Amherst, MA – Amid a chorus of yawns, sighs, and rolling eyes, Director of Studies Lisa Brooks proudly announced that the second annual English Capstone Symposium successfully modeled what it means to be a writer in the modern day, in that pretty much nobody gives a shit.
“For six decades, each senior English major had to pass a written exam, and nobody gave a flying fuck about that,” Brooks told the Muck-Rake in the back of the CHI classroom during some dumb presentation about the human condition or whatever. “But it’s much more effective to culminate the English experience by allowing students to watch classmates’ eyes gloss over in real time while they struggle to come up with a question about your short story you couldn’t convince them to skim.”
“It couldn’t capture the life of the mind more accurately,” Professor Sanchez-Eppler added, looking up from the scarf she was knitting.
During the day-long symposium held in Frost Library on February 9th, students presented the best critical or creative work they could manage to vomit out on February 8th to an audience of overcaffeinated seniors, each of whom had done the same.
Each senior English major gave a ten minute presentation that felt like twenty, followed by a Q&A session during which the professors nobly attempted to get the ball rolling by discussing their own thoughts, pausing for questions, receiving none, and rolling the ball further until the Q&A time had elapsed.
An astonishing diversity of ideas was presented during this year’s symposium: Martin Perkins ‘18 failed to get anyone to pretend they cared about “Totalities of Guilt in Ulysses”, while Katelyn Moon ’18 presented on “Kate Chopin’s Intersectional Becomings,” about which the audience couldn’t muster a single solitary fuck.
Blinking herself awake after nodding off for a while, Janet Malcolm ‘18 eagerly compared her doodles of Professor Sanborn as a whale to another student’s drawing of Professor Parham as a terminator. When asked for comment, she gazed into her open notebook and assumed an expression of deep contemplation.
“… the way in which…problematize…,” said Sanborn to the Muck-Rake’s correspondents, who had been lost in their own train of thought. “For students, you graduated without knowing how little people cared about your writing if they weren’t employed by a liberal arts college. For faculty, we felt we couldn’t honestly let the students go out into the quote unquote [sic] ‘real world’ with untarnished hope for a viable writing career. It’s more truthful for all of us to watch the light drain from their eyes right then and there.”
During the closing celebration, the English majors were provided champagne to drown out the knowledge that it would be the last time they could afford it.