I haven't read the article everyone is referring to; I received some of my recent mail in a remote location and didn't have a chance to read or forward all of it, so bear with me as I enter the proverbial Burkean parlor conversation in medias res. But about rules and "the academic essay," I think it's essential to conceive of this issue in rhetorical terms, in generic terms, and in terms of instituational structures. As writing centre advisors we do seem to be tethered to the generic conventions of the disciplines and courses for which the student is writing. That would seem to be the institutional rationale for writing centres; and that, I think, is the huge draw back of *substituting* writing instruction by English professors and in English departments with elaborate writing centers that merely serve other disciplines. It's not a bad thing; it's just insufficient. In the case of a first year composition or advanced composition course, however, we should not, I think, be tied to the constraints of any other academic course or discipline, and (forgive the) ought, to experiment with various rhetorical situations and generic conventions. The academic research paper is one such genre. A journal article for a popular or trade publication might be another genre. Executive summaries, grant proposals, marketting materials etc. etc. are among the wide variety of other genre's we could and in many cases do practice. I don't argue that the academic research paper isn't a good excercise as far as critical thinking goes; but it doesn't train most students (especially those preparing for other than academic professions), to think rhetorically, or prepare them for the sorts of professional writing tasks they will be asked to perform beyond the academy. And this is not about selling out to the needs of private industry so much as valuing what we as English and writing instructors have to offer within the academy. It's also about learning to learn. I'm not finally interested in teaching my students to master any one or any limited set of academic *or* professional genres, but rather in equipping them with the critical thinking and writing skills that will enable them to analyze and respond to the broadest spectrum of possible writing situations.