Sunday, February 12, 2006

Aspiring Academic's Anti-intellectual Averrations

(So I enjoy alliteration. Wanna make something of it?)

Stuff that pisses me off:
1) Philosophers and/or theorists who "perform" their cool, new way of thinking about things in their writing without ever having explained wtf they're doing. Resulting in the impression in those of us reading their prose and expecting, say, an argument (or maybe a stray point), that the Philosopher/theorist studied at the Jackson Pollack School of Critical Analysis.
2) Philosophers and/or theorists who over-simplify their arguments. Ostensibly, this is done to make the argument more readable. Generally, it has the added bonus of eliminating all those irritating and inconvenient little philosophical conundrums that come up when one considers the whole picture.
3) Unexplained neologisms. (Can't look it up, fucker, you're going to have to make the meaning clear.)
4) The separation of root words from their affixes by cute little dashes, or mid-word capitalization, to stress an already well-known meaning of the word being used.
5) Greek.
6) Philosophers and/or theorists who quote, in German, from German philosophers, without bothering to capitalize nouns so that one who speaks actual German, rather than having memorized the German philosophical code words wants to throttle them; "dingen an sich," my ass.
7) Keepers of the Canon, including, but not limited to:
a)The assumption that Everybody Loves Papa.
b)Austrians who obviously can't shoot straight, thus leaving us with Papa.
c)Anybody who is shocked and/or appalled by (b)
8) Intellectuals who write books about subjects they have no expertise in, write them poorly, obfuscate their meaning in "simplicity," and still get to be considered experts on that subject because they're "Professors of Something Entirely Unrelated at Famous University X." (Pinker, Huntington, Rhoades, et al.)
9) Sneaky thesis narrowing. "Hm, this argument doesn't work if I cover all of the tenth century, so I'll start at 950 AD and pretend those other 50 years never happened."
10) The modesty topos in the hands of mediocre writers. Great writers make it gracious, and poor writers make it a fun irony.
11) The Jackson Pollack School of Creative Writing.
a) People who consider stuff they don't understand "profound."
b) People who assume you don't understand their profundity because you disagree with them, or think their stuff needs work.
12) Writers who declare easily translated foreign phrases "thoroughly un-translatable."
13) It really IS all about who you know. (This isn't sour grapes, I'm benefitting from that right now. It just pisses me off that my well-documented qualifications didn't count until they were stamped by the 'right people.')
14) People who are told "Thanks for all the help with Academic and thus Purely Professional Project X," but hear "Come up and see me sometime."


Feel free to add to this list.

6 comments:

Chris said...

That's assonance, not alliteration, isn't it? Heh.

Anyway, I feel ya, though to be fair to some of the Jackson Pollack School members within philosophy (and at least one, in particular), part of the point is not to have to explain it, because doing so would sort of defeat the purpose.

Wait a minute. Not everyone likes Hemingway? ;)

HeoCwaeth said...

From the OED online:

Assonance is the resemblance of sound between syllables in nearby words, arising particularly from the rhyming of two or more stressed vowels (as in sonnet, porridge), but also from the use of identical consonants with different vowels (e.g. killed, cold, culled).

Alliteration the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words, as in round the ragged rocks.

15) Excuses. ;-)

Chris said...

lol... touche. I still don't believe there are people who don't love Hemingway, though ;).

Laurelin said...

Hi HC, just to let you know I've moved house since blogger went insane on me:

http://laurelin.wordpress.com/

x

Laurelin said...

It really IS all about who you know. (This isn't sour grapes, I'm benefitting from that right now. It just pisses me off that my well-documented qualifications didn't count until they were stamped by the 'right people.')
Damn right! And with me, it is sour grapes, lol!

Holly said...

The separation of root words from their affixes by cute little dashes, or mid-word capitalization, to stress an already well-known meaning of the word being used.

I hate it as well. Though I've done it a time or two, just to show that I can.

And I personally find it hard to believe that there are people who love Hemingway. Or Faulkner.

But I love alliteration.