An entire This American Life dedicated to Sedaris Christmas stories here.
So for tomorrow, read at least the first two of these samples:
And be ready to talk about them in class.
Also, read The Shaggs and write a one-page response (a focusing question if it's useful: she writes a story about the worst rock band in history without making it sound as if she's picking on them. How does she pull that off?)
We talked about race a bit when we worked our way through "Dirty Red" last week, and I've since come across two things that drove home the point I was trying to make about the ending: Interacting with police is a fact of life for young black men. Take a look:
Here's a story from yesterday's New York Times.
And here's a link to a This American Life episode (it's the second story; the first is entertaining but not exactly on point).
We ran through this quickly on Friday, so here it is again. With links. For Tuesday:
1) Sign up for a time to shadow your freshman here.
2) Read these two pieces about Bragg and react as a comment on this message. (piece #1, a news story; #2, a Salon blog post criticizing him, is on the "Handouts" page of our web site. It's called "shaferblog"). How serious, in your view, were Bragg's transgressions, on a scale from, say, John Hersey to Stephen Glass?
3) Read and be ready to talk about "American Man" -- the first profile in Bullfighter. What techniques stand out to you? How does she make the piece work? What is the angle, were you forced to describe it? (No need to write it out, but be ready to answer those questions first thing Tuesday).
Enjoy the chance to sleep in!
For tonight: Read this story; "Tender Memories of Day-Care Center Are All That Remain After The Bomb"
It's in the book, but I'd like to take a crack at sharing our comments with everyone.
If I were using this as a piece for your in-class essay, I would ask some version of this question:
"What is a main idea Bragg is trying to get across in this piece? What rhetorical techniques is he using to support that idea?"
Mark up the piece with those questions in mind. I'll add a note at the top for discusison of the main idea, and mark whatever techniques you see in the piece with notes that discuss their ties to the main idea.
A PBS interview with the author I mentioned in class today.
The Grammar Girl podcast takes on active and passive voice this week, so I was all set to write up a link for you, as we've talked about it a bit in class this year. But then I read the podcast and realized that it's her second podcast on the subject and is much more technical than would be useful for you. But here's the first episode; if you're still unclear on what's active and what's passive, she can clear it up for you.
This blog post from The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza caught my attention after all of our talk about anecdotal leads. Bottom line: anecdotes are powerful, but having actual data to support them is nice, too.