Freakin’ MLA

David Hancock, Staff Writer

Dear inventors of MLA,

I hate you. You’re stupid and no one cares about your stupid English rules.

You suck,
David Hancock

Dear normal people,

Don’t you hate MLA format? I drives me crazy! It is literally rules just for the sake of rules. There is nothing logical about having so strict a format that no one can even follow it correctly. The only purpose it serves is to satisfy the OCD of the 4 or so people who actually care about it while the rest of us suffer.

I know I’ve said it before, but I hate rules that don’t make sense. To me, they symbolize the perversion of reason by those who think they are the experts on reason, but really are not. They are the Laputans from Gulliver’s Travels, whose name derives from a quote Martin Luther who said “that whore, reason.” In Gulliver’s Travels, the Laputans are so consumed by their logic and their reason that they don’t even see how unrealistic and, quite frankly, ridiculous their rules are. Maybe the creators of MLA should take one eye off of the sky and the other eye off the inside of their heads and actually look at the world of pissed off teenagers who are sick of catering to their whorish citation needs.

If you’ll notice in the paragraph above, I didn’t “correctly” cite Gulliver’s Travels. If you’ll also notice, you knew exactly what I was talking about! I don’t need a parentheses, author’s name, page number, and another parentheses for you to understand what I’m talking about. I said it was from Gulliver’s Travels, isn’t that enough? Sure, I could add the author’s name, which I probably should because Jonathan Swift is the biggest savage in history, but it’s not like the reader is gonna get confused and think I’m talking about another Gulliver’s Travels!

And no, I’m not gonna italicize Gulliver’s Travels. Why? BECAUSE IT DOESN’T MATTER!!! You know I’m talking about the book when I talk about it. If you don’t know what it is or who’s the author, you’ll just Google it anyways. You’re not gonna read my works cited page and suddenly by illuminated by all the “knowledge” within it. And honestly, you don’t learn anything from a works cited page anyways. All you see are a ton of random periods and commas and names you don’t recognize and the word “print” like a billion times. Oh, I’m sorry, did I need to specify that the book I read was printed? Thank you, MLA people, that’s such a valid concern. Because you know, the MLA people just need to be sure that you weren’t reading your copy of The Hunger Games on its original stone tablet or reading it in the stars where it was derived. (Hint, SARCASM! BOOKS ARE ALWAYS PRINTED)

To be honest, I don’t even think most authors would even care if they are cited in their source or not. It’s not like they’re rappers, who need the credit for their work because they’re so insecure and need to be recognized by others to feel validated. If you became an author to be famous, you chose the wrong profession. If you were after fame just be a politician or serial killer. An author’s main concern should be the impact they leave on their readers, not whether or not the readers recognize them as impacting them or not. If they did, they’d be like someone who goes to feed the homeless because they want to be seen as someone who feeds the homeless, not because they actually care about another human being. In English, we call them posers.

Maybe the MLA people know better than I, but I don’t assume that all my favorite artists and authors are posers. I believe that they care about the work first and themselves second. Yeah, I believe in giving credit where it’s due (pirating songs is for jerks, by the way), but why should it matter how it’s structured? If we were given freedom from the chains of MLA our essays would actually get the point across and not have the authors’ names repeated a billion times and taking away from the message they tried to convey in the first place. I don’t think God cares if I correctly cite the Bible. I think the fact that I remembered what He told me is good enough.

If you’re an author who cares more about receiving credit for your words than what your words meant, you’re a hypocrite and an idiot. Your words are not your own anyways, even if you said them. If you don’t agree with me, fine, be all MLA about it. But the next time you say the sky is blue I expect you to cite your eyes for seeing it, your mother for giving birth to you, the maker if every meal you’ve eaten that gave your eyes the nourishment needed to see the sky, and the inventor of the color and word “blue” (yes, I expect you to spend hours online to find this out).

If you’re getting the sense that maybe citing sources is a waste of time, then I officially like you. If we focused more of the content of our sources and less on how they’re presented, maybe we’d be a smarter and more insightful society. Maybe if we stopped catering to the peevish professors of MLA we could actually get things done instead of wasting hours citing sources we’ve already made explicitly clear we are trying to give credit to.

Just a thought.

David Hancock