Monday, August 13, 2007

You What?

Denis Dutton, founder of the Bad Writing Contest, now no more, was on the radio tonight. He is a Professor in New Zealand and managed to piss of many of his global academic colleagues with exposes of their bogus pretentious, long winded, ego driven writing. He is doing much more useful things now, running Philosophy Classes and editing Arts and Letters Daily.

In 1998, the Bad Writing Contest awarded first place to University of California-Berkeley Professor Judith Butler, for a piece which appeared in the journal Diacritics. The winning sentence read:

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.

Dutton noted, "To ask what this means is to miss the point. This sentence beats readers into submission and instructs them that they are in the presence of a great and deep mind. Actual communication has nothing to do with it."

Anybody who has any idea what the knowledegable Prof was talking about, please discuss in a 3,000 word essay and send to Professor James Higham at Nourishing Obscurity. He will arrange for your work to be sent into space on the next Space Shuttle to be vaporised during the initial launch.

Call me a pleb, but I am not really one for the unnecessarily complex and long winded. Just tell me what you have to say.


Anonymous said...

If somebody want easy reading, pick cosmo, us weekly, or some other daily rag that can be bought at a super market aisle.

It's kind of disingenuous to say that a person's writing lack clarity when in fact the magazine in question caters to a specific/technical audience.

It's like picking up a magazine, which targets theoretical physicists and saying..."Hey, there's too much calculus here...can you show it to me in algebra..."

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