Decomposition 101 by Louis R. Tarsitano

Decomposition 101

Louis R. Tarsitano on Indoctrination Through “Sharing”

Among my various vocations and avocations, I have spent over thirty years teaching college composition at a variety of schools, large and small. During these years, I have read thousands upon thousands of student essays and drained uncountable red pens. In fact, I have a couple of dozen papers waiting to be graded right now. It was only recently, however, that a thunderbolt of social analysis, based on those student essays, hit me, and hit me hard.

Maybe my own college friends and I were natural cynics or too caught up in the paranoia of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but we were rather guarded about what we would put into writing to hand in to our professors. We had very little interest in revealing anything about ourselves, and so we concentrated on trying to demonstrate our technical proficiency as writers and our knowledge of the subject at hand. This methodology left us feeling a certain kind of smarty-pants invulnerability about what could be included in our permanent records.

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Louis R. Tarsitano (d. 2005), a former associate editor of Touchstone, was a priest of the Anglican Church in America and rector of St. Andrew?s Church in Savannah, Georgia. He also was the co-author, with Peter Toon, of Neither Archaic Nor Obsolete: The Language of Common Prayer & Public Worship (Brynmill Press, Ltd., 2003).

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