Gagging Me With “Goo Goo”

The story “Mary Sue is Goo Goo for Johnny” has absolutely nothing to do with offshore wind turbines, but is a good example of the many pitfalls of Internet research. For anyone who Googles (or perhaps Bings) terms like “Goo Goo Dolls,” “Johnny Reznick,” or, for some strange reason, the word “phantasmagorical,” there is the potential that this little bit might appear. The undiscerning research eye could possibly be sucked into thinking that dear Mary Sue actually met the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls, but hopefully would quickly realize that any article that includes “BTW” and “LMAO” can in no way, shape, or form be an accurate account of a true event.

In critiquing this piece I must point out one crucial thing: it’s suppose to be bad. This sort of ruins the momentum of my own post, but Mary Sue is actually an English teacher providing examples of “bad” writing. Still, for the sake of argument let’s pretend there is a Mary Sue in Buffalo, New York, who wrote this story for her fellow groupies. The majority of them are most likely also her friends, making Mary Sue’s expected reading audience, judging by the story’s sugar high, hormone-driven pace, a gaggle of goo-goo preteens. So the literary expectations weren’t really all that high to begin with.

If Mary Sue (or that sneaky English teacher) somehow stumbles upon this blog (and the various other posts currently being entered by an army of UO Journalism students), I have the following suggestions:

1 – Don’t be afraid of spell check. It can only help.

2 – Group similar concepts together. For example, when describing yourself in the first line, don’t suddenly throw in how hot you think Mr. Reznick is (a point I totally agree with). Even though that’s important information, it doesn’t fit the flow of what you initially set out to address, i.e. who you are.

3 – Provide some structure. Granted, you were writing this for your personal enjoyment and maybe some giggles with girlfriends, but the whole piece will come out stronger by providing what high school teachers like to call a “roadmap.” By say providing some background on how you met Mr. Reznick, you not only give something for the reader to sink into, but also create tension that makes that final meeting with the rock god all the more exciting.

So for all my fellow Internet researchers out there, take this from this tangent of a blog post: make sure you know what you’re reading.

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