FALL 2015
ENGL 220

{aka, Mirror Rules}

Literature, Film, Art, & the Internet in the Age of the Smartphone and the Digital Humanities

William A. Nericcio | memo@sdsu.edu
Director, MALAS; Professor, English y CompLit

ear hallucinating English 220 Students, Fall 2015 @ SDSU! On this page you will find the various laws that rule our 21st century hallucinatory nation; here you will find all the little gates, cages, locks, and handcuffs, all the meager statutes, ordinances, edicts, and principles that allow our experimental collective to thrive--that stoke our collective electric imagination!

Let me underscore that you have absolute intellectual freedom in our  experimental literature-filled seminar, BUT to receive these awesome rights, you must also succumb to the reasonable responsibilities outlined here on this page.

After all, we want to have a blast, be the best literature/film studies class on the West Coast, even (take that Stanford! Eat my dust CAL BERKELEY)! But to do that, we need some peace and quiet--a safe asylum within which to forge our mirror-filled intellectual wanderlust, to amplify our lucid literary and cinematic hallucinations. So, then, read these laws carefully and thoroughly, so when you walk into GMCS 333, aka MIRRORLANDIA, you will know what to do and what not to do!




When you enter this room for class you will have finished the reading that appears on the day-to-day class calendar! FINISHED (not started, not skimmed, not glanced)! Coming to a university literature/film/cultural studies class without doing the reading is like a gardener trying to raise roses without getting her/his hands filthy with shit, a surgeon trying to operate without a scalpel, a fireman without an ax, a streetwalker without, er, well, I better stop there. 

Do the readings.  Do them twice if you can MAKE the time!

I know, you are saying to yourself, "they don't make me read in my other classes" or some other sort of nonsense..... well here, you must!

Please think twice about joining us if you have not finished the readings--the quality of our class depends upon your dedicated work and your relentless and independent curiosity. Without your periodic intellectual donations, the class is likely to evolve into a boring, even painful waste of time. 


Your laptop will be asleep IN YOUR BAGS during class--or, better yet, resting in your dorm room or apartment.

Have you noticed how anytime a student uses a laptop in an auditorium there is a "cone of distraction" alongside and behind the student using a computer?

This is usually due to said student surfing the web via wi-fi perusing erotic delights or god knows what. I was recently at a cool (ok, it was slightly boring, I confess) lecture by a noted writer--as I tried to listen to her, in front of me, a diverted student, there, no doubt, for extra-credit, was perusing sites like these (nsfw or school). So, laptops are GREAT for entering your notes AFTER class, but they will not be allowed in our lecture hall. If you have an issue with this, schedule a meeting with me during office hours the first week of class.

Your beloved magnificent iPhone, your cherished Galaxy, your fetishized htcONE, or even your primordial pager will be off, off, OFF during class meetings; if for some reason you are expecting an emergency call, set it on VIBRATE (for privacy, pleasure, or both!) and sit in the back near an exit after letting me know in advance before class that you are expecting an emergency phonecall. Cellphones KILL collective spaces of learning with their ill-timed, annoying clattering rings, bongs, squeaks, chirps, and themes.

Yes, the trauma of that delayed text, yes, the horror of that missed hook-up call, yes, the loss of the buzz of that random Tinder swipe will no doubt doom you to years and years on an psychoanalyst's couch, but we, the rest of us, will gain some silence, a kind of sanctuary without which ideas wither on the vine. We are NOT joking about this unthinkable edict! Don't end up like this former student from another Engl 220 I taught back in the day:

click to enlarge

PASSPORT RULE 3.333 Charlie-Delta_Thief:

PLAGIARISM is for cads, thieves, and idiots who desire an "F" for the class. Plagiarism comes from the Latin word, "plagiarius" which means kidnapper, plunderer, or (get this!) thief--not a GOOD thing. In the university, plagiarism refers to the art and crime of presenting other people's work under your own signature, aka cutting and pasting copied crap from wikipedia--definitely a BAD thing. While your professor is forbidden by CSU/SDSU code from tattooing the word LOSER on the foreheads of guilty students, he can promise that felonious students will be remanded to the state-authorized SDSU executioners.  Read THIS as well--SDSU is SERIOUS about this shit, so don't take any chances!  Rely on your own mind and your own precious imagination!

Other Requirements!!!!


You will be asked to write TWO Analytical Imagination Challenges, 3-5 page essays, during the course of the term. Please note that you will never be compelled to write about something you absolutely loathe. Please see me or your amazing GTAs during office hours as brainstormings essay topics is totally cool. There will be an Imagination Challenge In-Class Festival (aka, the FINAL EXAM) on the last regularly scheduled day of class: Thursday December 10, 2015. Your final is absolutely comprehensive; it assumes you have read all the books and screened all the movies that are part of our required work. If you do the work, the final is a breeze--even "fun" if you can believe it. If you slack off, you will find the Imagination Challenge In-Class Festival as enjoyable as being the waiter for the Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo clan!


One social media site for this class, Facebook-based, is located here. If you are a member of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg’s mad hallucinatory experiment in digitized, self-mirroring, then you are expected to post class-related links, images, videos, articles, etc at least ONCE a month or 5 total for the whole semester. If you have not bought into Zuckerberg’s mad experiment and stay away from Facebook like the plague, you have a second choice--you can directly submit a posting to the Hallucinating Mirrors Tumblr page.

Me and your GTAs will be posting course-related materials to our Facebook and Tumblr sites from time to time—feel free to follow the page and make suggestions for additions/deletions. If both Facebook and Tumblr remain alien to your consciousness, you can send your suggested links/images/videos to me via email to memo@sdsu.edu; I don’t promise that I will post ALL of your forwarded materials but I will try, however, to see that some of them make their way to the fabulous internets.  


During the semester, you can expect several In-class Panic-Inducing Challenges otherwise known as CHECK-YOU-DID-THE-READING QUIZZES. You can expect these miserable quizzes from time to time, the number of quizzes depending on how many of you are nostalgic for high school. In other words, if everyone acts like a talented university student, we will enjoy FEW if any quizzes during our semester. 

Coming to class for each seminar session is NOT optional--the whole point of this class is to work together, the idea being that we creatively and magicly convert our  classroom into a chaotic, unpredictable, and exciting intellectual laboratory. Missing class, you miss, as well, the whole point of the adventure. So please bypass no more than three classes during the semester--you are responsible for any work/notes you miss when you are absent and can PRESUME that what you missed that day was important!

If you skip MORE than three classes during the term and your grade will decay in an ugly way. EXAMPLES: your hard-earned A- will morph into a B-; your "gentleman's C" will appear on the webportal as a "D."

Ditching this class too often will be as fun as a case of flesh-eating virus. 

Do you receive any second chances in this class on the off chance you miss a quiz, blow an assignment, or generally screwup altogether? Luckily, your eccentric Professor is a recovering Catholic, and believes in the wonders of absolution--from time to time we will have out-of-class cineTREK© assignments, aka EXTRA-CREDIT OPPORTUNITIES; these can be used to atone for an extra-absence, a missed quiz, or some other class-impacting catastrophe you may experience during the term.


  • 33% Quizzes, In-class "Panic-Inducing Challenges", In-class participation, attendance, cineTREKS©, Facebook and Tumblr posts, etc.
  • 33% "Analytical Imagination Challenges," aka, your two Essays
  • 33% Final Examination Festival 
  • 1% Chutzpah, ganas, will, and drive


Why visit me and your GTAs during 'office hours'?

Why not?

I expect you to visit me in office hours at least once during the semester. Additionally, you are encouraged and welcome to visit your GTAs. At SDSU, it's easy to fall through the cracks, to feel that you are nothing but a Red ID# or some warm pile of sentient flesh filling a seat. In order to convince you that the Professor teaching you is occasionally human, please make a point during the semester to take the time to introduce yourself in person. My office hours will be on Wednesday afternoons from 1pm to 3pm in AL 273--if I am not there, look for me in the SDSU Press office, AL 283). If these hours are inconvenient, do not hesitate to call me at 619.594.1524 either to schedule an appointment or discuss your questions via telephone. My email address is: memo@sdsu.edu or bnericci@mail.sdsu.edu

While all words crafted for this syllabus are the product of your professor's eccentric imagination, the following words, authored by Poindexters @ SDSU central administration were not; however, as this is an English 220 class, and a San Diego State University General Education Explorations class, the following verbiage must appear on this syllabus


Courses that fulfill the 9-unit requirement for Explorations in General Education take the goals and skills of GE Foundations courses to a more advanced level. Your three upper division courses in Explorations will provide greater interdisciplinary, more complex and in-depth theory, deeper investigation of local problems, and wider awareness of global challenges. More extensive reading, written analysis involving complex comparisons, well-developed arguments, considerable bibliography, and use of technology are appropriate in many Explorations courses.

This is an Explorations course in the Humanities and Fine Arts. Completing this course will help you to do the following in greater depth: 1) analyze written, visual, or performed texts in the humanities and fine arts with sensitivity to their diverse cultural contexts and historical moments; 2) describe various aesthetic and other value systems and the ways they are communicated across time and cultures; 3) identify issues in the humanities that have personal and global relevance; 4) demonstrate the ability to approach complex problems and ask complex questions drawing upon knowledge of the humanities.