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Getting to the Point

My Mass Media students claimed this as a virtue in defense of short magazine articles recently. I've seen this preference show up before too. It seems that if something is more than, say a few paragraphs, or beyond two pages, then it's too long and all sorts of moaning occurs. If something is short, well then, it gets to the point, and if it's long obviously the writer is belaboring the point. While there is truth to this in some situations, I think it speaks more to the students' inability to concentrate on any one subject for a significant length of time than anything else. Essentially, if you can't sum up the argument for the existence of God in a two-premise syllogism, you are taking too long to get to the point. If you can't explain why you should spend the rest of your life with one particular person in a few sentences, you're going on and on and on. If you can't "get to the point" about any important, life-altering issue in 30 seconds, you are wasting my time. No wonder I have so many failures on my grade record.
I wonder if they feel the same way about movies--skip this exposition crap: get to the car chases, explosions, and jiggling breasts already. They want fish flies when life is about oak trees and tortoises. They want microwave when serious, hard, deep explanations are warranted.
Not all students are like this, of course, but too many are. Unfortunately, so are their parents.

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