A High School English Teacher Grades Famous Writers

E. E. Cummings (B-) “Edward. You should a good deal of creativity and independence of mind but spelling conventions exist for a reason.”

Shakespeare (C+) “Bill. I really liked some of your work, especially the play about the failson who has a thing for his mom and the two young lovers but you tend to take it a little over the top sometimes and just out and out make up words. I’m only being so hard on you because I think you can do better.”

Mark Twain (F): “Mr. Clemens. We do not use the N word in this class. Please resubmit.”

Rimbaud (D): “Monsieur Rimbaud. We really don’t need to know about all the drugs you’ve done. If you want to start a punk band, start a punk band. This is high school.”

Victor Hugo (C+): “Victor. You show some potential and have some interesting stories but you consistently run over the word count limit. You can probably get away with it here but it’s going to hurt you when you get to college.”

T.S. Eliot (F): “Mr. Eliot. You’re not as clever as you think you are. We naive old Boomers have this little program called Turnitin. You have clearly plagiarized much of your ‘poem.’ Putting in footnotes doesn’t excuse it. Please see the Vice Principal. He will arrange a conference with your parents.”

Jonathan Swift: (D): “Ooo. Real edgy about eating babies. Get off the Internet and grow up. This is a class, not shit posting on 8Chan.”

John Milton: (B+): “Pretty good poem, if a bit long. But as my mother used to tell me, mixing politics and religion usually just leads to bad feeling. Next time try to find a more neutral subject.”

Emily Bronte( A-): “We all love the bad boys, especially when we’re young. But see your sister’s paper for a warning. They’re usually hiding something unpleasant in the closet.”

Samuel Beckett: (F): “Some of us are still waiting for the point Sam. Did you even read the instructions?”

Emile Zola (D): “I’m not really interested in your politics. Do better.”

Mark: (A-): “Absolutely terrific story about a poor boy who grows up to be a great teacher and spiritual adviser. Can the subaltern speak? You’ve proven that against the Roman Empire he can. I loved the imagery of the three crosses and that scene where he chases the money changers out of the temple. Terrific writing. But I can’t help but think you got a bit lazy with the ending. What? They kill him and then he just gets up and walks? Reminds me of a bad TV show where the screenwriter resolves the plot by saying it’s all a dream.”

Charles Bukowski (D): “I know you may not want to hear this but you’re actually a privileged white male. You got that unionized job at the Post Office and some better qualified person of color didn’t. Stop being so self-indulgent.”

Noam Chomsky (F): “Right. It’s all the media’s fault. How is that working out for our current President. Fake news. Fake news. And where did you get most of your examples. From the media, of course.”

Phillip Roth (A): “I liked the book about the Nazis taking over New Jersey but the one about the boy jerking off borders on sexual harassment. But I guess I better give you an A because if I don’t you’ll go whining to the ADL.”

William Faulker (D): “I honestly didn’t understand half of what you wrote. And much of it is borderline ableist and racist.”

Karl Marx: (C): “Lazy political writing. You ignore the intersectional complexity of our patriarchal and racist society to concentrate on class. You seem to have gotten most of your idea of what a proletarian looks like from a Springsteen album.”

3 comments

  1. johnlblodgett · · Reply

    And there it is! >

  2. Srogouski (A): Because when I threw the pile of today’s blog posts at the staircase, this one landed on the highest step.

    1. This gives me an idea for another one.

      William Burroughs (F): “Bill. This reads like you wrote it on heroin, cut the pages of your manuscript up with a pair of scissors, and put them back together with scotch tape. Oh, and Bill, Mugwumps are 19th Century Republicans who jumped ship and supported Grover Cleveland, not strange monsters obsessed with gay sex. Read more history and do better.”

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