No bueno to share the love… simply?

I’m reading now an article on the New Yorker blog on academic writing. The idea caught my  attention because it reminded me of some of my experiences with writing and reading while in graduate school. During my first year in graduate school, while becoming familiar with academic writing, I found it such a waste of time and energy… I wondered why these brilliant academics couldn’t express what they mean to say more simply. I learned with time that the writing was intentionally complicated because it was academic writing. I thought the whole notion was silly, sure someones so smart can share and relate in simpler, more user friendly terms. But the idea of academic writing is not to. It’s supposed to be a complex way of writing only directed toward a particular audience. No fun, I thought. I also thought that I would not play along once I graduated. I would take what I learned and make it user friendly upon sharing. I hope that I am doing this in my writing and teaching.

While reading the New Yorker piece I began to think, in school, they should have a class called How To Get A Job. I say this because even with the best intentions, no matter what profession these days, there are always rules of the game, where if broken or bent you could find yourself out of the loop. So for young folks, and even not so young folks, even when you mean well and you want to play well with others, it is a good idea to know the rules of the game, and what breaking those rules or going along with them means. It’s a kind of ‘in the real world’ insight for the idealistic…

We learn that in the real world, it’s not enough simply to do a good job these days. There are lots of other rules to the game, where one would be wise to learn and follow to grow in one’s profession. Like, if one chooses a career in academia, one must be fluent in academic writing. Forget about it being user friendly. That may be a nice cosy idea in connection to sharing, but that’s not what it’s about… for example. Here’s the New Yorker article… It’s pretty good.


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