People are Stupid, Obnoxious, or Daft

by Etakyma

Fandom:Stargate SG-1
Lyrics provided by:Vilakins
Note:Set before SG-1 is SG-1. Daniel is still in graduate school (shortly before earning his doctorate).

Daniel Jackson sighed deeply before rising from the desk that was piled high with the undergraduate papers that he was tasked with grading. Sometimes the grunt-work associated with being a graduate student and TA made him want to hang up his Number Two pencils for good. Finish his course work, do his dissertation, and get off the academic merry-go-round. Go home to Egypt, the sand and desert that still called to his heart.

Crossing the small office space he shared with four other department graduate students, he turned on the hot plate to make some coffee. If he was expected to wade through the beginning archeology papers, he needed a shot of caffeine. He stretched slightly as he waited for the water to boil, working out the aches and pains of sitting for too long in one place. There really wasn't a lot of unoccupied space in the room. The two shared desks, office and guest chairs took up most of the floor space. A tiny rolling cart with a mini-dorm fridge, toaster oven, and hot plate was shoved into a corner. It wasn't much, but it was quiet at eleven-thirty Friday night. His office-mates were off celebrating the weekend. The graded papers were due back to the students on Monday, so he really didn't have to spend long hours on a Friday night grading them, but he really wanted to get it out of the way so he could work on his dissertation without interruption this weekend.

It wouldn't be so bad, he mused as the water started to steam and small bubbles appeared, if the average undergrad could write coherently. As it was, he was left to pick through badly written, grammar-free prose that might or might not have anything to do with the subject of Archaeology. Tenured professors routinely foisted this kind of drudge work off on their overworked TAs.

Pouring the nearly boiling water over the instant coffee in his cup -- the best he could scrounge up this late at night -- he went back to the paper covered desk.

"Let's see what we have here..." Daniel muttered under his breath. "Oh yes, Ms. Price. What malapropisms do you have for me today?" He winced his way through her opening paragraphs, not a thesis statement in sight.

Removing his glasses to rub at his eyes, Daniel, replaced them with a sigh, and read a bit out loud, as if to make sure he really saw what the student had written. "Any lame person could see this is the king, who continuously daunts high-class apparel and flashy jewelry. I believe you mean "flaunts" not "daunts," and trust you, Ms. Price, to fixate on the accessories on the people represented in the art of the culture the class was studying." Daniel pulled a lined pad of paper closer and made some notes on it before turning back to the student's paper.

He marked Ms. Price's paper with his red pen and moved on to the next one. "And Mr. Harrison, what do you have to say?"

Harrison was on a football scholarship, and unlike many of his more intelligent brethren, he was the personification of a "dumb jock". His papers were generally badly written, with multiple spelling errors. He continually slept through class and made wild guesses on his test papers. Skulls are bad things and symbols of evil people. "Inaccurate in the extreme as usual I am afraid, especially within this culture."

Jackson continued grading, muttering softly to himself that the intelligence of the student body had declined significantly. "Oh this one is a gem! The class does not apply to my major, and quite honestly I only took it because it was a perfect fit for my schedule and a student suggested it to me. Why she thinks imparting that bit of truth will get her anywhere in regards to her grade escapes me. Absolutely escapes me."

"Mr. Callahan, lets see what conspiracy you have for me today." Daniel snorted slightly. Every assignment from Kevin Callahan included a theory of conspiracy that spanned the recorded history of the world. His first paper on the ancient civilizations of the middle east included a full paragraph about the sinking of Atlantis. "Thor, believed the son of Odin and a member of the Aesir, was the god of thunder and the main enemy of the giants. He would smash their heads with his mighty hammer Mjollnir. To wield this awesome weapon he needed iron gloves and a belt of strength. Mjollnir would return to Thor's hand after being thrown and was symbolic of lightning. We can theorize that the weapons attributed to the god Thor were perhaps advanced technology that, to the primitive societies of the time seemed like magic. Whether this technology was terrestrial or extra-terrestrial is unknown. Kevin, Kevin, Kevin... you might was well say the Aesir crash landed in Roswell."

He wrote his comments in the margins of the paper and took points off for the off-topic ramble into the unsubstantiated and ridiculous.

Daniel worked steadily for the next hour. Most of the essays were mundane regurgitations of place names, dates, and ceremonies that the students heard in lectures. Standing and stretching, finally at the end of the tall stack of papers, he decided not to enter the grades that night. He'd do it in the morning while he was fresh, and after he'd had some sleep. He tore the sheet of paper off the pad and gazed at the short list it contained, humming absently. Before exiting the room and turning off the lights, he took a thumbtack and posted the brief list to the already covered bulletin board.

The TAs were in the habit of sharing with each other the funniest of the inaccurate, incorrect, and sometime downright appalling sentences they came across in their student's papers.

His tuneful hum reached the line that always came to him while grading. He sang quietly to himself, "And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause there's bugger-all down here on Earth."

The door clicked closed behind him and he threw the lock before heading across campus for home.

On the bulletin board, Daniel had neatly penned the samples of the student's writing from this week's papers.

"Introduction to Archaeology 101, Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:30am-10:00am Mid-term papers:

  1. His only purpose is to dance around all retarded.
  2. I thought this project was very helping in getting me to think.
  3. It is important to consider the world in an evolutionary contempt.
  4. Skulls are bad things and symbols of evil people
  5. Any lame person could see this is the king, who continuously daunts high-class apparel and flashy jewelry."


Author's Notes

I found this to be challenging, not only because I couldn't decide which fandom best suited the song and lyrics I chose from what was provided to me. I wrote another one using the same song and set of lyrics in the Sentinel fandom, but ultimately decided to go with the SG-1 one because the lyrics are more ironic coming from Daniel Jackson.

The writing samples are real. Although they are actually from a class that is a 101 level for Theatre, not Archeology, I used ones that are general enough to be transferable, or very slightly changed to work in an introduction class for archaeology. And yes, they are actual sentences turned in to professors from undergraduates. University level students actually wrote these. Scary, isn't it?

Galaxy Song

Monty Python

        Whenever life gets you down Mrs. Brown
        And things seem hard or tough
        And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
        And you feel that you've had quite enough...
        Just, remember that you standing on a planet that's evolving
        And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour
        It's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned
        A sun that is the source of all our power
        The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
        Are moving at a million miles a day
        In an outer spiral arm at forty thousand miles an hour
        Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way
        Our galaxy itself, contains a hundred billion stars
        It's a hundred thousand light years side-to-side
        It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick
        But out by us it just three thousand light years wide
        We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point
        We go round every two hundred million years
        And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
        in this amazing and expanding universe
        The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
        In all of the directions it can whiz
        As fast as it can go, the speed of light you know
        Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is
        So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure
        How amazingly unlikely is your birth
        And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
        Cause there's bugger-all down here on Earth.