In response to Lanham (2009) and Dodd’s (2010) millennial curriculum


First of all, I do not subscribe to Robert Lanham’s mockery of “a new ‘Lost Generation’ of minimalists” however funny it was. (I LOL’d thrice). Lanham’s humor is ironic as he addresses his audience of “Nonreaders” while continuing to write with both a literary straightness and a digital stoop. In his Internet-Age Writing Syllabus and Course Overview, comedy encourages engagement and points directly to it as a point of departure for future teaching. 

Following engagement, Lanham mentions the efficiency, concision, and independence which young writers should master; although, attendance be not required for acquiring such skills. These three characteristics (generational trends?) explain the contemporary shift from hard copy to no copy in a way that suggests the written word will have increasingly less value in the future. At least it will have less character(s). Perhaps another restructuring of language will occur, or image-based media will suffocate text altogether. Still, teaching must carry on. 

Cameron Dodd literally prompts students, also by way of humor, to write about all things millennial, that is, the only things we would write about. Whether College Writing Class Assignments with Real World Applications is a list of hopeless prompts or a call to action remains unclear. Nonetheless, this generation of “Nonreaders” could be on its way to becoming “Nonwriters” if we don’t at least author the authenticity of our era. 

Even the bite-sized format of these articles is structured for quick, easy consumption. Dodd lists a variety of different platforms appropriate for contemporary writing – the text message, the e-mail, the thank-you note, and the Post-It note. But are these short-form arrangements of words a limitation if they are welcomed, even preferred by today’s youth? Together, these articles suggest the value of writing lies in the generation it belongs to and whether or not it can be understood. Ultimately, what we like is how we write.