[lit-ideas] Re: Why Is Academic Writing So Academic?

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2014 13:39:34 -0800 (PST)

This discussion seems rather frivolous and 'jejune'  in light of Wittgenstein's 
serious interest in gardening, and someone's bad mood.


On Friday, February 28, 2014 10:17 PM, David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx> 
How can the makers of a garden bench be so stupid?  Are these somehow related 
questions?  They are in my mind because they are both largely unanswerable: 
academic writers have developed cultural norms; garden bench designers?  Who 
knows.  I bought a beautiful garden bench at an estate sale, a most unusual one 
with a slight convex curve to the seat.  You'd think it might be uncomfortable, 
but no.  It wasn't.  Past tense.  Apparently the designers managed the feat of 
engineering by building the outdoor bench out of soluble material.  Yesterday I 
notice that the curve had gone.  Today, the bench collapsed.

I'm back at my computer.  "But," you say, "you were at it yesterday."  Only 
standing up.  Much of yesterday was devoted to preventing my back from going 
into full spasm.  After lots of yoga and hot water and one ibuprofen, I 
managed.  And I wrote in the afternoon.  But not the usual kind of day.

I finished Dan Brown's latest in the wee hours.  It's one very long long chase 
sequence, mixed with a lecture about Dante and Venice's relationship to 
Constantinople. There's enough of interest to keep the pages turning, including 
this gem of a sentence, the best mangle of metaphor I've come across in a 
while.  Two very smart people (so the author says) are talking to one another.  

"Sinskey was silent, deep in thought.  'So you believe we should embrace these 
tools with open arms.'"

When I stopped being silently amused (it was the wee hours) my next thought 
was, "but maybe he's written only the truth.  This is how people do speak.  
Many wouldn't hear anything wrong at all."

In the evening we went to see a tennis display, put on in aid of cancer 
treatment centers: McEnroe, Courier, Agassi and Blake played.  Agassi emerged 
as the champion.  McEnroe's match, the four of us who went agreed, was the 
least interesting of the three.  And here's the counter-argument, a totally 
opposite view:

It takes all sorts, so do carry on.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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