Thursday, November 13, 2003

"Theory" gets tenure 

Speaking about bad writing, and we were here, there is the hypothesis of Ophelia Benson that bad writing is its own reward. I think this particular passage is spot-on:
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. Bad writers have a set of self-flattering responses to criticism all ready and lined up, and they trot them out with alacrity whenever anyone suggests that they ought to make sense...