Accomplishing pressure in the academy
One of the advantages of operating a relatively obscure blog—with a select audience like you, good people—is that it attracts little spam. Oh, there’s the Viagra merchant who recently latched on to The Sun’s blogs and has been methodically larding the comments with substandard English.*
But since I write occasionally about academics, I’ve drawn the attention of spammers for term paper services, and the things they write are truly pathetic.
Here’s the opening sentence from a comment I deleted this morning: “No one can be ready to a great academic papers accomplishing pressure.”
Obviously written by a machine or a non-native speaker. Or a machine programmed by a non-native speaker.
It leaves you wondering who patronizes these services. Presumably there are non-native speakers whose command of standard American is so sketchy that this stuff makes some kind of sense to them. And—back me up, fellow wielders of the red pen—there are native speakers in our classes whose prose is not far off this.
But it must be economically viable, even if only one spam recipient in a thousand, or ten thousand, or a hundred thousand, takes the bait. After all, undergraduate and graduate cheating is, at a guess, as common as cheating on the income tax, so there is a tremendous potential market out there, and many consumers do not appear to be particularly discriminating.**
But then, learning is less what the university enterprise is about than certification for membership in the upper middle class. If learning were actually prized in this fair country, there would be less moronic legislation attempting to curb it.
Doubt me? Think that’s too sour? NPR interviewed Richard Arum, one of the co-authors of Academically Adrift, this morning. The book concludes, after studying 2,300 students at twenty-four universities over four years, that there were “no statistically significant gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills for at least 45 percent of the students in our study. An astounding proportion of students are progressing through higher education today without measurable gains in general skills. ...”
I expect that many of the 45 percent may be susceptible to help with readying a great academic papers.
*Are these comments, which vary from post to post, being generated mechanically, or is some poor soul actually troubling to write fresh nonsense each time?
**I once had two students who submitted papers that were identical in paragraph structure and language in the same class. They were stunned when I confronted them. I suspect that many students have so little an ear for the written language that they do not understand that there are people who hear echoes and perceive similarities.