Thursday, January 8, 2009

How to Fail AP English

A friend of mine recently gained infamy for an essay written for AP English, simply entitled "Your Mom". To quote him:

I submitted it to my AP English teacher and she flipped. She said it
was one of the most inappropriate things ever. She even called me out of PreCalc
to talk about it. Hah.

'It's not even an essay. The entire second page is basically just a wave of
obscenities hitting me in the face'

Here is the essay's full text. Enjoy:

“Your Mom”

In recent decades, it has become customary to use more abstract methods of insult rather than simply attacking the opponent directly. To this end, western society has come up with an intriguing route, that of attacking the mother. The interesting factor here is the deterioration of the opponent’s filial piety in a mocking fashion. There are many manifestations of the “your mother” jest which will be explored individually.

One of the most common forms of a “your mother” joke is the double entendre. For example, let’s say Person A said, “I want to give you something” to Person B. In typical joking fashion, Person B may reply with, “That’s what your mom said to me last night!” Alternatively, Person A could ask something to the effect of, “What is your dad doing over there?” and Person B could appropriately respond, “Your mom!” Finally, in another instance, Person A might casually ask, “What do you want to do next?” and Person B, given this prompt, could easily answer, “Your mom, of course!”

In addition to the aforementioned simple innuendo manifestations, “your mother” jokes also present themselves in generic formulas, such as, “Your mother is so X, she’s Y!” Typical substitutions for “X” include, but are not limited to; “fat,” “stupid” and “ugly.” For example, a typical insult could be, “Your mother is so fat, she has her own zip code!” The implication is that the mother is so large she has been classified as a separate territory and has subsequently been given a location code. Another formula often used is the simile form, i.e. the extremely sexual and vulgar: “Your mother’s like a bowling ball: she gets fingered, chucked in the gutter and still comes back for more!”

Lastly, there are the nonsensical examples, also called non sequitur “your mother” jokes. It follows as Person A exclaims, “I told you to knock before you enter my room!” Person B, may respond with a nonsensical, “Your mom!” In this example the reason is disregarded and the tense scenario is instead turned into a bad joke, quickly brushed off by making an irrelevant statement.

While these jokes have been in popular use more recently, there is also evidence of their employment in casual conversation centuries past. Archaic “your mother” jokes occur in classical literature. For instance, William Shakespeare wrote in Act I, Scene I of the play, Timon of Athens, “Painter: ‘Y'are a dog,’” to which the character Apemantus responded, “‘Thy mother's of my generation. What's she, if I be a dog?’”[fixed your quotations] Such a literary device is also employed in the play, Titus Andronicus, in Act IV, Scene II, where Aaron mocks his lover’s sons:

“Demetrius: ‘Villain, what hast thou done?’

Aaron: ‘That which thou canst not undo.’

Chiron: ‘Thou hast undone our mother.’

Aaron: ‘Villain, I have done thy mother.’”

Both of these examples illustrate earlier historical usage of what would otherwise be contemporary jesting.These “your mother” jokes illustrate how contemporary society and even society from past centuries can be grotesque in its humor. It also demonstrates that, often, the source of ridicule is not a defining characteristic of the opponent, but rather the origin of the opponent, and thus an indirect generalization.


Dylan said...


I hope your blog isnt tracked by google though.

lol this might be bad for colleges.

oh well though.

Anonymous said...

Well, you weren't mentioned by name. :P And it's not.

Anonymous said...

the best bloody blog I've read!!! Thanks for the decemberists link, that's how I ended up reading all this. I'm working my way back from the 1st post.

Elijah Houle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Guess how I found this page? Search "AP Eng fail" in google. First one.