the worst public middle school in the worst inner city. Even the worst have their best. And the very best students, even at the worst schools, have more opportunities. Getting good grades is the key to having more options… If you do poorly in school, particularly in a lousy school, you’re severely limiting the limited opportunities you have.”
Right. Good grades are obviously super-attainable for me, the author’s imaginary impoverished child. Never mind the fact that I’m going to an under-resourced school in an inner-city where I’m competing with 30-40 kids for the attention of a teacher who works 12 hours a day for a yearly salary that would buckle under a used car payment. Never mind the fact that I’m likely a part of the 40% of American children who start school unprepared and never get the chance to catch up. Never mind that I’m 1.5 times more likely to have a learning disability, and have a significant chance of being unable to pass the standardized testing on which my school’s already shoestring funding is based. Never mind that I may be homeless, or in foster care, or dealing with other home instabilities that accompany poverty. Never mind that despite the fact that studies show hunger and malnutrition have a severe adverse effect on my ability to learn, Congress just said it’s OK for me to eat pizza for breakfast because it contains tomato paste. Never mind that the lights are off, I’ve had cereal for dinner for the past week and my Mom is crying all the time. If I don’t get good grades, it’s my fault, because I didn’t try hard enough to be the best of the worst.
“And I would use the technology available to me as a student…Computers can be purchased cheaply at outlets like TigerDirect and Dell’s Outlet. Professional organizations like accountants and architects often offer used computers from their members, sometimes at no cost at all.”
Ah, yes! It is so easy for me, the imaginary poor kid, to access a resource like TigerDirect. Because I obviously know what that is. I’ll just use my credit card- oh. Wait, I’ll use my mom’s credit- oh, right. I guess there’s always the library. Since I’m a minor with incredibly limited access to transportation, I sure hope there’s a well-equipped one close by along a safe walking route. Wait, there isn’t? Well, I guess I can just walk into an architect’s office and ask if they want to sell me their computer for the money I don’t have since my family is significantly below the poverty line. I’m sure they won’t mind.
“If I was a poor black kid I’d use the free technology available to help me study. I’d become expert at Google Scholar. I’d visit study sites like SparkNotes andCliffsNotes to help me understand books. I’d watch relevant teachings onAcademic Earth, TED and the Khan Academy. (I say relevant because some of these lectures may not be related to my work or too advanced for my age. But there are plenty of videos on these sites that are suitable to my studies and would help me stand out.) I would also, when possible, get my books for free at Project Gutenberg and learn how to do research at the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia to help me with my studies… I would use Skype to study with other students who also want to do well in my school.
Yes! Of course, why didn’t I think of this? There are tons of friendly techheads in my life who are willing to sit down and teach me to use these services. There’s no way the adults in my life are too busy just trying to hold our world together to show me how Wikipedia works. Also, I will somehow do this despite the fact that as a child in poverty I am more likely to have literacy problems, and a smaller vocabulary then that of my privileged peers. That probably won’t affect my ability to use Project Gutenberg at all. I sure am glad that I somehow obtained a home computer with the capacity to run these programs that is also apparently equipped with a webcam, and a microphone. Otherwise, this whole set of solutions would seem somewhat useless!
Also, it’s a good thing I have these videos to show me how to “stand out” amongst my peers. Because, as a child in poverty, I obviously am taught from the very beginning of my life what behaviors and knowledge will make me middle-class successful, and my life is full of functional positive role models who can help guide me through my difficult childhood. Who I keep in touch with on Skype. From my unicorn.
“Is this easy? No it’s not. It’s hard. It takes a special kind of kid to succeed. And to succeed even with these tools is much harder for a black kid from West Philadelphia than a white kid from the suburbs. But it’s not impossible. The tools are there. The technology is there. And the opportunities there.”
Yep, there’s a clear model for success here. This strategy has worked over and over again! Like, remember that one time with the imaginary kid we made up who had Skype on his unicorn? That was great. Good thing we had this imaginary kid to follow along through this magical journey of knowledge, because our author didn’t cite any evidence that any of this would work. You’d almost think he didn’t do any research whatsoever on the causes of educational attainment gaps in poverty. But who would write an article for a national news outlet without researching it first? Not this dude. He has the answers.
But wait, there’s more!
“…Most private schools I know are filled to the brim with the 1%. That’s because these schools are exclusive and expensive, costing anywhere between $20 and $50k per year. But there’s a secret about them. Most have scholarship programs. Most have boards of trustees that want to give opportunities to kids that can’t afford the tuition. Many would provide funding for not only tuition but also for transportation or even boarding. Trust me, they want to show diversity. They want to show smiling, smart kids of many different colors and races on their fundraising brochures. If I was a poor black kid I’d be using technology to research these schools on the internet, too, and making them know that I exist and that I get good grades and want to go to their school.”
Woah, hang on. Scholarships? For private schools? Well, I have never heard of such a thing, but it sounds like a good deal for poor little old imaginary me. I probably don’t have any adults in my life who have the time to help me with applications or documentation, so it’s a good thing it’s as simple as finding out what school I want to go to and letting them know I exist. It’s not like demand for scholarships and vouchers have grown steadily over the past decade because of increasingly dwindling resources in our public schools. Every kid that wants to go to private school for free always does, because they deserve it. And they certainly will know exactly how to behave in an upper-middle class environment, and have the academic skills to breeze through their classes and up the ziggurat. I mean, they know how to use Google!
“And once admitted to one of these schools the first person I’d introduce myself to would be the school’s guidance counselor. This is the person who will one day help me go to a college. This is the person who knows everything there is to know about financial aid, grants, minority programs and the like. This is the person who may also know of job programs and co-op learning opportunities that I could participate in. This is the person who could help me get summer employment at a law firm or a business owned by the 1% where I could meet people and show off my stuff.”
Yeah! Now that I’m in private school, it’s just a matter of finding that sweet opportunity to share my skills. Certainly things like institutional racism and middle-class biases against people in poverty won’t affect their perception of me. Look out world, I know how to make a spreadsheet!
“Because a poor black kid who gets good grades, has a part time job and becomes proficient with a technical skill will go to college. There is financial aid available. There are programs available. And no matter what he or she majors in that person will have opportunities. They will find jobs in a country of business owners like me who are starved for smart, skilled people. They will succeed.”
Because a poor black kid who gets good grades despite a hundred obstacles his privileged peers will never face, has a part-time job that somehow contributes to his professional development as opposed to making fries, and also has the time to put into learning a technical skill will go to college. Cool. All of my problems have been solved. Unless I drop out of college. Or I don’t have the skills to succeed in college, despite my best efforts to develop them. Or I don’t get accepted into college. Or if I get into college, but I can’t maintain the grades to keep my scholarship. Or if I get a scholarship that covers tuition, but not books and living expenses, so I still can’t afford to go. So, basically, there is a one in a billion chance that this is going to work. But hey, there’s a chance!
So, thanks, middle-class white guy. Once again, you have the solutions to our problems. Because forget the idea that kids in poverty are daily charged with confronting a massive confluence of cultural forces that deny them opportunities for success and and lasting achievement, and that no child should be held responsible for his lack of knowledge and resources to navigate that system, and that the myth of a meritocracy has given our society an excuse to blame them for their “failures” rather then attempting to address the forces that hold them back, and that there will be no real solution to the fact that 1 in 5 American children are going to continue to live in poverty until we as a society acknowledge it and work on systematic solutions for it.
The real reason for poverty is that poor black kids don’t try hard enough on their computers.
That’s far more plausible.
Well, I have to ask the obvious: Do you want to be a lawyer?? Law school is three years of your life and costs well over $100,000. A good chunk of that is unsubsidized loans (e.g., that’s very bad). If you’re going to law school to satisfy your inner enviro-idealist, how will you pay that back?
Besides those logistics, are you prepared to compete for a job with other lawyers? Lawyers are a vicious and tenacious lot. And the job market is saturated with out of work, hungry lawyers. Will your resume hold up in the market?
I know a lot of law graduates who’ve been in the market for over two years. TWO YEARS looking to become a lawyer. Many have barred in multiple states - an additional financial and time burden outside of tuition and the three years dedicated.
They’re getting by in the non-profits, but, man, they are really struggling to make ends meet. So, the market is flush with both laid off, careerist-lawyers and fresh-out graduates. Not to mention a fresh crop of grads will be released next spring. There are too few jobs out there and the trends don’t look too good.
Granted, environmental law is a niche. There aren’t a lot of environmental lawyers out there as it’s a specialty field. The more narrow the field, the less unemployment.
Still, the state of the industry doesn’t look good.
By the same token, law schools are scrambling to justify the high costs of attendance in light a terrible job market. And there’s been a plethora of bad press questioning the value of a law degree.
In fact, students are suing law schools to get their tuition money back. One student went to the media shortly after he asked for and was denied that his tuition money be returned. He wrote a letter to the dean of Boston College and the media picked up his story. Hell broke loose.
With that, I point to a solid piece by Paul Campos that argues against getting a law degree using statistics. Campos is a contributor to “Lawyers, Gun$, and Money.” Here’s his abridged argument:
POINT ONE: …Contrary to the standard narrative within legal academia, which assumes an increasing or at least steady demand for legal services relative to overall economic growth, the demand for legal services within the American economy has been declining, relative to the rest of the economy, for the past two decades….
POINT TWO: The rate at which American law schools are producing aspiring lawyers far outstrips the demand for new lawyers, and this has been the case for many years now. …
POINT THREE: The cost of law school is, in economic terms, arbitrary….In other words, over the past quarter century, the relative change in the cost of acquiring a law degree has borne no rational relationship to the relative change in the value of a law degree.
POINT FOUR: There is, to this point, almost no sign that this arbitrary relationship between the change in the cost of acquiring law degrees and the change in their value is going to move toward a more orthodox economic relationship, in which the decreases in value trigger decreases in price. Law schools continue to raise tuition at far faster than the rate of inflation…
POINT FIVE: These otherwise unsustainable trends are being maintained by a combination of unlimited federal educational loan money and, to a lesser extent, poor information regarding the actual relationship between the costs and benefits of acquiring a law degree….
Campos unredacted piece is well worth your time and I highly recommend you give it a go; even if you’re not considering a JD…
At some point in the next two years, I’ll have to decide between going for a JD or a PhD. Both seem equally interesting and with equally poor career choices.
This is almost certainly the most hilarious transition sentence I have ever read in a student essay. It’s from a draft of a paper, so it will be corrected before the student hands in the final version for a grade, but I loved it so much that I wanted to put it here so that others could enjoy it too.
I think it’s even better because the paper is on Marxism and so you can spend some time picturing Karl Marx riding around on a Segway.
There’s a mental image you probably didn’t think you’d have today.
The lesson, however, is this: Don’t just inform your reader that you’re now going to make a transition from one topic to another; make the transition by actually connecting the two topics together in some way.