In the meantime, here's a 1974 parody of college freshman writing that contains not a single grammatical error, dangling modifier, comma splice, or sentence beginning with some variant of "In the report it stated." Apparently bad freshman writing in 1974 was quite a bit less bad than bad student writing in 2013.
For the record, I think it's rude to call student writing "intellectually vacuous trash."
[I wrote this parody of a freshman theme to preservemy sanity while struggling to read a batch of themes during one Christmas holiday. The lesson here may be that if we continue assigning themes on such impossible topics as friendship, love, or wisdom, we deserve to get the intellectually vacuous trash that students write for us.]
WALTER S. MINOT
Statement of Intent: My purpose in this theme is to define very specifically the real meaning of true friendship.
In today's modern world, true friendship is very rare and hard to accomplish. Webster defines friendship as the state or fact of being friends. Thus it can be easily seen that in order for friendship to have a state of existence there must be friends, because without friends there would be no friendship.
True friendship denotes more than just being friendly with someone. We are amicable with many people who are not really true friends. This is not true friendship. Truly real friendship happens only when two people are really true friends. In order to have a friend, you must be a friend first, or you won't have any friends. Everyone needs a friend, or his or her life will be very alienated.
A friend is a person who helps you up when you are down. You may have many but can have a few true friends. A friend is someone who acquaintances, you only will continue being your friend even if you do something bad to him. He will adhere to you through thick and thin, through rain or shine. If you took your best friend's girl away from him, he would still be your friend.
On mutual respect is based true friendship. A good example of this is the friendship between Allen Whitehall and Robert Epstein. If Al needed a dime to buy flowers for his widowed mother who has arthritis and Bob had a dime, he would give it to him no matter what the cost of the personal sacrifice.
As I have shown, true friendshipis the greatest thing anyone can have. Without friends, no man can stand alone. I can only finalize my definition with these words:
True friendship is eternal and it should last a lifetime.
Gannon College Erie, Pa.
College Composition and Communication, Vol. 25, No. 2 (May, 1974), p. 154