Two Words to Kill an English Major


While I don’t really want to talk much about my college days, every now and then I am forced to come to terms with the fact that I was/am a pretty stereotypical English Major. Even before I was an official English Major, people thought I was one. Actually, I was Pre-Med for the longest time!

Another example of this was my reading of 4 novels last week. Four? Yes, four standard-length novels of around 85,000 (give or take) words each for a total of 340,000 words. (I did count, as the word count is important to me for writing purposes). I was quite proud of myself actually. I don’t think I ever read that much even when I was assigned to back in college. Closing the book, I turned to my fiancee and told her of my achievement. She only shrugged, “Yeah, I’d expect that from you. You were an English Major.”

Whenever I watch a movie (or read a book for that matter as well), I break it  apart as it goes along. Through subtle details that others may not notice, but appear like bright spot-lights to those of us used to finding them, I usually am able to tell you whats going to happen in a movie to the very end. I can usually predict who’s going to die, who’s not really dead, who’s sleeping with whom, and who’s going to betray whom. If I am wrong, and it makes sense, I am a very happy person because I enjoy surprises (since my mother stopped caring about my birthday when I was 10). Yet, this is this never enough for me. I must dive deeper into the piece breaking apart themes and morals, trying to decide what the piece is trying to say or if the writer/director is trying to say something through it. I am still in the process of arguing with my father-in-law-to-be that Dances with Pocahontas Avatar is not so much about Environmentalism as it is about the Evils of Capitalism. (Please don’t get me started on this).

So yes, all of these things point to me being very stereotypical. I may as well throw on a barret, grab my coffee, and go to the nearest poetry reading to recite my terrible verse.

HOWEVER! What probably makes me more annoying than the usual English Major is my love for the nerdy and hatred of the artsy. Yes. I. Hate. Artsy. Bull. Shit. I lost the good graces of many of my professors for expressing my distaste of some of the crap I was forced to read and watch. For instance, I made the mistake of taking a French New Wave film class. Now, I realize that the stuff that these little French men did in their movies changed the way we do film today, but that still doesn’t mean they’re any good. Apparently the French seemed to think that making a movie that  the audience wouldn’t want to sit all the way through was a good idea. Yes, this was the intention of the film. Everyone in the class got up and clapped at the ingeniousness of the film, saying it was one of the best films ever made.

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching B-movies from time to time. We used to play a game of “Who can find the worst movie ever made?” My brother won the title of King and every time we remember the movie we get to punch him as he laughs at our pain. His physical pain may leave, but our mental pain never will.

And if simply not liking the Artsy stuff wasn’t bad enough, I’ve actually defended the use of such books as Harry Potter for discussion. Apparently if a book sells more than 5 copies in it’s original run, it is shit. Today, I will bestow upon you the best way to shut any of these people up. It is a mere two words, or rather, a name: Charles Dickens. Ask them if they think the man wrote good literature. Most of them will say yes. Already they are stuck in your trap as you can now pummel them with this strange thing called “facts.” Charles Dickens was not seen as serious literature in his time because he wrote to the lowest common denominator;  aka everyone. At these words they will sweat profusely, and may start to mention that he was a nazi, homophobic, anti-Semitic, racist, and/or that he raped small children. Do not worry about these, you have already won; the English Major is trying to rebuild their shattered reality.

Note: You are not allowed to use this method to support the Twilight series. They aren’t written that well and it leaves young girls with a terrible version of love. If you do, I will find you.

In case you were wondering, the four books I read were part of a series by Scott Westerfeld. They are referred to as the Uglies Trilogy-he made a fourth book later-and are actually science fiction books written for teens. (Yes, here’s something else that would have gotten me burned at the stake: not just science fiction, but teen science fiction). I thought they were written pretty well and discussed some good ideas and themes. Also, I had tough time figuring out what was going to happen next. I highly recommend them as well as any of his other books (I currently reading his steampunk novel Leviathan).

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2 Responses to “Two Words to Kill an English Major”

  1. I had no idea you were pre-med

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