Dd131 Essays Online

Ted Gioia

The Best Online Essays of 2016

"Sound Check: The Quietest Place in the US" by Samantha Larson
Crosscut, March 24, 2016

"MFA vs. CIA: A Writer Considers An Alternate Life As An Undercover Agent" by Jennifer duBois
Lapham’s Quarterly, February 23, 2016

"The Passing of a Sixties Showman" by Peter Collier
The New Criterion, October 2016

“Dirty Hands: A Cheating Scandal in the World of Professional Bridge” by David Owen
The New Yorker, March 7, 2016

"What are the Odds of Landing a Pop Hit?" by Sheldon Pearce
The Fader, April 12, 2016

"We Should Celebrate Greats Like Sly Stone While They're Still With Us" by Noah Berlatsky
The Guardian, May 3, 2016

"New York Is Killing Me: Albert Ayler’s Life and Death in the Jazz Capital" by Mark Richardson
Pitchfork, April 28, 2016

"The Novelist of Human Unknowability" by Leo Robson
The New Yorker, October 17, 2016

"The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Franco Moretti" by Melissa Dinsman
Los Angeles Review of Books,  March 2, 2016

"I Used to be a Human Being" by Andrew Sullivan
New York, September 19, 2016

"Teaching 1984 in 2016" by Andrew Simmons
The Atlantic, November 20, 2016

"The New Old Masters" by James Panero
City Journal, March 13, 2016

"Boomin! A Day in the Life of a 16-Year-Old Rare Sneaker Dealer" by Lauren Schwartzberg
New York, August 11, 2016

"Behind the Music" by John Lingan
Buzzfeed, January 28, 2016

"Life at One of England’s Last Tolstoyan Communes" by Kelsey Osgood
The New Yorker, January 6, 2016

"An Open Letter to the Next Generation of Artists" by Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock
NestHQ, March 7, 2016

“How Ralph Ellison Changed My Life” by Don Katz
The Daily Beast, November 2, 2016

"What Killed the Jingle?" by Tiffany Stanley
The Atlantic, August 29, 2016

"Natural Selection: How a New Age Hustler Sold the Sound of the World" by Mike Powell
Pitchfork, November 2, 2016

"Let Everybody Sing" by Chuck Reese
The Bitter Southerner, March 9, 2016

"The Rebirth of the City-State" by Corin Faife
How We Get to Next, April 12, 2016

"My Son, the Prince of Fashion" by Michael Chabon
GQ,  September 27, 2016

"Sounds of Justice" by Matt Petronzio
Mashable, October 4, 2016

"The Surprising History of the 'Song of the Summer'" by Phil Edwards
Vox, June 15, 2016

"Should Colleges Really Eliminate the College Lecture?" by Christine Gross-Loh
The Atlantic, July 14, 2016

"Searching for Bilbo Walker" by Eric Benson
Mashable, March 25, 2016

"The Sound of Silence: Jean Sibelius and the Symphony That Never Was" by Sudip Bose
The American Scholar, February 29, 2016

"Tunisia’s Dying Jazz" by Fadil Aliriza
Foreign Policy, August 7, 2016

"How Intellectuals Create a Public" by Corey Robin
The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 22, 2016

"How Staying Small Helps New Directions Publish Great Books" by Maria Bustillos
The New Yorker, February 16, 2016

"Why Most Academics Will Always Be Bad Writers" by Noah Berlatsky
Chronicle of Higher Education, July 11, 2016

"Inside the World of Concert Sign Language Interpreters" by Andrea Marks
Noisey, August 24, 2016

"Dancing to the Music of Time" by Tara Isabella Burton
The Economist, January 29, 2016

"The Scariest Death Metal Band of All Time" by Shaun Prescott
Literary Hub, march 8, 2016

"Black Intellectuals and White Audiences" by Matthew Clair
Public Books, May 1, 2016

"T Bone Burnett’s AmericanaFest Keynote Address" by T Bone Burnett
American Songwriter, September 23, 2016

"The Novel as a Tool for Survival" by Arthur Krystal
The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 6, 2016

"Tributaries of Afrobeat(s)" by Sanya Osha
3:AM Magazine, November 20, 106

"Intellectual Maintenance: The Case for Philosophy Requirements" by Gary Gutting
Commonweal, January 27, 2016

"The World According to Stanislaw Lem" by Ezra Glinter
Los Angeles Review of Books, December 10, 2016

"When Norman Podhoretz Spent the Night With Allen Ginsberg" by Daniel Oppenheimer
Tablet, February 2, 2016

"How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Empty My Shelves" by Alana Massey
Literary Hub, June 13, 2016

"The Big Exit" by Kristin Henderson
The Washington Post, October 27, 2016

"Who was David Hume?" by Anthony Gottlieb
New York Review of Books, May 26, 2016

"Free Speech and the Modern Campus" by Camille Paglia
The Smart Set, May 9, 2016

"Steph Curry and the End of the Warrior’s Underdog Era" by David Dennis, Jr.
The Undefeated, June 28, 2016

"Scandi Crush Saga: How Scandinavian Design Took Over the World" by Sarah Hucal
Curbed, March 23, 2016

"The Disease of Theory: Crime & Punishment at 150" by Gary Saul Morson
The New Criterion, May, 2016

"The Secret to Faking Your Own Death" by Elizabeth Greenwood
Literary Hub, September 26, 2016

"When Music is Violence" by Alex Ross
The New Yorker, July 4, 2016

"Neurothriller" by Patricia Pisters
Aeon, February 8, 2016

"Pee Wee’s Big Comeback" by Jonah Weiner
The New York Times Magazine, February 10, 2016

"Esperanto: The Language that Never Was" by Edward Docx
Prospect, May 19, 2016

"Why People Collect Art" by Erin Thompson
Aeon,  August 23, 2016

"The Lost Art of Letter Writing" by Jon McGregor
The Guardian, November 26, 2016

"Why I Hate Star Wars" by Stephen Galloway
The Hollywood Reporter, November 28, 2016

"The 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time" by Pitchfork Staff
Pitchfork, September 26, 2016

"Why We Need a Music Media Revolution" by James Shotwell
Medium,  October 14, 2016

"The Factory of Fakes" by Daniel Zalewski
The New Yorker, November 28, 2016

Here is a list, in no particular
order, of articles I enjoyed
during 2016. They are mostly
longform essays, with a focus
on arts, culture and humanities,
but with a few interviews, listicles
and articles on sociopolitical
subjects, etc. included as well.
                              T.G.

For a list of my favorite
recordings of the year, click here.

Selected articles by Ted Gioia
available on the web

Ted Gioia can be contacted at
tedgioia@hotmail.com

Also visit
Great Books Guide
The New Canon
Conceptual Fiction
Postmodern Mystery
Fractious Fiction
Ted's Twitter Feed

The African Origins of the Love Song
The Rise of the Fragmented Novel
Why Are Music Scholars Ignoring Musical Universals?
The Adventurer's Guide to Finnegans Wake
Notes on Conceptual Fiction
Has Music Criticism Turned Into Lifestyle Reporting?
Vladimir Nabokov, Sci-Fi Writer
How Sartre Cured Existential Angst with Jazz
If John Coltrane Had Lived
The Decline of Satire
My Year of Horrible Reading
The Backlash Against Jazz
The Con Man Who Invented American Popular Music
The Bumbling Shostakovich
The Rise of Artisan Music
The Year American Speech Became Art
What We've Learned About the NSA
The 8 Memes of the Postmodern Mystery
Ted Gioia Interviews Composer Terry Riley
Why the Fuss About Jonathan Franzen?
Slaves for Love: How Bondage Shaped the Love Song
A Conversation About Jazz with Ted Gioia
The 100 Best Recordings of 2015
The 100 Best Recordings of 2014
The 100 Best Recordings of 2013
The 100 Best Recordings of 2012
The 100 Best Recordings of 2011
The Weirdest 1960s Novel of Them All
Franco: The James Brown of Africa
How Alice Got to Wonderland
Does the Music Business Need Musicianship?
The King of Western Swing
Post Cool
The Year of Magical Reading
Frank Sinatra at 100
What is the Clumsiest Classic Novel?
The Crisis in Music (podcast)
The Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
How to Fix Online Music
My 10 Favorite Novels on Music
A Conversation with Ted Gioia about Love Songs
The Music of the Tango
The Letter That Changed the Course of Modern Lit
The End of the Angry Guitar
Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook
Do Blues Musicians Need to be Really, Really Old?
The Unconventional Sci-Fi of Kurt Vonnegut
Twelve Essential Tango Recordings
Alan Lomax and the FBI
Robert Musil and The Man Without Qualities
Cool Jazz in 100 Tracks (Part 1) (Part 2)
Lecture on the History of Love Songs
Henry James, Horror Writer
Why Only Revolutions Will Not Be Televised
David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest
The Crisis in Music (video lecture)
How Good a Singer Was Dean Martin?
How Music Videos Changed Love Songs
Why Bessie Smith Matters
The Zombification of Popular Music
The New Revolt of the Masses
Was Ambrose Bierce Inspired by Agoraphobia?
Apple's New Paradigm for Music
Fix-Up Artist: The Chaotic SF of A.E. van Vogt
Jazz Vocals in the New Millennium
A History of New Orleans Music in 100 Tracks
The Making of Ulysses
The Great American Novel That Wasn't
In Search of Dupree Bolton
Gulliver's Travels and the Birth of Genre Fiction
Five Essays on Novelist John Fowles
Where Did Our Revolution Go?
How Lester Young Changed the English Language
The Reinvention of the Cowboy Novel
The Many Lives of James Joyce
The Complex Gender History of the Love Song
William Gaddis's The Recognitions
5 Lessons the Music Biz Can Learn from TV
Hipsters: The New Scapegoats
B.B. King's Best Performances
The Most Mysterious Woman in Sci-Fi
12 Memorable Works of Hispanic Fiction
Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice
The Alt Reality Nobel Prize
The Decline of a Great Jazz Record Label
Don DeLillo's Underworld
How NY Became Center of the Jazz World
Milton Nascimento: 12 Essential Tracks
When Science Fiction Grew Up
The Most Influential Film of the 20th Century
Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch
Is Sleep Music a Real Genre?
Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections
Curse You, Neil Armstrong!
Bill Evans: 12 Essential Tracks
Early Vintage Wynton Marsalis
Remembering Cordwainer Smith
My Favorite American Novel
Q&A with Ted Gioia
The Jazz Pianist JFK Saved
A Look Back at Martin Gardner
Robert Heinlein at One Hundred
The Fourteen Skies of Michael Chabon
Is Bird Dead?
Philip K. Dick's VALIS
Why Lester Young Matters
Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire
Making a Case for Clark Ashton Smtih
Who is Grace Kelly?
Italo Calvino's Winter's NIght
Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude
Could Chet Baker Play Jazz?
Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow
The Jazzy Side of Frank Zappa
Fritz Leiber at 100
Günter Grass's The Tin Drum
David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas
Harlem Jazz: 12 Essential Tracks
Mark Z. Danielweski's House of Leaves
The Postmodern Mystery: 50 Essential Works
Art Tatum at 100: 12 Essential Tracks
Fringe Guitar
J.G. Ballard's Crash
Interview with Dana and Ted Gioia
The Puzzling Case of Robert Sheckley
Robert Johnson and the Devil
Fear and Self-Loathing in Scandinavia
Herbie Hancock: 12 Essential Tracks
Remembering Drums of Passion
Three Existential Horror Novels
Keith Jarrett: 12 Essential Tracks
In Defense of The Hobbit
Brad Mehldau: 12 Essential Tracks
David Foster Wallace's The Pale King
The South Asian Tinge in Jazz
Assessing Brad Mehldau at Mid-Career
Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian
Can Clubs Legally Ask Musicians to Play for Free?
Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones
Lennie Tristano: 12 Essential Tracks
Virginia Woolf's Orlando
Why Cool is Dead
A Tribute to Richard Matheson
The Pianism of Denny Zeitlin
The Chronicles of Narnia
David Bowie's Jazz-Oriented Valedictory
Tito Puente: The Complete 78s (1949-1955)
Toni Morrison's Beloved
The Tragedy of Richard Twardzik
Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue
The Science Fiction of Samuel Delany
Can Tarzan Survive in a Post-Colonial World?
Ian McEwan's Atonement
Can a Dictionary be a Novel?
New Details About the Young William Gaddis
Interview with Ted Gioia (on Delta Blues)
William Gaddis's JR
Roberto Bolaño's 2666
Talking to Myself About the State of Jazz
Harper Lee and Her Great Southern Novel
Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain
Italo Calvino's Neglected Sci-Fi Masterpiece
Philip Roth's American Pastoral
Ken Kesey's Novel-in-a-Box
How I Learned I Was a Jazz Fan

Students who buy essays online are being ripped off, according to a report published this week by exam regulator Ofqual. The work they purchase is written by “relatively competent writers”, but who have an “almost universal ignorance of the scope of the work” and an “utter lack of in-depth analysis”. This is completely true. I worked for two of these companies, both from home and “in-house”, which at one point saw 15 of us crammed into the boss’s attic.

Ofqual’s researchers paid up to £220 for essays, but only a fraction of that money goes to the actual writer, who can earn as little as £24 for every 1,000 words. To earn a reasonable rate, a writer needs to finish at least an essay a day. Writers quickly learn the first rule of paid essays: abandon all aspirations to quality, right now.

Despite the fees, the companies contend that they don’t produce “essays” to be handed in at all. Clients buy “research guides” to inspire their own work, in the same way that your Amsterdam souvenirs say “For Tobacco Use Only” on them. But it covers the company: if you hand in your “2:1 Guaranteed” essay and it gets a 2:2, you have already breached your contract by submitting it. There is nothing you can do.

That means for the writer, the game is to hit the word count as quickly as possible. As long as it looks like an essay, the actual words matter very little. Take every shortcut. Rephrase Wikipedia. Always give the counterpoint, no matter how weak: the words “on the other hand” are your new best friend. If you don’t have time to check citations, make them up! If the client can’t be bothered to read a book, he’s not going to check your page numbers.

Quality-checking would vary. One company hired full-time quality staff, but it’s hard to cover every subject area in every discipline, so “quality checks” were rarely more than proofreads. At another company, if you could write on one subject, this qualified you to write on anything. A law graduate would end up doing revision notes on Chinese political history, eventually writing a PhD proposal for an economics student and wondering how they got there. I once wrote a Market Research BA dissertation in two days and heard nothing more of it.

The motivations of the writers were purely mercenary, though those in charge were forced into creative moral gymnastics. “We’re making up for universities’ failings,” they’d say. “These students pay so much for so little. We give them handy research guides.” Writing essays to land rich students no-effort degrees was, to them, a sure route to social justice.

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