Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Foreign names, Harvard Extension, copy editing, walkout article

Be forewarned: I haven't much to talk about and I'm very busy today, so this blog post may be rather dull and short.

That said, I did notice something interesting in school today--and that's saying something, considering how little sleep I was functioning on. (As a result of coffee and still sort of using my energy from my nap-length night, I was quite awake and lively for first period and part of second. But it all went downhill from there, and by Spanish I was a zombie, yawning every three seconds until my eyes watered. Ugh.) Anyway, my school has many immigrants, primarily Indian, Russian, and Chinese, with also some Korean and Brazilian kids. Now, all these foreign names can get confusing for people not acquainted with them, so I've put together some handy-dandy (actually pretty useless) rules-of-thumb for how to tell someone's nationality based on their name, or how to pronounce their name based on their nationality.

1. If the name is long and phonetic, it is Indian
2. If the name is long and not phonetic, it is Russian
3. And if the name is short and not phonetic, it is Chinese

Works like a charm. On an entirely different note, I'm taking a Harvard Extension class on World Religions and it begins this Thursday--I'm quite nervous, because I think I'll be the only high school student there. Anyway, I'll be taking the train into Boston Thursday evening, so I'll report back afterwards, if I have time.

Eh, this afternoon I have to do copy editing for the school newspaper. This is possibly the most boring and annoying job ever, but I offered to do it because all the other copy editors quit (note how I'm transitioning from all caps to italics--easier on the eyes, you know). The problem with our newspaper--alright, one of the many problems--is that they don't require any specific level of skill, so a lot of the articles are turned in as jumbles of run-on sentences and exclamation points, and the requisite offensive comment. So I basically end up re-writing most of the articles, which are already dead-boring in the first place.

I also write for the newspaper, but as all articles must have some connection with our school, the choices are slim. A few days ago (the day before the deadline, actually) one of the editors asked me to write an article about the school walkout that had been planned in protest of Bush's inauguration. Now, a couple of pages about such a walkout would be easy, I figured. Until the walkout didn't happen.

That's right. The girl who planned it--who shall remain nameless, of course--canceled it at the last minute becaues her dad--her dad--told her it was too cold for her to stand outside protesting. So. No walkout, yet the editor had already blocked out some space in the paper for the article. What was a girl to do? The other problem is--and this is why I will never make a good journalist--that I really don't like hurting people's feelings. I mean, I could have written a really acerbic commentary on the fact that these "rebel-protesters" were scared by a little cold, and etc., but I felt sort of bad for the girl and if I were in her place, I really wouldn't want a mean article written about me. Plus, I'm supposed to remain unbiased as the author of a "news" article.

I managed to scrounge something up. Funnily enough, another demonstration--this one for Code Pink, a women's peace organization--was going on on the same day, so I ended up writing more about how the two coincided, and why word of mouth is the best form of protest. I managed to keep the mocking out of my voice...for most of it. I won't print the whole article here--because believe me, it would put you in comas--but I'll excerpt my only slightly-mean part. For your amusement:

"Because Code Pink and the walkout coincided, many students mistakenly associated the two with the same cause; by Thursday, many of the pink-clad students thought that the pink was to show their opposition to Bush, though a few became confused when asked why pink represented their protest. “We should have picked blue for the anti-Bush color,” one student opined. “That’s the color of the Democrats and also, a lot more people have blue clothes!” Clearly, this student was unaware of Code Pink entirely. With most of the school erroneously connecting pink with the walkout, a new question arises: how informed are these supposedly political-minded students who oppose Bush so vehemently, if most don’t even know the message behind their pink shirts?"

Ah, so. My silly school newspaper (earlier this year I did write an article unrelated to school--for the "entertainment" section--about my favorite guy, Neil Gaiman. I doubt you would want to read it, but if you do, here it is). The worst articles by far to copy edit are the sports articles; they always begin somewhere along the lines of, "The lights are bright--OH MAN LOOK AT THAT GOAL--that was really awesome, because Tyler "Badass" Smith is ON FIRE I can't believe it, he's on such a run and he's so so friggin' good at sports!" I will praise the lord if we ever get a jock who can write on the newspaper staff--it's actually painful for me to go through some of that stuff, especially when the articles are two or three pages long. Gawd. I cannot wait.

In an effort to leave with one grain of interest still in this blog, here is an interesting article from the Guardian about Britpop on the GCSE.

Oh, and happy belated birthday Tim, you ungrateful boy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

TC! I don't know if my IM stopped working or what, but I really hope you're not mad at me!

I wasn't laughing at you or your ideas, I was just chuckling at the thought of getting out of myself. You see, all summer at Cherubs, they showed us how in theatre we have to get "in" ourselves. To find the part of us that is in the character. If my ankle hurts, I have to find the part of me that wouldn't care whether my leg had fallen off or not. I'm sure that in a lot of ways it's the same for you with writing - you find out more about aspects of yourself you never knew before, as you continue to write. Each new style is a new part of you, that you have to uncover. Please don't be affronted. I hate that about IM. It sometimes is so... tricksy.

Break legs at your class on Thursday! I hope you have a marvelous time! I'm sure you will wow all with your keen intellect and astute comments. : )

Take care!

- Avital

12:33 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Hello there -

This is Brian, a contemporary of Shakeer. Short time reader, first time commentor, long time blog critic.

I have deduced that you are more awesomer than Shakeer. Your work parallels Shakeer's earlier humorous/whimsical work. Too bad he's lost his touch. I speak for the entire Jesuit student population when I say: Franklin, we miss you.

1:31 AM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Avital, it's absolutely fine. I figured you were laughing at something that was yet to be explained, and then your IM crashed--pretty close to the truth. Don't worry, I'm not sensitive and I'm not paranoid. Mad at you, pfft. That's interesting about getting "into" yourself--I see what you mean, yes. Thanks about Thursday, and YOU break a leg at your auditions!

Brian, hi. I'm probably not "more awesomer" than Shakeer--I'm still a relative newbie at blogging!--but I'm glad I'm at least somewhat awesome. Ha, nice to speak to the voice of The Collective Mind at Jesuit.


11:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home