How to Write a Paper About Nothing

Writing classes tell students a lot of things. A great many of these things are true, if you’re one of those outmoded models with a “drive to learn” (it hurts to type it) or are one of the poor souls to major in a topic with the word “literature” attached to it. For the rest of us, a different model of writing is necessary. Specifically, a model of writing that can be applied at 1 AM with a hangover and a dozen different assignments due the following morning.

As firm believers in sloth and vigilant guardians against that daemon known as effort, Tiger Mag is here to help. The following is a guide to writing a paper just marginally worth the ink used to print it. Carry it with you in dark places, and even darker deadlines.

Step 1: Brainstorming

Or rather, a lack thereof. A key element of the Tiger Mag academic writing method is a complete and utter lack of forethought and preparation. If your citations go further than the first ten search results on Google, you’re probably overdoing it.

Step 2: The Un-Thesis

As you might have guessed, the un-thesis is the antithesis of the thesis. After saying that aloud five times, you might wonder just what exactly that means.

But that enigma is the sheer brilliance of the un-thesis: it means nothing. The un-thesis is simply an excuse to ramble for six pages on any related topic that happens to cross your mind as you tap futilely away at your keyboard. The ideal un-thesis references the topic at hand in a shallow matter, and draws a conclusion so broad yet basic that anything could follow it. It is an art, and truly worth mastering.

Step 3: Social Networking

After finishing your opening, it should occur to you that you haven’t checked your Facetweetspace in over five minutes. The world is passing you by! Immediately rectify this. You don’t want to die alone, do you?

Step 4: Conclusion

Coming up with material to reinforce your argument is a chore. So why not push that off until later, and write the conclusion now? It’s essentially a thesis with a flipped word order.

Step 5: Internet Video

You know what’s more fun than typing? Videos of a man punching a chimp, or video game clips set to intolerable nu-metal.

The networks should be afraid. When they show a man punching a monkey, it’s considered passé animal abuse. When a guy with a stolen hand-held camera does it, it’s a comedy classic.

Step 6: Filler

It’s time to fill the black hole between the “points” of your paper. The best path here is to regurgitate half-remembered material from lecture, and half-understood concepts from your earlier “research”.

Do remember to cite the material lifted from your Google search. We encourage shiftlessness, not plagiarism. Besides, block quotes are the duct tape of the writing world.

Step 7: Party Time

Alcoholism is a common trait among many of our culture’s most acclaimed authors. Therefore, a few shots are all that is separating you and a black belt in academic writing. What better way to tear down that wall of writer’s block than eroding it with gin?

If it doesn’t pan out, it just means that you aren’t appreciated in your time.

Step 8: Refinements

Specifically, spell check. A subtle increase in font size also never hurts.

Step 9: Rage

By the end of this process it may have dawned on you that the product of our method has about the same value as the equivalent weight in used condoms. There are a variety of potential reactions to this moment, but they all follow the same emotional arc: sorrow, which leads to panic, which intensifies to unbridled fury.

But who do you blame? It couldn’t be you, you’re flawless. Certainly not your innocent, easily bruised friends at Tiger. That leaves the grading policy, your professor, and any roommate louder than a mouse. Scapegoat away.

-Dennard Dayle ‘13

You May Also Like