To: The College Board
From: A word guy
Subject: SAT admission test no longer requiring timed essay
I hate you.
No, "hate" is a word people with superficial and hackneyed vocabularies use. Rather, I censure you for dropping the timed essay portion of the SAT.
While some people are offering adulation for removing this anachronistic requirement, I think your decision was spurious, lacked sagacity, and frankly, will be deleterious to the writing profession.
I don't mean to be disdainful or rancorous. But can't you empathize or at least compromise? Wouldn't it have been more prudent and less impetuous to maintain the essay requirement so that precocious, novice students stand a chance to exhibit their resiliency and aesthetic?
Now, Sir College Board, you will take the essay away.
But not before I write a 25-minute, timed essay following one of your common SAT essay prompts:
"Is creativity needed more than ever in the world today?"
And . . .
Some time ago, Henry David Thoreau wrote Art elevates the quality of the day.
I say "some time ago" not because I'm stalling for time, but because I'm pretty sure he didn't say it last year. And I say "wrote" because I'm pretty sure he wrote this profound statement because it didn't come to him in an algebraic equation. I do know the following anecdote is true. Thoreau napped through his first SAT test -- and the make-up. Feeling remorse, he later sent the College Board a handwritten, 25,000-word essay called "Meditations on Standard Testing: Or How I Hate Bubbling." Regardless, his SAT score remained 0.
But I procrastinate. The point is without art, the day has less quality, i.e., is less equal to, say, the night. Essay writing is an art form. Therefore, if college-bound students aren't tested on essay writing, art will suffer and our days will all turn to night, i.e., darkness.
In conclusion, we need creativity more than ever in the world today or we will live in constant darkness.
(What? Another 15 minutes left?)
What I think the venerable Henry David Thoreau really meant -- now that I have more time to think about it -- is that the quality of the day is ephemeral, transient, even evanescent. One cannot judge quality -- i.e., the day -- only in terms of art. Not to be nonchalant or haughty, but the quality of the day can also be elevated by the quality of one's vocabulary -- assuming one's vocabulary isn't florid, superfluous, or ostentatious.
In conclusion, we need Henry David Thoreau more than ever in the world today.
(Another 3 minutes to kill? Eradicate me now.)
So . . . any of you True Detective fans? Did you see the finale? So cool. So dark. Loved it. Could write an essay about it.
If I had more time.
Follow Rob Hiaasen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RHiaasen