Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Term Paper Artist

The Term Paper Artist is an article by professional term-paper-mill writer, Nick Mamatas, about the seedy underbelly of pseudo-academia.  He dishes on who buys his services, explains how he slogs through boring papers, and waxes philosophical on why students need his services in the first place.

Enjoy the exerpts: 

"In broad strokes, there are three types of term paper clients. DUMB CLIENTS predominate. They should not be in college. They must buy model papers simply because they do not understand what a term paper is, much less anything going on in their assignments.

...

The second type of client is the one-timer. A chemistry major trapped in a poetry class thanks to the vagaries of schedule and distribution requirements, or worse, the poet trapped in a chemistry class. These clients were generally lost and really did simply need a decent summary of their class readings — I once boiled the 1000-page New Testament Theology by Donald Guthrie into a 30-page précis over the course of a weekend for a quick $600.

...

The third group is perhaps the most tragic: They are well-educated professionals who simply lack English-language skills. Often they come from the former Soviet Union, and in their home countries were engineers, medical professionals, and scientists. In the United States, they drive cabs and have to pretend to care about "Gothicism" in "A Rose For Emily" for the sake of another degree. For the most part, these clients actually send in their own papers and they get an edit from a native speaker.

... 

The secret to the gig is to amuse yourself. I have to, really, as most paper topics are deadly boring. Once, I was asked to summarize in three pages the causes of the First World War (page one), the major battles and technological innovations of the war (page two), and to explain the aftermath of the war, including how it led to the Second World War (page three). Then there was this assignment for a composition class: six pages on why "apples [the fruit] are the best." You have to make your own fun. In business papers, I'd often cite Marxist sources. When given an open topic assignment on ethics, I'd write on the ethics of buying term papers, and even include the broker's Web site as a source. My own novels and short stories were the topic of many papers — several DUMB CLIENTS rate me as their favorite author and they've never even read me, or anyone else. Whenever papers needed to refer to a client's own life experiences, I'd give the student various sexual hang-ups.

...


I know why students don't understand thesis statements, argumentative writing, or proper citations.

It's because students have never read term papers.

Imagine trying to write a novel, for a grade, under a tight deadline, without ever having read a novel. Instead, you meet once or twice a week with someone who is an expert in describing what novels are like."

Touché. It's a pretty interesting read, which makes me believe again the power of daily writing. Even if all you write is crap. In conclusion, paper-buying is a land of contrasts.

(From Drexel's The Smart Set, Kottke.org, Blogbdon)

6 comments:

perfect just like mommy said...

You are my new favorite blog. How could I have not known about you for so long? I'm currently writing a paper, so this post really resonated with me.
-Lilly

moitinhdau136 said...

hiiiiiii..........

Charlie said...

This made me crack up, since just earlier this morning a friend of mine was bashing these "writing services". I myself have no opinion on them, but nonetheless a funny read!

W. E. B. Du Blag said...

Thanks Lilly and Charlie. Hellow moitinhadau.

Very flattered indeed. :)

skal said...

Well done!

Malibu Yogini said...

Bravo!