Academic B.S.

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I didn’t know it is this pervasive. But here’s a sampler (and I leave it to my readers to place these inside their mouths, masticate, and then digest these hard to swallow strings of ‘complex’ high order thinking):

  1. Expound on the exclusion/inclusion, private/public identity dichotomy faced by the protagonist. Frame her personal struggles vis-a-vis her communal values and their conflict with the personal.
  2. How does the imagery used by the author support the contradiction confronting the main character (i.e. her barrenness)? How does this strengthen/weaken the obvious paradoxes posited by the text?

Verbal gymnastics and ostentatious display of erudition cloud and slow down thought processes rather than enlighten and streamline what should be a smooth exchange and/or transfer of knowledge. Now, if an intellectual thinks that he strengthens his position in the academe through constant use of these fireworks, if the supposed scholar thinks that by utilizing these intellectual calisthenics he gains respect and prestige in the academic world, then either his values are problematic or he is a moron. A classic case of missing the point.

www.newyorker.com

To judge whether a particular thought is pedantic or otherwise rests heavily on context. Context dictates whether a situation calls for the use of terms such as leit motif, othering, subaltern, exclusion/inclusion principle or it is an obvious waste of one’s precious time trying to understand words like these that do not easily lend themselves to shallow reading, and when there is an easier and more accessible way of saying them.

Rather than an expression of knowledge, comprehension, and succinct ability to synthesize, pedantry, erudition, or however you call it, if grossly or moderately taken out of context, is a reflection of the very insecure state an intellectual over-determinedly and over-eagerly wants to place himself in.

5 thoughts on “Academic B.S.”

  1. simple words can be understood by everybody, use highfalutin words and the majority will have nose bleed.

    a writer writes because he wants his readers to understand his words, right? or does he want his readers to get a headache trying to figure out half of what he wants to say?

    1. but it is not a simple case of understanding and being understood. it is also a question of morality.

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