Thursday, November 5, 2009

Make your own academic sentence

Like so:

The culture of post-capitalist hegemony functions as the conceptual frame for the legitimation of the image.
You too can make an academic sentence of your own with the Academic Sentence Generator, courtesy of the University of Chicago Writing Program. Advanced degrees not required.

The scary thing is that this kind of sentence makes sense to me, still. Old habits of reading (not writing).

comments: 7

Slywy said...

My confession is that this, along with funding and burnout, is a huge part of why I never went for a master's. I could not and still cannot wrap my eyeballs or head around such writing.

This sentence from Joseph Bargh in the newsletter caused me to curl into the fetal position and want to die. I should understand it, but I just . . . don't.

"The discovery of the pervasiveness of situational priming influences for all of the higher mental processes in humans does say something fundamentally new about human nature (for example, how tightly tied and responsive is our functioning to our particular physical and social surroundings)."

Michael Leddy said...

I think it gets clear in the paragraph that follows (that’s as far as I chose to read): “people are actually rather easy to influence and predict (once we know the triggering environmental cues or prompts).” But is it news that our surroundings influence the way we function? If I were asking that question in a library, I’d lower my voice. You too, no?

Elaine Fine said...

I couldn't find "in my spaghetti."

Michael Leddy said...

Yipes — what was the name of the game? Silly Stories?

Michael Leddy said...

Ben found it: the Mattel Story Maker. Oh memory!

JuliaR said...

Here's something I wrote while I was working on my LL.M. Enjoy!

Mon. 22 January 1996
I am reading an article written by some Harvard prof who shall remain nameless... example of a typical sentence: "What I mean by formalism in this context is a commitment to, and therefore also a belief in the possibility of, a method of legal justification that can be clearly contrasted to open-ended disputes about the basic terms of social life, disputes that people call ideological, philosophical, or visionary." I think I may actually understand that one. Here's another one: "Formalism in the conventional sense - the search for a method of deduction from a gapless system of rules - is merely the anomalous, limiting case of this jurisprudence." Say what? And frankly, it doesn't matter that I took them out of context. You gotta read this one: "Another, more heroic way to dispense with objectivism would be to abrogate the exception to disillusioned, interest group views of politics that objectivist ideas at least implicitly make." Yikes. Here's the last one for now: "Short-run leftist goals might occasionally be served by the transmutation of political commitments into delusive conceptual necessities."

What is the point in writing so obscurely that one has to read the same sentence five times in order to understand it? I am sure I do not know. Well, maybe I do know or at least can theorize.

1. The person writing has such an opinion of himself that he believes he can only impress people by making them really work to understand his message.
2. The person writing has a contempt for the people who will read the article and strives to make it virtually unintelligible.
3. The person writing is so ignorant of the reality of things, that he thinks what he is writing could be understood by everyone.

Michael Leddy said...

Julia, thanks for sharing these sentences. I get the first, but not the others. I like genuine difficulty, enigma, opacity, but these sentences seem to me to offer none of those genuine pleasures.

Also: if anyone wants to see and hear the Mattel Story Maker in action, here’s a link that my son Ben found.