Wednesday, June 6, 2018

If you're an academic, please don't write like this. Ever.

Cultural Studies is a nice field of study, but damn, they can be awful, pretentious, and self-indulgent writers. Examples from one article that I'm now not going to bother reading all the way through:
  • "The prowling and lurking, interrogating, and transmogrifying textual (re-)composition of monsters is deconstructive, abjective, and intertextual."

And, under the theory that no Foucault reference in an introductory clause can be too convoluted or verbose, we get the following anti-gem:
  • "Writing after, and thus chasing, Foucault's prowling, knowledge-altering (and mutating) monster . . . ."

And, in the "Short sentences and more rigorous main verbs, academics, dammit!" category, we get:
  • "The conundrum that emerges from the friction between, on the one side, the scrutinizing and destabilizing intellectual disposition of literary theory and, on the other, the metonymic and representational mode of the anthology to represent a theoretical field selectively is compounded, I would argue, by the cultural and aesthetic – the deconstructive – nature of the monster. "

I'd like to say such writing is a relic from the 1990s, but this came out just this year. Blurgh.***

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 *** Actually, I remember back in grad school a professor telling us a story about a French-to-English translator friend of his. The translater friend had said, "The hardest part about translation is transforming French academic waffle into crisp clean English propositions." Personally, as some may suspect, I have a very Tolkien-esque view of the French.  :)

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