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An invention we'd be better off without - essay critique

lesharo 1 / -  
Apr 9, 2010   #1
Hey there, thanks for clicking! To clear up, this is a practice college essay, with a prompt taken from a website. I'm only a sophomore in high school, but I want to start preparing now. Please keep in mind that the targeted school for this essay is Sarah Lawrence -- a liberal arts college focused on writing -- but I'm not writing solely for SLC, so I want to know if this type of unstructured voice is alright for anywhere. Feedback is appreciated, constructive criticism loved! Thanks so much.

What invention would the world be better off without, and why?
I suppose if I could pick an invention the world would be better off without, I'd have to choose, in a squeaker over Crocs, Hummers, and pre-ripped jeans, the television.

(At least one person reading this is, I'm sure, having a minor 'Yeah, totally! Oh wait, I think Glee comes on tonight! How dare she?!' moment. I bet you five dollars.)

My reasoning behind this, Glee fans, is complex, and it's not because I have the social and mental tendencies of a ninety-year-old curmudgeon stubbornly refusing to buy a computer because "back in my day we didn't need the inter-net to talk to people or buy clothes, dammit!" The television is not like the computer; there are never actual reasons to watch TV. Sure, I may want to watch The History Channel for some good ol' fashioned learnin' about WWI, but how long am I realistically going to stay tuned into that program before something more flashy, say, Project Runway (pre-Lifetime, of course), shows up and I unthinkingly switch channels, enticed by the prospect of being entertained by loud, hilariously clueless contestants designing endearingly awful outfits for Lady Gaga?

The answer is not very long, and therein lies one of my problems with television. I can watch it to learn, but more likely I will instead waste away the hours mindlessly maiming my innocent little brain cells, observing such critical moments like Boston Rob being voted off Survivor or the announcement of the winner of that season's America's Next Top Model. The hours that I could have spent doing something, you know, perfectly productive and positive (say that three times fast) was instead blown on staring blankly at this little box with funny moving pictures in it.

And the god damn commercials that come on every five minutes, reminding us that our car tires definitely need to be replaced, or to make sure to pick up the new season of that great medical show everyone's been Tweeting about, only $19.95 if you get it TODAY!, only serve to cripple the weak-minded individuals who totter around, eating at Cracker Barrel and living off of retirement, who don't know any better than to plop down on their couch and lay back and let corporations brainwash them into believing that they really, really need that new car, even if they probably should be saving so they have enough money to pay for next month's food. The sad thing is that people all around America and the world don't get it. They don't realize that by watching these ads, these horrible advertisements for useless garbage that serves no purpose, they are killing themselves, pandering their lives as the big businesses make money off of things like the Littlest Pet Shop (collect all 65!) animals and Shamwows.

I don't want the world to have glaze-over eyes, thickset calves, and entirely too much shit piling up around their houses. I don't want people to waste their lives watching as other people live on TV, regretting the fact that they couldn't be just like those Connors. Live your on damn lives, people. Get up. Read a book. Help someone out. Just turn off Jersey Shore and nobody gets hurt.

lydever91 5 / 13  
Apr 10, 2010   #2
One thing you will not want to do in an essay is cuss like a sailor lol. There are teachers and professors out there who won't want to see "god damn" in an essay their student wrote.

I'm totally with the idea of the t.v. not being invented, too, but what brings up the internet? You should say: "In my day, we never had to sit on our butt to know that the local store is selling an item that everyone should buy."

--College student--
librarylover 2 / 9  
Apr 12, 2010   #3
Very funny, and very true.
But I think that if you want to be a little more professional, you should start with a list of the pros and cons of television (to help organize your arguement).

You can add to the list of cons the negative effects that television has on health, spending, and family bonding. Also, you might be interested in looking up Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821). She had a vision of a black box in the corner of every living room from which the devil would come out. Remember, this was way before television was invented, and she did not understand the vision at the time. But look how it has been fulfilled!

Good luck on your paper : )
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Apr 13, 2010   #4
I want to know if this type of unstructured voice is alright for anywhere

What is unstructured voice? structure means to have topic sentences that tell the main idea of paragraphs and support the thesis statement. That is sometimes important, sometimes not. For admission, structure is important.

Use dashes in this situation:
I suppose if I could pick an invention the world would be better off without, I'd have to choose -- in a squeaker over Crocs, Hummers, and pre-ripped jeans -- the television.

And the god damn commercials that come on--- Be careful, "Goddamn" is super offensive to some people because of religious sentiment. If you do use it, I think it is one word, not two. :-)

haha oh wow, this is the most profanity I have seen in an admissions essay. It is fine in the practice essay but not in the real one.

You have a GREAT writing style and a promising future for sure. I see that what you meant by "unstructured voice" was "informal tone." I like it. However, when you do the real essay choose a topic that expresses your plan for th future. So if you plan on being a dentist, write about the folly of the invention of soda. If you plan to be an activist for peace, write about the folly of inventing the gun.

Your goal is to show that you have a clear plan and that you are hell bent on achieving it. That is what inspires readers. :-)

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