October 29, 2003

'Why Do People Write Like T...

'Why Do People Write Like This?': Virginia Postrel asks a pertinent question.

Posted by at October 29, 2003 11:22 PM
Comments

Bad writing and bad thinking ... fit together like a horse and carriage.

Posted by: Howard Owens at October 29, 2003 11:41 PM

Oooh! Oooh! I know! Because they'd rather congratulate themselves on being intelligent and sophisticated than make anybody care what in the world they're talking about?

Posted by: JFT at October 30, 2003 02:54 AM

You know the answer. Like the rest of us, he has robots controlling his arms.

Posted by: Steve Smith at October 30, 2003 07:37 AM

Does anyone have an English translation?

Seriously, what does one have to study in college to end up writing/thinking like this? I need to steer my future children away from such curricula so I won't have to hate them later in life.

Posted by: Brian Emmett at October 30, 2003 10:43 AM

He obviously doesn't have a real job. It seems to me that the only people who can possibly continue to think like that post-college are those that are in a field or job where there's no risk, no challenge, no hardship and no diversity of thought. They must be paid well because no one who has to deal with bills, kids, noisy neighbors and the rest of it could possibly maintain that type of thinking against the continual and relentless pounding of reality crashing upon it. It would have to give way sooner or later.

And I want to know how I can get one of those jobs.

Posted by: Paul at October 30, 2003 11:30 AM

MEGO. Orwell would be appalled. I'm so glad I never had a class full of crap like this in college or law school.

Posted by: Crank at October 30, 2003 12:11 PM

re: Why do people write like this?

To make themselves sound more intelligent than they are.

But let me pose my own question: Why do people set the text in their blogs to like 8 friggin' pt font? I'm 24 years old. If I have a hard time reading this shit, I'm sure many others are finding it much more difficult than I do.

Posted by: Nik at October 30, 2003 03:07 PM

...and for clarification, I'm talking about the font size in Postrel's blog.

Posted by: Nik at October 30, 2003 03:09 PM

Reading that piece I had that experience you always have when you look up a new word in the dictionary. Yesterday I looked up 'praxis'. Today I saw the word in that piece. (I'd of course seen the word used as the name of a publisher and in similar ways but not as a word in a piece of prose.)

Hmm. Wow.

He writes that way, by the way, because for the last 40 years only the most dimwitted among us have been going to universities. The truly intellegent and creative people like me get knocked out of circulation by the Catcher in the Rye. (It's part of the Jewish conspiracy to destroy America!)

Posted by: ct at October 31, 2003 08:49 AM

Here's my modest attempt at a translation:

"Even though I'm gay (and don't like preconceptions about my sex life) I find your views disturbing but not surprising.
In the mid to late 90's, humanities departments at universities sold out. Many young people were desensitized by post-structuralism and post-modernism which was supposedly about freeing the material world and aesthetics from viewpoints too close to traditional religion and rationality. Said young people graduated from their prestigious schools and couldn't find anything better to do than get media-consulting and advertising jobs. What was going on was obvious even if progressives have been slow (as usual) in accepting the challenge of salvaging strategic alliances that had been wrecked by those like you who create people who hate their own sex lives, or social class or race.

Dynamism, if you want to call it that, can be destructive if you think you can control dynamic processes for particular aims.

I wish there were more people like Reinhold Niebuhr and more feminists than Queer Theorists. But I'm not afraid cause everything changes ..

You're not taking into account that religious progressives might finally realize what's going on and decide to fight against commercialized imagery.

You can respect women and recognize them for what they are without relying on post-capitalist images of what women are supposed to be. You can be friendly to people who are not exclusively heterosexual (or who aren't at all) without being materialistic.

The Augustinian concept of the proper use of tools (as long as people don't worship technology for its own sake) and the Puritan (and Jewish) reverance for omnipresent spirituality that casts us all as sinners are too strongly entwined in our culture for your vision to be possible.

True, 'right' and 'left' no longer fit the current political scene. Progressive religionists recognize this and will make it harder and harder for libertarians to categorize all religion as tradition-bound, morose and unchanging. In other words, the progressive churches and allies from other traditions are working very hard to create a more just society even for those that traditional religion has not been kind to such as women and sexual minorities."

I left in some jargon and cut down some things I thought (but I'm not convinced) are redundant, I'm sure the original author would be appalled but that's the best I can do.

As for Ms. Postrel's question, the answer is so simple:
He gets to feel superior for being able to write that way and you get to feel superior for being able to make fun of it. It's a win-win situation.

Posted by: Michael Farris at October 31, 2003 09:46 AM

No, you don't have to spell intelligent correctly to be intelligent.

Here's my trans. of the mess:

"I must say up front that because I don't have the Holy Spirit in me everything I'm about to say will be shallow, vain, nonsense. Yet here I go anyway.

Stuff happened to college classes, like French stuff, and I bought a book about it and stuff and... What you are doing doesn't fall into this or that category necessarily but that's neither here nor there.

It bothers me that my side is so stupid in exposing their idiocy rather than being better at cloaking their idiocy, but there you go.

I wish ideologues on my side would realize they can side with cool stuff publicly and still think the same way because it all doesn't matter anyway, I'm still gonna be a fag and I still will hate God and we can still fight all the God-followers without looking so uncool.

Calvinism is still so at the bedrock of American life that you are just banging your head against a wall with what you propose (whatever the hell that is, -trans.).

It's true that current definitions and stereotypes of the left are too embarassing for a majority of people to ever want to claim or associate themselves with (sigh), yet we religious people who hate God are currently at work at trying another angle of attack. Join us!"

Posted by: ct at October 31, 2003 11:55 AM

Nik,

Virginia Postrel has an option at the top of her page where you can make the font bigger.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 31, 2003 04:13 PM

Much thanks, Michael.

Posted by: Nik at November 2, 2003 10:25 AM
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(but I'm not convinced) are redundant, I'm sure the original author would be appalled but that's the best I can do.

As for Ms. Postrel's question, the answer is so simple:
He gets to feel superior for being able to write that way and you get to feel superior for being able to make fun of it. It's a win-win situation.

Posted by: Michael Farris at October 31, 2003 09:46 AM

No, you don't have to spell intelligent correctly to be intelligent.

Here's my trans. of the mess:

"I must say up front that because I don't have the Holy Spirit in me everything I'm about to say will be shallow, vain, nonsense. Yet here I go anyway.

Stuff happened to college classes, like French stuff, and I bought a book about it and stuff and... What you are doing doesn't fall into this or that category necessarily but that's neither here nor there.

It bothers me that my side is so stupid in exposing their idiocy rather than being better at cloaking their idiocy, but there you go.

I wish ideologues on my side would realize they can side with cool stuff publicly and still think the same way because it all doesn't matter anyway, I'm still gonna be a fag and I still will hate God and we can still fight all the God-followers without looking so uncool.

Calvinism is still so at the bedrock of American life that you are just banging your head against a wall with what you propose (whatever the hell that is, -trans.).

It's true that current definitions and stereotypes of the left are too embarassing for a majority of people to ever want to claim or associate themselves with (sigh), yet we religious people who hate God are currently at work at trying another angle of attack. Join us!"

Posted by: ct at October 31, 2003 11:55 AM

Nik,

Virginia Postrel has an option at the top of her page where you can make the font bigger.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 31, 2003 04:13 PM

Much thanks, Michael.

Posted by: Nik at November 2, 2003 10:25 AM
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