Relationships Are Texts Also: How Well Do You READ?

“He’s Just Not That Into you (No, Really Girl — He Isn’t)”  by Janelle Harris

I read this article and laughed because it is not only funny but smart.  The best part is the “around-the-way” girl style she chooses. If she were my student writing an essay, I’d make her write in a more professional style, with no slang or her clever attitude.  Ironically, what makes this article so entertaining is something I’d grade down for if one of my students wrote in the same manner.

However, the rules are different for her as a professional writer, writing for a popular magazine and a different kind of audience. I want you to read this article in its entirety. I hope like me you are struck by how INSIGHTFUL the writer is.

I’ve pulled out her main three points:

3) He ain’t even puttin’ a ring on your phone, much less your finger.

2) He turns down the nookie.

1) All of a sudden, he’s got jokes. Personal ones.

Now, first of all in a paper, you couldn’t use “ain’t” nor could you abbreviate or cut off word endings like the author did “puttin’.”  And in a paper for college or a professional setting, you certainly wouldn’t be using the word “nookie.” On her essay, I’d write “diction/word choice — no slang allowed!”  Finally, I’d consider point #1 a major grammatical error — a fragment — “Personal ones.” I’d probably write — ‘this is an incomplete idea — where’s a complete subject and predicate??’

So why do I like this article so much?  I like it so much because despite all the casual language, slang, and grammar issues — rules one can break once you know the rules — her critical thinking is excellent.

So what is critical thinking?  In my title, I wrote relationships are “texts.”  A text is more than a written work or a textbook for class.  A text is every action, every situation, every human being, and every event that happens in the world.  Critical thinkers learn how to read which really means INTERPRET and EXPLAIN the underlying meaning of the text in question.  Having this ability to read the text means being a powerful person who can connect data together to find underlying meanings and patterns.  While others miss the point, often a subtle point, the critical thinker can compare, contrast and find meaning in places,situations, and people that others can’t.

We all have the ability to read between the lines a little bit.  For instance, here’s a popular culture critical thinking expression — “the booty call.”  Yes, I wrote, “the booty call.”  As you may or may not know, a booty call is loosely defined as a call late at night from someone with whom you’ve previously been intimately involved but who you don’t really date or see regularly anymore.  Despite that distance,  one person is still receptive to the occasional “visit” for physical activity. The thing about a booty call is it’s late at night, usually when you’re in bed.  And the call goes something  like this:

“Hey.”

“Hey, what you doing?” (now let’s be mindful it’s 2 am in the morning)

“Nothing” (which translates to — yes, you can come over and….)

“Okay, I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”

“Alright, I’ll be here.”

See, what I mean?  Everyone has critical thinking skills. When you say “booty call” everyone knows what that means.  And afterwards, the person can expect not to hear from the caller again until he or she is in the mood again.  And be advised this term “booty call” coined in the 90’s has fallen off as current slang; however, the latest form in the 21st century, still a booty call, is a text on the phone.  Same thing, different technology —

Okay, so now that you have a sense of what critical thinking is — understanding what isn’t stated. Let’s get back to the article I want you to read, ” “He’s Just Not That Into You (No, Really Girl He Isn’t.)”

In Janelle Harris’s  article, she brings her considerable critical thinking skills to focus on something very real and important — relationships between men and women.  From her experience, observations, and significantly developed critical thinking skills, her text of choice is females who don’t seem to pick up when it’s over and they need to let go. (Arguably, everything Janelle offers is probably applicable to same-sex couples as well).

At any rate, Janelle makes her claims. She provides some evidence, her examples about women asking their friends’ boyfriends, etc…. However, the author is not trying to forcefully argue in a sustained fashion her points. (after all this isn’t a college essay) but she offers plenty of explanation and interpretation.

All good writing, whether it is an essay in a college freshman composition course or a funny article on relationships, share common traits — claims (thesis statement and topic sentences) that are fully developed and supported with evidence and compelling interpretation and explanation.

Or better yet, all good writing is direct, clear, understandable, and supported.

So, read the article. Learn from it. Apply what I’ve written here to your own writing and keep learning.

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5 Comments

5 thoughts on “Relationships Are Texts Also: How Well Do You READ?

  1. I enjoyed this article also; it brought a smile to my face. I found it interesting, insightful and entertaining. After reading your comments and response I also came to agree with you. Janelle stated a claim and then gave supporting details and examples to back up her thinking and ideas. I couldn’t agree more on the changing her word diction because this article may come off as highly inappropriate in a college English class but none the less she thought outside of the box and showed us what a real critical thinker is and what type of work they do.

  2. I agree that she should change her wordidng out of respect of her college english class. But other than that the article was great she gave a significant amount of details in her supporting points/examples. through reading this article it kept reminding me of the event held on campus “How to be a Queen.” This event was an insight of a womens perspective of how women feel in a relationship and what she can do to be a queen and what a man can do to be her King.

  3. This article was so true and i do agree that her wording was not something a college professor would be ok with. collin i agree but this would definitly be something that doesn’t make you a queen. she did start off good and gave her explanation and details so we could see it first hand ourselves.

  4. This article was very interesting. The fact that she broke down the meaning of when a female should move on was very insightful for most females. The author had a thesis and direct claims and evidence to support her thesis. Furthermore, she gave examples that were interesting and humorous for most individuals. Her details made you want to contune to read the story.

    • TO BE CLEAR, THIS ARTICLE IS NOT WRITTEN BY A COLLEGE ENGLISH STUDENT. MY POINT WAS THAT IT IS STILL EFFECTIVE BECAUSE IT IS CLEAR WITH DIRECT CLAIMS,EVIDENCE,AND EXAMPLES. THE STYLE IS DIFFERENT AND THE AUDIENCE IS DIFFERENT. AS A RESULT, SHE IS NOT REQUIRED TO FOLLOW THE SAME RULES YOU ALL ARE AS PROFESSIONALS IN YOUR MAOR OR AS STUDENT WRITERS. The main point also of my blog here is you need to write clearly with a direct claim (thesis) and good supporting development (evidence and explanation/interpretation). —

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