Uncategorized | February 03, 2004

I had a writing teacher not long ago who, on the first day of our class, set out a small, tarnished incense holder with a vented lid on the table in front of him. He told us that, in his class, we would be charged 25 cents for saying the word “like” when critiquing the work of our peers, and our money would go inside his ancient container. We all laughed a little nervously. Of course, an exception would be made for the other use of “like,” the, like, pause-word of choice for, like, my generation. The banishment of that kind of “like,” though perhaps even more important, is not the topic at hand. “Enjoy,” “adore,” “love,” “hate,” and a host of other words, all denoting the same empty flattery or insult were also prohibited.

Throughout the semester, many a quarter was lost in the battle for precise and valuable criticism. In the end, though, because we were forced to really evaluate what made a piece good or bad, we developed the vocabulary so necessary for serious writers and editors. Plus, our teacher used the spoils to buy pizza for us at the end of the semester. He called the last day of class the “I Like Pizza Party.”