October 26th, 2009 / 9:42 am
Mean

Top 5 MFA rankings rearranged

People are moaning about Poets & Writers’ “2010 MFA Rankings: The Top Fifty,” a list of the best MFA programs in creative writing based on likely variables such as funding, selectivity, and postgraduate placement. ¬†Though we are in the business of words, let us rank the Top 5 programs solely based off their website’s front page banner pictures, since they are to represent academic ethos, or something.

virginia

1. University of Iowa in Iowa City University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Any MFA program that would show a student on their hands and knees writing ‘retard style’ on the cement deserves to be re-ranked to No. 1. If they can’t afford desks, a press release on the subject would not be uncalled for. Notice the open notebook, as this student is probably transcribing some contemporary haiku: Raithins yah I like / Peanuths and cashthews too / my shopping lisp. The autumnal detritus of fallen leaves is a nice touch. Gravity, while inevitable, gives the uncreative something to write about.

mich

2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

It’s not my fault Michigan falls in the same ranking; they really evoke “No. 2,” both in a numerical and scatological sense. They had some flash thing so I had to screenshot the page and clip the pic. This program gets second place because of their water supply. Holy shit that Peter Ho Davies must have a large bladder. He’s talking at a symposium about grants and fellowships no problemo while that Asian lady with the modern dress barely holds it in. Keyword here: intermission.

iowa

3. University of Virginia, Charlottesville University of Iowa in Iowa City

Iowa City, a city in Iowa — now that’s creative. We all know about the famous Iowa Writer’s Workshop, perhaps the most legitimate and effective launching point of any writer’s career, and when I think of ‘awesome literary career’ I think of ‘Asian lady in front of a quilt.’ There are a lot of Asian ladies everywhere; thank you Yoko for getting that started. (Amy Tan either came from Iowa, China or Taiwan — I can’t keep up with her vibrant life.) As for that really nice n’ shiny table, you can thank your tuition for the finest wood varnish in the world, or Iowa.

texas

4. University of Massachusetts, Amherst [tie] University of Texas, Austin

I don’t believe in quotes that rhyme, save it for the Hallmark card. The Vermeer is a little odd, as Austin does little to evoke the great city of Amsterdam. True, people in both places smoke a fair share of marijuana and engage in questionable sexual practices, but in the latter it’s legal. (I call a Budweiser in the ass sodomy, but in Austin it’s merely alcoholism.) ¬†The woman in the painting writes a letter, perhaps to her suitor, or to the admissions office; either way, someone is getting fucked.

umass

4. [5.] University of Texas, Austin [tie] University of Massachusetts, Amherst

This may look like the Brady Bunch of literature, but it’s really just a manipulative implication of career trajectories, to play on the insecurities and/or hubris of prospective students. Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and Shakespeare dealt with delusion, alienation, and mortality, respectively; sounds like a wonderful time. In the humanities, its highest education teaches us what we learn in high school — that life blows. I don’t know who the German-looking lady is on the bottom, but I bet she’s a sad hag.

Writing is like sex: sometimes you have to pay for it. I’m not saying don’t get an MFA, I’m just saying wear a condom. Everybody ends up smelling more funny. Of course I’m kidding. We are all friends here.

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54 Comments

  1. Justin Taylor

      A+

  2. Justin Taylor

      A+

  3. Phoebe

      My program was much more lowly ranked of course (of course, as we are a lowly sort), but I feel like our cheeky heron (“http://www.english.ufl.edu/crw/images/heron_mfa@fla.png”) stealing a typographical symbol would have ranked us highly, if we weren’t so terrible.

      Terrific post.

  4. Phoebe

      My program was much more lowly ranked of course (of course, as we are a lowly sort), but I feel like our cheeky heron (“http://www.english.ufl.edu/crw/images/heron_mfa@fla.png”) stealing a typographical symbol would have ranked us highly, if we weren’t so terrible.

      Terrific post.

  5. mimi

      OK, Jimmy, you’ve done it again. My first audible guffaw of the day came with the lisp haiku. Stellar! Then “No. 2”. What can I say? Your take was the only one about MFA programs that really engaged me (of all the recent blather about MFA programs on HTML g). Me, I have a “BS”. Needs no further comment.

  6. mimi

      OK, Jimmy, you’ve done it again. My first audible guffaw of the day came with the lisp haiku. Stellar! Then “No. 2”. What can I say? Your take was the only one about MFA programs that really engaged me (of all the recent blather about MFA programs on HTML g). Me, I have a “BS”. Needs no further comment.

  7. ravi

      Well done, sir.

  8. ravi

      Well done, sir.

  9. Justin Taylor

      Phoebe your program is awesome, and the city you live in is too!

  10. Justin Taylor

      Phoebe your program is awesome, and the city you live in is too!

  11. stu

      Couldn’t be more right about Austin. Love it.

  12. stu

      Couldn’t be more right about Austin. Love it.

  13. a moorad

      I call a Budweiser in the ass remarkable.

  14. a moorad

      I call a Budweiser in the ass remarkable.

  15. mimi

      I too was impressed.
      Go Longhorns!

  16. mimi

      I too was impressed.
      Go Longhorns!

  17. davidpeak

      the “asian lady” in pic #2 is nami mun. she is great.

      and

      “Gravity, while inevitable, gives the uncreative something to write about.”

      as someone who has actually written a poem called “gravity” (and had it published), and in the spirit of mean week, i’d like to just issue a hardy “fuck you.”

  18. davidpeak

      the “asian lady” in pic #2 is nami mun. she is great.

      and

      “Gravity, while inevitable, gives the uncreative something to write about.”

      as someone who has actually written a poem called “gravity” (and had it published), and in the spirit of mean week, i’d like to just issue a hardy “fuck you.”

  19. davidpeak

      and by “hardy” i mean “hearty”

  20. davidpeak

      and by “hardy” i mean “hearty”

  21. davidpeak

      though “a hardy fuck you” is funny

  22. davidpeak

      though “a hardy fuck you” is funny

  23. mimi

      and a hearty hard fuck is fun

  24. mimi

      and a hearty hard fuck is fun

  25. Aaron

      love this jimmy! I’m going to write comments retard style on people’s stories in my next workshop and see who freaks out. “tloo mluch explosition,” i’ll scribble in the margins, and “whose the real retard here?”

  26. Aaron

      love this jimmy! I’m going to write comments retard style on people’s stories in my next workshop and see who freaks out. “tloo mluch explosition,” i’ll scribble in the margins, and “whose the real retard here?”

  27. Erin

      This is awesome.

      And Oscar Wilde as Mike Brady seems a little too intentional.

  28. Erin

      This is awesome.

      And Oscar Wilde as Mike Brady seems a little too intentional.

  29. Erin

      Oh man, I just checked. He’s Carol. Sorry about that. But Beckett is definitely Peter.

  30. Erin

      Oh man, I just checked. He’s Carol. Sorry about that. But Beckett is definitely Peter.

  31. Phoebe

      Yeah, I know! I was just joshing on account of our ranking as #21!

  32. Phoebe

      Yeah, I know! I was just joshing on account of our ranking as #21!

  33. pablo

      this post makes you look like an asshole.

  34. pablo

      this post makes you look like an asshole.

  35. Blake Butler

      hehe, man, for reals

  36. Blake Butler

      hehe, man, for reals

  37. Jimmy Chen

      ok pablo picasshole

  38. Jimmy Chen

      ok pablo picasshole

  39. Tadd Adcox

      Oh my God, Jimmy Chen, if it weren’t inappropriately nice to do so on mean week, I’d say you are now my favorite writer of all time, based on this post.

  40. Tadd Adcox

      Oh my God, Jimmy Chen, if it weren’t inappropriately nice to do so on mean week, I’d say you are now my favorite writer of all time, based on this post.

  41. Sean

      I wish people did more Mean Week openings like this!!

      Confirms Chen as the best HTML Giant poster.

      BTW, where are the others? WTF? Blake, Ryan, Jimmy, do all the the heavy lifting?

      Fuck that.

      S

  42. Sean

      I wish people did more Mean Week openings like this!!

      Confirms Chen as the best HTML Giant poster.

      BTW, where are the others? WTF? Blake, Ryan, Jimmy, do all the the heavy lifting?

      Fuck that.

      S

  43. Orgrease

      condom? how about cast-iron diapers to avoid anal consumption?

  44. Orgrease

      condom? how about cast-iron diapers to avoid anal consumption?

  45. Tom Healy

      The reassignment surgery on the mfa rankings was funny enough, but when you called that killjoy dude in the comments “pablo picasshole,” I almost lost my lunch. All over that nice and shiny, corn-fed Iowa table.

  46. Tom Healy

      The reassignment surgery on the mfa rankings was funny enough, but when you called that killjoy dude in the comments “pablo picasshole,” I almost lost my lunch. All over that nice and shiny, corn-fed Iowa table.

  47. Actually, We’re #1 « Meridian – The Semi-Annual from the University of Virginia

      […] October 30th, 2009 You all have to take a look at this hilarious blog post from HTML Giant, “Top 5 MFA Rankings Rearranged“, that places UVA at the top of P&W’s rankings (where we belong, of course). […]

  48. idiotmusic

      […] Top 5 MFA rankings rearranged […]

  49. Redheadjazzwriterchick

      This rocks. And I have to agree, the German chick looks like a sad hag. If I’m going to pay for sex or my MFA, she would be my last choice to dole out either. I pretty much peed myself reading this. THIS IS THE NEW STANDARD OF WHICH I SHOULD JUDGE ALL MFA PROGRAMS AND I PROCLAIM YOU MY NEW LEADER. thanks for making me lose my bladder control.

  50. Redheadjazzwriterchick

      This rocks. And I have to agree, the German chick looks like a sad hag. If I’m going to pay for sex or my MFA, she would be my last choice to dole out either. I pretty much peed myself reading this. THIS IS THE NEW STANDARD OF WHICH I SHOULD JUDGE ALL MFA PROGRAMS AND I PROCLAIM YOU MY NEW LEADER. thanks for making me lose my bladder control.

  51. Redheadjazzwriterchick

      and…to add…I think this post would have been more effective if you would have made a diorama out of the top two or three schools. You know, extra credit project. I’d love to make a diorama with you guys and I think we should have diorama contests more often in the real world. And. I like turtles.

  52. Redheadjazzwriterchick

      and…to add…I think this post would have been more effective if you would have made a diorama out of the top two or three schools. You know, extra credit project. I’d love to make a diorama with you guys and I think we should have diorama contests more often in the real world. And. I like turtles.

  53. QS

      UMass Amherst is among the very best for poetry and it will continue to move up the rankings in future.

  54. QS

      UMass Amherst is among the very best for poetry and it will continue to move up the rankings in future.