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Bad Writing's Back (Long article on bad academic writing)
John Hopkins University Press ^ | 2004 | Mark Bauerlein

Posted on 11/29/2004 6:03:19 AM PST by jalisco555

In January 1999, when Philosophy and Literature announced that Rhetoric professor Judith Butler had won its fourth annual Bad Writing Contest, nobody was much surprised. Many had pointed out the solecisms of Butler, runner-up Homi Bhabha, and previous awardees, and the abstract, twisting grandiloquence of critical theory with a progressive slant was already well known in academic circles. But the contest did have an unusual fate outside the academy. It became news. Philosophy and Literature editor Denis Dutton wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (February 5, 1999), a startling forum for the treatment of academic prose. Articles in the New York Times, the Weekly Standard, and Lingua Franca appeared, and the New Republic and Salon issued attacks on Butler's ideas as well as her sentences. That made for a readership of millions and another humiliation for educators (after the Sokal Hoax, History Standards, Ebonics . . .). The contest hit a popular nerve, gratifying not only formalist critics, empirical historians, and scientists—all of whom had been targets of theory discourse—but also journalists, public intellectuals, and informed readers who found the language and attitude of critical theory obnoxious and overblown. Indeed, so far as I know, not a single voice outside the academic theory [End Page 180] realm rose to defend the professors. Butler responded with an apologia for obscurity in the Times (March 20, 1999), and was in turn roundly criticized in the letters columns. A few observers denounced Dutton et al. as reactionary hacks (Marxist art historian T. J. Clark compared them in the Times to House Republicans bent on impeaching Clinton), but for the most part the contest's ridicule went unchallenged.

(Excerpt) Read more at press.jhu.edu ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: academics; campus; criticaltheory; ivorytower; obscurity; snobbery; tenuredradicals; writing
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A long but interesting piece. It's too bad these people are teaching our kids but fortunately no one is paying attention.
1 posted on 11/29/2004 6:03:21 AM PST by jalisco555
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To: jalisco555
For the record here is Judith Butler's prize winning sentence:

"The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power."

I have no idea what it means.

2 posted on 11/29/2004 6:05:09 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: Republicanprofessor

Ping.


3 posted on 11/29/2004 6:05:35 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: joanie-f

Bump.


4 posted on 11/29/2004 6:09:27 AM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: joanie-f

wordity, defined


5 posted on 11/29/2004 6:11:47 AM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: jalisco555

at first I thought this was about the Bulwer Lytton contest, and that the woman had done it on purpose. Maybe she should.


6 posted on 11/29/2004 6:17:58 AM PST by heartwood
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To: jalisco555

In my graduate program this kind of writing would have been heavily edited by the professor and quite probably tossed out entirely.

Not all historians are full of crap. Alot depends on where they trained, and under whom.


7 posted on 11/29/2004 6:18:14 AM PST by Gefreiter ("Flee...into the peace and safety of a new dark age." HP Lovecraft)
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To: jalisco555
I have no idea what it means.

Perhaps this helps to explain.....

8 posted on 11/29/2004 6:19:11 AM PST by r9etb
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To: heartwood
at first I thought this was about the Bulwer Lytton contest, and that the woman had done it on purpose. Maybe she should.

Unfortunately, not only is this type of thing authentic but the people who write it are proud of it.

9 posted on 11/29/2004 6:19:51 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: Gefreiter
In my graduate program this kind of writing would have been heavily edited by the professor and quite probably tossed out entirely.

Yet Judith Butler, Homi Baba and others are stars in their fields. No wonder the ranks of English majors are dwindling.

10 posted on 11/29/2004 6:21:27 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: jalisco555

These are the same people that can't comprehend strategery and good v. evil...


11 posted on 11/29/2004 6:22:58 AM PST by HenryLeeII ("How do you ask a goose to be the last goose to die for a shameless political stunt?" -Tony in Ohio)
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To: jalisco555
"The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power."

I'm not sure this is a sentence. Maybe a diagram?

12 posted on 11/29/2004 6:27:12 AM PST by tsomer
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To: jalisco555

Watching the smack being laid down on those gübers warms the cockles of this physicist's heart. :P

Sure, we have jargon, but we don't take it too seriously.

Quarks? Sparticles? P-branes?

Ha!


13 posted on 11/29/2004 6:27:36 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: jalisco555
I have no idea what it means.

Let me translate: It's Bush's fault.

14 posted on 11/29/2004 6:28:16 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (The fourth estate is a fifth column.)
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To: joanie-f; snopercod
I marvel at the ability of the professors, to imagine that their writing has more of an effect on the public, than the cost of maintaining said professors puffery.

As a student activist, hanging around the ombudsman's office, I read the A.A.U.P. manual, in which, right off the bat (or broom, as the case may be), the professorship exclaims their all-knowing all-seeing all-writing wisdom over all ... so much so, that no judge, no court, and, in my humble opinion, not much actual good writing has been able to touch them.

For, to impeach these regents, requires that words have meaning, substance, and tangibly, that is maintained from day to day, year to year, through the centuries.

Lest hot mean cold.

My personal belief, is that professors have run out of things to say, but they have not run out of money with which they burden everybody else.

First, they take your money, and then they make something that is worthless.

I say, we stop that.

Want to feed all those kids on that TV ad, from down in Central America?

Fire 10 professors.

Want health care for inner city kids?

Fire 100 professors.

Want to fix schools that are "crumbling?"

Fire 100 professors.

Why do "environmentally responsible" professors have air-conditioners, and air-conditioned $60,000 Volvos or Saabs?

If your board of directors and C.E.O. wandered into your area at work, and found that, "What do you do here?" amounts to the writing of professors (Mike Kinsley comes to mind), you would probably disappear in the next round of cuts, for not contributing to the output of the product in exchange for which the company notes that is has earned income.

Where in all that writing of the professorship, is the earned income, that is the money that other people worked hard for and were forced to give up, in order to continue the professors upkeep?

15 posted on 11/29/2004 6:34:19 AM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: jalisco555

Oftentimes the worst of the bunch get the notoriety, as with many groups. Not alot of reportage on this guy, for example, who just won a National Book Award:

http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2004_kboyle_winner.htm

Personally, I ended up working closest with the oldest members in the dept more often than not. I think it made alot of difference.


16 posted on 11/29/2004 6:36:06 AM PST by Gefreiter ("Flee...into the peace and safety of a new dark age." HP Lovecraft)
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To: jalisco555

Professor Irwin Cory BUMP!


17 posted on 11/29/2004 6:37:35 AM PST by dasboot
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To: Constantine XIII

Reading this crap makes me so grateful I edit engineers and rocket scientists. They love passive sentences, and I don't understand some of the technology and advanced math, but even their most complex technical discussions read better than this!


18 posted on 11/29/2004 6:45:02 AM PST by GOP Jedi
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To: r9etb

19 posted on 11/29/2004 6:52:27 AM PST by reagan_fanatic (Oh yeah - and F the french too!)
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To: First_Salute

Yes, they have a scam going on. :^)


20 posted on 11/29/2004 6:56:41 AM PST by demlosers
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To: GOP Jedi

Is it just me, or have you noticed how most scientists, especially phyisical scientists and engineers love to try to put things as plainly as possible?

It is amazing how many enjoyable books about Huge Engineering Feats and Quantum Mechanics are out there. You'll never find "Derrida for Dummies", though. These guys will never have their own Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking. If they simplified that BS to the point where it could be read, everyone would realise what a bunch of nonsense it truly is!


21 posted on 11/29/2004 6:58:30 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: Constantine XIII
Is it just me, or have you noticed how most scientists, especially phyisical scientists and engineers love to try to put things as plainly as possible?

When you're designing a bridge or a new pharmaceutical molecule clarity of presentation of your idea is crucial. Ambiguity can kill.

22 posted on 11/29/2004 7:01:54 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: jalisco555

The article is really about the babblers' attempt to address charges of 'bad writing' on, you guessed it, theoretical grounds. Amongst the other justifications proffered, the following is priceless: "the language of "good writing" is inadequate to "the experience of women and minorities" (McCumber, p. 66), who are bound to speak an unfamiliar language as they acquire equal rights and political power."


23 posted on 11/29/2004 7:20:39 AM PST by TrueKnightGalahad (It's time for us to reclaim Liberalism from the reactionary left.)
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To: Constantine XIII
Is it just me, or have you noticed how most scientists, especially phyisical scientists and engineers love to try to put things as plainly as possible?

"Being deep and appearing deep.--Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water." -- Nietzsche

24 posted on 11/29/2004 7:25:15 AM PST by Physicist
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To: jalisco555
She knows you have no idea what it means. She has no idea what it means. She expects no one to have any idea what she means. But she can forever hide behind the feminine--"Well, if you don't know, I'm not going to tell you."

Words cannot plumb the depths of my contempt for these charlatans, these frauds, these carpetbaggers of the intellect.

25 posted on 11/29/2004 7:37:48 AM PST by Mamzelle
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To: TrueKnightGalahad

I always thought that the role of the Humanities was to inspire a love of learning in students, not provoke revolution. I guess it's fortunate that these people write so badly that no one outside of their closed circle reads them. If they actually wrote well they might be dangerous, rather than merely ridiculous.


26 posted on 11/29/2004 7:41:44 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: Physicist
Physicists have their little rhetorical ostrich fans, too. (Think of the strip-tease artist dancing with the huge fan made of feathers). Scientists will employ the passive voice when they want the reader to skip over obvious problems in theorizing.

You will see language of the sort Butler employs in Big Bang, Evolution, or any field of science that is ultimately unaccountable.

I'd be happy to lead you to a favorite FR thread of mine where a scientist from the U of Chicago claims to have "created" a new species of fruit fly. We are all prone to make dishonest use of language when self-service presses its case.

27 posted on 11/29/2004 7:42:42 AM PST by Mamzelle
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To: jalisco555

Instead of society moving forward, it reverberates?


28 posted on 11/29/2004 7:46:47 AM PST by Old Professer (The accidental trumps the purposeful in every endeavor attended by the incompetent.)
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To: jalisco555
You might be interesting in post 26.

re: When you're designing a bridge or a new pharmaceutical molecule clarity of presentation of your idea is crucial. Ambiguity can kill.)))

Very true. I invest sometimes in pharm stocks, and when you read the literature involving some new medical treatment, it is weighted with reams of qualifications and couched with cautions.

But, I must point out, when you read some of the cosmological and speciation articles, it is rife with gimmickry and the use of the passive voice..."It is established"..."scientists have agreed that..." There's a lot of guilt to go around. The problem with some of these fields is that no one need fear that the patient will suddenly die of the theory the scientist has inflicted on him...

29 posted on 11/29/2004 7:47:12 AM PST by Mamzelle
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To: jalisco555
4. the language of "good writing" is inadequate to "the experience of women and minorities" (McCumber, p. 66), who are bound to speak an unfamiliar language as they acquire equal rights and political power.

As a woman, I take great offense at this. More liberal condesension.

Critics have a duty to break up common sense beliefs, and disrupting the norm of clarity effectively does so. As Butler put it in her Times op-ed, "scholars are obliged to question common sense, interrogate its tacit presumptions and provoke new ways of looking at the world."

Actually, I think critics have a duty to make their ideas comprehensible to all. I have sometimes felt at a loss at conventions with the decontructivist poststructuralist jargon all around me. Do these writers even understand each other?

When I teach a course in art criticism, we have a great time derailing some of this theory. It seems the simpler the art work, especially minimal sculpture, the more complex the argument for it.

And postmodern jargon is the worst. The visual artworks have little merit and are wrapped in postmodern theory to compensate for that. So if we go around scratching our heads in confusion, does that make the art more worthwhile?

If you propose to explode certain attitudes and beliefs, and to do so by disrupting their proper idiom, then you must compose a language compelling, powerful, memorable, witty, striking, or poignant enough to supplant it. Your language must be an attractive substitute, or else nobody will echo it.

Needless to say, the theorists haven't achieved that and never will. A [End Page 189] genuine displacement comes about through an original and stunning expression containing arresting thoughts and feelings, not through the collective idiom of an academic clique smoothly imitated by a throng of aspiring theorists. The writings of Pound, Mallarmé, Faulkner, and H.D. each form a unique signature and inspire theorists to daring interrogations.. Amen. Faulkner and Pound, those are my idols.

Doesn't this sloppy writing just show the dead-end thinking of liberals?

30 posted on 11/29/2004 7:48:49 AM PST by Republicanprofessor
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To: tsomer
I'm not sure this is a sentence. Maybe a diagram?

My eyes glazed over about six minutes into this verbiage, but up until the time I passed out, I still hadn't found the verb.

31 posted on 11/29/2004 7:51:17 AM PST by HIDEK6
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To: jalisco555
I have no idea what it means.

“Will babble for food.”

32 posted on 11/29/2004 7:53:19 AM PST by dighton
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To: Constantine XIII
Sparticles?

I AM SPARTICLES!!!


33 posted on 11/29/2004 7:55:19 AM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: jalisco555

Though Trilling et al. might today disavow their progeny, the role of the humanities in the cause of some purportedly desirable social, economic, and political revolution has a long history (since at least the 20's); critics of the New York school defined themselves in opposition to the 'boobosie' and Babbitry of the unannointed. Love of learning? Sorry, we no longer stock that here....


34 posted on 11/29/2004 7:59:18 AM PST by TrueKnightGalahad (It's time for us to reclaim Liberalism from the reactionary left.)
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To: jalisco555
From Richard Mitchell, one of the preeminent thinkers on the failures of public education. His great books are all on line (see links below) :

"Bad writing is like any other form of crime; most of it is unimaginative and tiresomely predictable. The professor of education seeking a grant and the neighborhood lout looking for a score simply go and do as their predecessors have done. The one litanizes about carefully unspecified developments in philosophy, psychology, and communications theory, and the other sticks up the candy store. The analogy is not perfect, of course, for the average lout seldom nets more than thirty-five dollars per stickup, and he even runs some little risk of getting caught. Nevertheless, the writing and the stickup are equally routine and boring. It's not often that we find ourselves admiring these criminals, therefore. Once in a while, however, some unusually creative caper pleases us with its novelty or its audacity. So, too, with the works of the grant-seekers, perhaps because creative force is so much less common in grant-seekers than in other culprits. We turn now to just such an enterprise. If it were only a little bit less illiterate, it would seem to have been written by someone who had read deeply in Luther and even Nietzsche and had decided to sin boldly and to hell with Sklavenmoral. We find here none of that meager, mealymouthed obsequiousness that piously assures us that teaching and learning have now been shown - really - to have something to do with one another. That's the tepid prayer of a half-baked scholastic. What follows is the work of a veritable academic dervish:

Project WEY Washington Environmental Yard (1972) is a manifestation of the intercommunal, process-oriented, interage, interdisciplinary type of change vehicle toward an environmental ethic from the school-village level to a pan-perspective. The urban focus of the project as the medium has been inestimably vital since it is generally speaking the message. Situated near the central downtown area of the city of Berkeley and a mere block from civic center, Washington Elementary School courts the thousands of daily onlookers/passersby (20,000 autos!) traveling on a busy boulevard with easy access to the physical transformation and social interactions (at a distance to close-up) a virtual open space laboratory. It has served evocatively as a catalyst for values confrontation, even through a soft mode of visual/physical data exchange system. Since 1971, the dramatic changes have represented a process tool for the development of environmental/educational value encounters on-site/off-site, indoors/outdoors and numerous other bipolar entities and dyads. The clients represent a mirror of the macro-world just as the children and parents of the school reflect more than thirty different ethnic groups as one of numerous dimensions of diversity.

"It is difficult to comment on this writing, and dangerous as well, since too much attention to this sort of thing may well overthrow the mind. The earlier passage is at least decipherable, but this is a form of contemporary glossolalia and not to be grasped by the reason alone. It requires the gift of faith as well...

"...It would be a polite euphemism to call the writer of that barbarous nonsense an illiterate. The word just doesn't do the job. The writer, however, is a university professor supported by taxpayers. He has degrees in education, and has satisfied others of that clan that he is worthy to sit in their company. What did they ask of him? How did they decide that he was, indeed, worthy to profess? Was it his vast knowledge of his subject? Obviously not; his "subject" is a non-discipline. Was it his power to communicate the nonexistent knowledge of his non-discipline? Well, yes. In a way, yes, that is. It must have been his power to sound as though he might well be communicating some unknowledge in a non-discipline. They must have thought that he could, indeed, call spirits from the vasty deep. His prose, like the thinking it reveals, is full of cloudy suggestions of something beyond the range of mere cognition. He has been given power, if not over the entities and dyads, certainly over the ignorant and superstitious."

Richard Mitchell, Less Than Words Can Say, 1979

"EDUCATIONISTS are entertaining. We can always find a good laugh in their prose, with its special, ludicrous combination of ignorance and pretentiousness. It's always amusing to watch them reinventing the wheel every few years and announcing, for instance, as some of them recently have, that children who know the sounds of letters can actually read words they've never seen before, by golly. It's fun to consider the systems of Lilliputian leaping and creeping by which they better their lots and advance from humble teaching to exalted posts as curriculum facilitators, and the superintendent's speech at the athletic awards banquet usually has that rarest of literary qualities, absolute immunity to parody. Indeed, the first thing you see when you consider thoughtfully and in some detail the ways of American educationism is that it is funny. It's usually the last thing you see, too, and since education is not one of the truly serious enterprises of American civilization, like petrochemicals or banking, it doesn't seem to matter much. True, clowns and kooks seem common in the education business, especially at the higher managerial levels, but so what? The whole business is about nothing more than children, who don't count yet, and who can't be expected to do any important work. We are quite ready to tolerate in curriculum and governance the same clumsy amateurism that we find so engaging in the school play and the marching band. After all, weren't we all taught in our own time in the schools that what really counts is the effort? And it is only when we go to the home games that we hope to see excellence.

"We tolerate the educational establishment the same way that we tolerate the children themselves, and we therefore extend to the guidance counselors and curriculum facilitators the same immunities that we extend to the children, the harmless children. They are all together - over there - aside from the mainstream of real life. But anyone who will look long and carefully at what happens "over there" will sooner or later notice something that doesn't seem funny. He may begin to suspect that perhaps there are some consequences to child's play, and that maybe the children aren't so harmless after all, to say nothing of the counselors and facilitators. It may begin to dawn on such an observer that the children in school actually are people and not merely yet-to-be-formed raw materials who will start to be people after the last blackboard has been washed. Where once he tolerated the silliness of the schools as a temporary and sectarian custom in a small fragment of real life, he now sees that the habits and attitudes so earnestly inculcated in children by silly people will almost certainly not evaporate on commencement day. And why should they? Habits and attitudes never evaporate. We may sometimes change them consciously, but only after skillful observation and controlled thoughtfulness, which are generally not among the habits and attitudes that children acquire in school. Those are the habits of literacy. The attentive and patient observer, therefore, must come to see at last that school is not "something else over there." School is America. If you want to predict the future of our land, go to school and look around.

"Schools do not fail. They succeed. Children always learn in school. Always and every day. When their rare and tiny compositions are "rated holistically" without regard for separate "aspects" like spelling, punctuation, capitalization, or even organization, they learn. They learn that mistakes bring no consequences. They learn that their teachers were only pretending in all those lessons on spelling and punctuation. They learn that there are no rewards for good work, and that they who run the race all win. They learn that what they win is a rubber-stamped smiling face, exactly as valuable as what they might lose, which is nothing, nothing at all. They learn that the demands of life are easily satisfied with little labor, if any, and that a show of effort is what really counts. They learn to pay attention to themselves, their wishes and fears, their likes and dislikes, their idle whims and temperamental tendencies, all of which, idolized as "values" and personological variables, are far more important than "mere achievement" in subject matter. The "whole child" comes first, and no one learns that lesson better than the children. Just as you can predict the future by going to school, you can decipher the past by looking-around. All those thoughtless, unskilled, unproductive, self-indulgent, and eminently dupable Americans - where have they been and what did they learn there?"

Richard Mitchell, THE GRAVES OF ACADEME, 1987

35 posted on 11/29/2004 8:09:57 AM PST by Semi Civil Servant
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To: Semi Civil Servant
Ah, the Underground Grammarian! In February of last year I (a Mitchellian disciple) travelled to Rowan University to attend his memorial service. He was a true polymath.
36 posted on 11/29/2004 8:24:47 AM PST by Physicist
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To: Mamzelle
I'd be happy to lead you to a favorite FR thread of mine

Sorry, your contempt for science is already well known on FR. It's not necessary for me to reconfirm it.

37 posted on 11/29/2004 8:31:02 AM PST by Physicist
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To: jalisco555

Let me help:

"The move from a structuralist account ("Structuralist" means 'I hate more successful people, but I also hate myself for hating them, so I'm saying they can't help being jerks, because it's all part of the system.')

in which capital (References to "capital" mean "Waaahh! It's unfair that people make millions for making stuff people want when I only get a professor's salary and I'm so much smarter.")

is understood to structure social relations ("Waahhh! Rich people can get dates and I can't!)

in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation ("The masses don't even know their being brainwashed when they give pretty women more respect than me. It's just repetition that brainwashed them!")

brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory ("Althusserian Theory" means "Our intellectual fingerpainting really is helping those poor masses we claim to love but whose neighborhoods we'd never live in. As intellectuals, we truly are noble. Let us bow to the mirror.")

that takes structural totalities ("Totalities--am I standing up to the oppresive system or what?")

as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony ("Ha! It may just sound like I'm complaining about not getting dates, but I really have come up with something new!)

as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power. ("Ha! I'm on to the popular people! They have some strategy for making me hate myself. I know they do!")

So I think it all means "Waahhhh!"


38 posted on 11/29/2004 8:32:00 AM PST by Our man in washington
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To: jalisco555
Eschew obfuscation dammit!
39 posted on 11/29/2004 8:37:06 AM PST by AndrewB
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To: jalisco555
[ A long but interesting piece. It's too bad these people are teaching our kids but fortunately no one is paying attention. ]

David Horowitz is (paying attention).. and his group and website.. pity is not many paying attention David Horowitz.. David has the scoop on this MOST important kind of sedition.. Even more important than MSM and MSP sedition..
Davids site is easily googleable..

40 posted on 11/29/2004 8:49:47 AM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to included some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Physicist
re: Sorry, your contempt for science is already well known on FR. It's not necessary for me to reconfirm it.)))

This, in rhetoric, is both an ad hominem and "poisoning the well."

I have rich respect for that which puts bread on my table. Enough respect to resent the grant-grubbers and the self-serving way they employ the English language.

New fly, or shoo fly?

41 posted on 11/29/2004 9:22:26 AM PST by Mamzelle
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To: Republicanprofessor
As a woman, I take great offense at this. More liberal condesension.

I caught that too. What does it mean? That women and minorities must be spoken to using incomprehensible jargon or that you are too dumb to understand your condition and must be led like children by your betters? The latter, I suspect.

Actually, I think critics have a duty to make their ideas comprehensible to all. I have sometimes felt at a loss at conventions with the decontructivist poststructuralist jargon all around me. Do these writers even understand each other?

I can't speak about conventions but at faculty parties I often observe grad students being harangued by their profs. The poor students nod sagely but have a glazed expression that tells me they aren't hearing (or understanding) a thing that's being said to them.

When I teach a course in art criticism, we have a great time derailing some of this theory. It seems the simpler the art work, especially minimal sculpture, the more complex the argument for it.

Another one of my pet peeves has been the attack on beauty in art by much of the academy. Art criticism is another field contaminated by revolutionary fervor and jargon. That being said, I'm looking forward to going to the reopened MOMA.

Doesn't this sloppy writing just show the dead-end thinking of liberals?

Sure does.

42 posted on 11/29/2004 9:32:35 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: reagan_fanatic

That sentence makes perfect sense to me.

My name is old3030 and I am a unix geek.


43 posted on 11/29/2004 9:32:49 AM PST by old3030 (Religion would not have enemies if it were not an enemy to their vices.-- Massillon.)
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To: Our man in washington
So I think it all means "Waahhhh!"

LOL. Yeah, but just saying "Waahhhh!" isn't enough to get you tenured at Berkely.

44 posted on 11/29/2004 9:34:16 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: jalisco555

I just wish journalism schools would teach how to write a news article that is clear and understandable.


45 posted on 11/29/2004 9:34:21 AM PST by AxelPaulsenJr (Pray Daily For Our Troops and President Bush)
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To: tsomer

If it contains the word "hegemony", somewhere in there is a hate-America message.


46 posted on 11/29/2004 9:39:08 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (I am poster #48)
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To: jalisco555
"at faculty parties"

I don't think I get to enough parties.

47 posted on 11/29/2004 9:43:13 AM PST by Republicanprofessor
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To: Republicanprofessor
I don't think I get to enough parties.

The trick for me is to host them. That way when I get bored or tired I just go upstairs and watch TV. Or hang out with the other non-academic spouses.

48 posted on 11/29/2004 9:44:58 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: jalisco555

This is the perfect example of the highly educated idiot.


49 posted on 11/29/2004 10:09:48 AM PST by buzzsaw6 (Major, USAF/Scoutmaster)
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To: jalisco555
Bauerlein also wrote this recent, widely cited piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Liberal Groupthink is Anti-Intellectual

50 posted on 11/29/2004 12:48:10 PM PST by beckett
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