Saturday, November 1

Read it to me, baby.

So was it as bad for you as it was for me?

No, there's no excuse for Just Being Difficult. I believe that you can make an intelligible paper, or write a book without resorting to unreadable language. Polysyllabic words does not equal smarts. In the same way that a canonical writer can be easy reading. I so hated it when I couldn't get past paragraph 1 of Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer, and we had to discuss that one in class. The horror, the horror talaga. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and it feels really bad when you can't get through a single page, paragraph, or worse, even finish the first sentence:
For most scholars, bad academic writing, like bad academic sex, doesn't call for explanation -- or argument.

It's poor chemistry between writer and reader (pontificator and pontificatee, in the academic version), like lack of sizzle between jaded full professor and enthusiastic asst. prof. It's failure of Interrogator A to make the noises and gestures that work for Hegemonized Reader B. It may be Defamiliarizer A's clumsy attempt to shake up the ideological/emotional/instrumental reflexes of Overly Essentialized Reader B. It may be sheer incompetence at nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

In days of olde, lousy writers and lovers struggled to improve, or at least tried not to draw attention to themselves. But who can still remember a time when imperialist categories like "good" and "bad" didn't trigger counterinsurgency from subaltern stylists?

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