More Things I Have to Put Up With

The anthropology blog Savage Minds had an amusing post recently about some ridiculously “postmodern” titles for academic papers. To wit, education researcher Paul Smith has published papers with titles like, “an ILL/ELLip(op)tical po – ETIC/EMIC/Lemic/litic post® uv ed DUCAT ion recherché repres©entation” and “Split———ting the ROCK of {speci [ES]al} e.ducat.ion: FLOWers of lang[ue]age in >DIS.” The former paper is summarized as follows:

An approximately excessive, already-much-too-full, incomprehensibly elliptical poetics of research representation, this post/conceptual writing/writhing about research explores a poetic, poemic, polemic, politic, post discourse, and describes a new grammar and rhetoric for understanding education and social science. It offers an undiscovered set of metaphors to unpack ed DUCAT ion scanty science. It is a spoken/written langue/tongue piece based on an intentionally outlandish and overwhelming form used by (some) conceptual, and POST poets. Avoiding the never-transparent language that inscribes the offalic and violent taxonomy of norm(&)al academic research Repres©entation, this writ(h)ing outlines, through a flagrantly and literally/littorally entirely tiresome, unspeakably visual and aural word conflagration, a po-etic that begins to de-inscribe the nature of metaphoric, medicalized, ventriloquizing, normative discourse of social science/education.

I admit, I thought a much milder version of this writing style was cool as an undergraduate. But that was 10 years ago! I really thought, or at least hoped, that the academy had moved on. Thanks to Lazlo for slapping me out my hyphens and slashes when I wrote my first graduate school application back in 2002.

In somewhat happier news, I just read an article that claims Amazon sales of the Communist Manifesto have risen 700% (!) and those of Das Kapital have doubled since the beginning of the economic slump. (Side note: how does Amazon know when the slump started if none of the economists can figure it out? Corporate conspiracy!) There’s better reads than Marx in times like these, but Marx is waaay better than most of the standard alternatives.



  1. 1
    qualifiedcondition Says:

    Does Marx use–hyphens? Then I’m not reading him.
    200 years from now we’re going to look back on postmodernity as “the time when we were really dumb.” This year’s Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction writes real gems like: “Wondering aloud, If we were orcs, wouldn’t we, at a racial level, imagine ourselves to look like elves?” It’s not a haiku. I promise.

  2. 2
    qualifiedcondition Says:

    Also, I am aware that I should have spelled out “Two hundred” because it is at the beginning of a sentence. Suck it.

  3. 3
    elcaballo Says:

    no annoying hyphens in marx. it’s kind of heidegger’s fault (and perhaps sorta kierkegaard before him?), but then taken to an extreme in the ’70s and ’80s by people who thought it was some sort of political move, you know, sticking it to the man by breaking academic conventions, importing everyday speech patterns of the “oppressed,” etc. very daring, you can tell. or perhaps it’s a response to one of nietzsche’s saying:”i fear we are not getting rid of god because we still believe in grammar.”

    that pulitzer line is hilarious. junot diaz?

  4. 4
    Lazlo Says:

    That ain’t poetry. I’ve seen poetry before, and that’s no poetry.

    Das Kapital DOES have lots of hypens, actually, at least in the English translation, but it’s the awesome old-timey hyphenation (“to-day,” “over-work,” “small-pox,” etc.) not this pomo bull/shit.

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