Ideas 10, Writing, 0

Why is academic writing so bad? “One reason academic bad writing is evergreen is vocational. The bad writing in question is not the merely quotidian clunkiness and hack writing that’s inevitable in a vast profession under constant pressure to publish – it’s the notoriously opaque, preening, self-admiring, inflated prose of ‘theory.’ And for the moment, for whatever bizarre reason, ‘theory’ is what gets promoted and given tenure, therefore aspiring Assistant Professors and adjuncts have to crank it out, whether they actually like doing the stuff or not. But another reason, and one with a more malign effect, is the easy availability of an array of defense mechanisms.”