Tag Archives: Miley cyrus

Get It Right – Popular Media and Fact Checking: On Sufjan Stevens’ Open Letter to Miley Cyrus

15 Oct

Lately, all the cool kids have been writing Miley Cyrus open letters. This past weekend Sufjan Stevens’ hopped on the bandwagon and penned a quick note to Miley on his tumblr regarding her song “#GetItRight”.

Sufjan makes a compelling argument regarding grammar usage in the song.

“I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.”

He continues (garnering a LOL from me):

But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between.

Sufjan is (gently?) poking some fun at Miley’s grammar and songwriting skills. However, there is a major flaw in his argument. Miley didn’t write the song. Pharrell has sole writing credit for #GetItRight.

I have been perusing a lot of articles covering Sufjan’s open letter. Not a single one has commented on the fact she didn’t write it. So not only did Sufjan not factcheck, neither did many major news publications. Including Pitchfork.com, EOnline.Com, Us Weekly, NME.Com, and even the Huffington Post.

Miley is a hot topic right now, for a myriad of reasons. But before you go ahead and write an open letter, take a moment to check a few facts first before you send it out into the world of the internet.

In Defense Of The Things I Like and How That Translates Into The Classroom

22 Apr

I just spent the last few days reading Tess of the D’Ubervilles. I was asked why. Then I moved on to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy Series. I was asked why. I read Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. Asked why. Was reading the Wikipedia entry for The Uncanny Effect. I was asked why.

My questions to my enquisitors — “Why do you want to know why?”

I receive blank stares. Their response, “Is it for school-related research? Is it for a new job? Did someone ask you to research this?” Depending what they are asking me the answer can range from yes — reading many YA novels will hopefully help me out when I get a position as a high school English teacher — to no — I’m just curious. What astonishes me is the response I get back from people. They are absolutely astonished that I would “waste” my time on some of these things.

I currently hold a position at the Royal Alberta Museum staffing the admissions desk. A major part of my job is answering questions regarding past, current, and future exhibits. This past weekend I answered a visitor’s question about the current exhibit. I fired off some facts and had my coworker turn to me in surprise, “How did you know all of that?” 

I actually went into the exhibit and read about it.

It boggles my mind that people aren’t more curious about things. I’m inquisitive by nature, I used to (still do!) drive my parents insane with the amount of questions I ask. I will spend three hours researching a topic that I came upon tangentially on the internet. I will go to the bookstore and purchase books at random from the non-fiction section because their subject matter caught my eye. I have read the majority of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium including the many volumes of the History of Middle Earth and The Silmarillion. I have read some of the correspondence between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway during their heydey.

Why? Because I can. Because it interests me. I’ve had more than a few people suggest that I may have A.D.D. And maybe I do (which would explain a lot).

But whether I enjoy the occassional Miley Cyrus song, the bombardment of twitter, LOLCats, gifs, the Wikipedia random button, viral youtube videos, and television shows broadcast by a certain network *cough* The CW *cough.* Or if I like to play jazz, read research articals out for peer review, peruse the New York Times, or only watch the news, does it really matter? I enjoy all of those things. Among many, many other things.

So when I am in a classroom and I hear a student or teacher tell someone why they shouldn’t be interested in what interests them, it really bothers me. You are taking a golden opportunity to interact with the student or with your class on a base level and wasting it. Everyone likes to talk about what interests them. So to create a dialogue with students, friends, coworkers, anybody — I always try to ask them about their interests. It gets them talking, and engaging, and interacting with one another, which often doesn’t happen if you just stand up at the front of the classroom and lecture at them.

And then she taught!

A journey through the nooks and crannies of Secondary Education with a lady who sometimes misplaces her maps.

arklechamp

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