This week was one of my favorites in terms of teaching, as I got to repeat a lesson plan I created (more like stole, really, and adapted) a couple years back. And, as usual, the results from my students were hilarious.
My classes are inching up to their least favorite point in the semester: the dreaded research paper. And, as such, we have to discuss the different ways in which they will be incorporating outside sources: quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing. (For those of you who haven’t taken English 101 in a while, summarizing is condensing an argument, while paraphrasing research means, essentially, to present another person’s ideas in your own words.)
We talk extensively (too extensively, most of them would say) in class about scholarly sources, which make up the bulk of what my students actually use in their papers, as well as throughout the rest of their college career. So, as a bit of a break for them (and to keep things interesting for myself), we practiced summarizing and paraphrasing with the one thing more difficult to decipher than scholarly articles—which is, of course, pop song lyrics.
Here, I present the best work of the day:
“Just Dance” by Lady Gaga
Paraphrase of Stanzas Three and Four:
In the third stanza, Lady Gaga wishes that the alcohol didn’t make her so flirtatious. She realizes that her shirt is inside out, but has no recollection for how it became that way. Alcohol seems fun in the moment, but there may be nasty side effects, particularly during the following morning. Everyone in the club decides to ignore these drawbacks and drink a lot. In Akon’s stanza, the singer enters the club to a fine array of women shaking their backsides on the dance floor. He is impressed with what he sees. In turn, he will dance to impress these women. One woman catches his eye with her energy. She has very advanced dance moves. He wants her to come home with him and have sex. For the time being, however, he is content with just watching.
“All the Single Ladies” by Beyonce Knowles
Beyonce calls on single women everywhere to encourage their significant others to propose to them. She also describes that the best way to provoke men and make them jealous is to dance with other men while dressed in your finest club attire. She includes that if men do not recognize what they have and propose to their respective girlfriends, they will inevitably die old, cold, and alone. She concludes by telling her significant other directly that without his expression of devout love, she will disappear, and he will remain by himself indefinitely.
Solitary women everywhere (x4), Raise up your hands
I am in the club, and I am single
I’m doing as I please
You chose to descend and now wish to fall
Because somebody else happened to observe me
I am holding myself against him, and he reciprocates
I wept for a few years
Do not be angry
He grabs my haunches
Embraces me more firmly than my Levis
I am drinking alcohol and misbehaving
I care not for your thoughts
I can do whatever I want, and
Do not look at the other guy
You are too late
And now you will know
The true nature of my absence from your life
Do not misuse me
I ain’t no hoe
I would gladly choose your love, it is what I merit
Observe, a man who composes me,
and transports me
to a galaxy far far away
Take hold of me
Iterate your desire for me
Otherwise you will whither away by yourself like an old emaciated woman alone in a cabin in the woods
And like a fearsome apparition, I shall disappear.
Raise your appendages.
“Your Love is My Drug” by Ke$ha
Ke$ha is obsessed with an unnamed male lover. Her friends and family express concern, but she disregards them. She compares her love to drug addiction, in that she is worried her physical appearance and decision making ability will decline as a result of her obsession. She also refers to a “rush” a slang term used among drug users, which she desires. The object of her desire is not clean-shaven.