Thursday, October 18, 2012

The problem with academics

I read Will Davies' post on 'the problem with clever people' with amusement - and it reminded me of a another group of clever people who have an impressive capacity for annoyance and that is academics.

It's partly the way some of them give the impression that their specialism has absorbed all the energy that they might otherwise use for practical things like operating electrical appliances - but this is often too funny to be truly annoying.

No, it's the way some of them talk.  Some of them?  Most of them in my experience.  I think there must be post-PhD classes they attend:  "Now remember boys and girls - you should never ever say, 'I think'.  That's just too ghastly and pedestrian.  From now on it's always, 'it seems to me'."

But that's not anywhere near as annoying as their tendency to say things like, "I'm mystified by, intrigued by, confused by, puzzled by..." something you've said - when what they mean is they think you are puzzled and confused.  Why don't they just say so?  Annoying, especially when it comes from people who aren't even real academics.  Do you do this? You should stop it immediately.  It's pompous, patronising and makes you sound like a complete tosser.

(As I've said before, my dad was an academic so feel free to find something Freudian in this if you wish.)

1 comment:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Definitely Freudian.

I hope I don't get too stuck in that academic-speak rut. And I do try to challenge the way academic speak and writing is expected to sound. But if they will remain hooked on the 'avoid the first person' then lots of this stuff will sneak through.

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