Academics And Criticism

often go together like oil and water. If you don’t want to be critiqued don’t publish or present. Except, of course, that in today’s tenure-based publish-or-perish environment that isn’t an option. Perhaps growing a thicker skin (and paying some more attention to how the internet works *g*) might help.

Accuracy in Academia post: “You can find unparalleled wisdom at the Modern Language Association (MLA). Unfortunately, it is usually presented in the type of jargon English professors like to use.”

I’ve railed against the use of academicspeak many, many times.

English Professor’s response: “A colleague sent me your little article…The anti-intellectualism is of a very common sort. I won’t comment on that. But as a journalist perhaps you value thorough research. I was speaking to a group of academics at MLA for whom these terms mean something…“Are you at least consistent in your opposition to specialized language? Do you, for instance, complain about the language that physicists use in their technical papers?…Best of luck with this simple ax you wish to grind and grind.”

A: he is not a physicist (I’ll give the math types their technical language as a necessity – the humanities, not so much), B: neurocosmopolites and neuropostcoloniality ARE NOT WORDS, and C: If you don’t want to be critiqued don’t publish or present.

What is often labeled as “anti-intellectualism” can many times be better characterized as “use plain language, you overly prolix pedant”.

I’ve heard it said many times that academics take everything so seriously because there is so very little at stake ;-).


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