Pretense?


Tonight, assuming I pass the course, is my last class before graduating graduate school. Just in time. I have had it with academia. Even my current professor, whom I have liked, seems to be too blah, blah, blah.

My pursuing a graduate degree has been going on for ten years. Somewhere in the last decade I also started writing a newspaper column and found a voice. I am not ready to call it my voice, but rather a voice of mine. It is not an academic voice.

As soon as I say this to someone, they assume I don’t like writing foot notes. This is not true. Computers make the process easy. Nevertheless, I have had no good response to what I meant. Until now.

I comment from Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale. Constance calls what we don’t like pretense. When a professor instructs us to write an academic paper this is what I hear. Not only hear it, but see it.

Try reading Foreign Affairs Magazine. For the writing alone, I think the world might end.

Constance offers as an example of what she sees as academic writing from The New Science of Politics, a piece by Eric Voegelin,

“The problems of an eidos in history, hence, arises only when Christian transcendental fulfillment becomes immanentized. Such an immanentist hypostasis of the echelon, however, is a theoretical fallacy.”

I second this as academic writing. If ever you see it from me, I welcome you calling me out.

10 thoughts on “Pretense?

  1. Carole Webber December 16, 2013 / 7:39 am

    Not all academic writing is as UNCLEAR as whatever Eric Voeglin is attempting to say.

    I think you need to define what you mean by academic writing.
    I am one of the people who hates to do footnotes and bibliographies, in spite of the ease of the computer. I do think people that I quote deserve recognition but I prefer to just mention them as I go along.
    I hope you do not forward your blog to your professor.

    • fictionfitz December 16, 2013 / 8:29 am

      Let me make it perfectly clear. I don’t like academic writing and Voeglin’s is the perfect example. Unfortunately I have seen many such examples in my classes. What I don’t know is what grade they received. I like academics. So with this comment I believe it is now safe to send this post to my professors. Footnotes have nothing to do with my dislike. I love, love, love footnotes and bibliographies, except I think that the latter could be easier to spell. Maybe an acronym :>)

  2. SirenaTales December 16, 2013 / 8:34 am

    Heartiest congratulations to you! What commitment you have to stay the course for ten years. One aspect of your writing, “one of your voices,” that I find powerful and effective is that you are simultaneously succinct and clear. Your no-nonsense voice, and wry humor, also resonate. Rock on.

    • fictionfitz December 16, 2013 / 8:39 am

      Thanks Sirena, a high compliment indeed!

  3. Carole Webber December 16, 2013 / 8:43 am

    I find that footnotes are a distraction from my train of thought. ou need to stop and add them, again with proper punctuation, numbers, etc.
    Bibliographies are just too fussy with commas, semi-colons etc. a real bother
    The easiest part is the spelling.

    • fictionfitz December 16, 2013 / 8:44 am

      All are good with computers. Was there ever a day without?

  4. jhvn December 16, 2013 / 10:21 am

    The example by Constance Hale illustrates academic writing at its absolute worst. It’s all not that bad. It reminds me of Winston Churdhill’s response to being told he should not end a sentence with a preposition: “That is the sort of pedantic nonsense up with which I will not put.” I assume that you will henceforth eschew that pompous and ostentatious means of impressing the hoi polloi with your erudition. Your voice is clear, folksy, and usually to the point.

    • fictionfitz December 16, 2013 / 10:35 am

      Thank you John See you on Thurs for lunch and Friday for breakfast.

      Bob

  5. New Hampshire Garden Solutions December 16, 2013 / 7:16 pm

    Some people might consider the Voegelin quote plain English, and some might even read a page or two of it. Pesonally, I wouldn’t even bother looking up the words I don’t know.

    • fictionfitz December 17, 2013 / 5:28 am

      Having decided to do the post, I did look up the words out of curiosity, but normally I wouldn’t have either.

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