Re: Bad Writing Contest

Sat, 18 May 1996 13:39:55 +1200

Pauline Shafer wrote:

"Oh Dear!!! All those bad-writing winners actually made sense to
me!!! Aggh!! I should've known graduate school would do this to me!!!
Calgon take me away!

university of washington anthro


Not to be too pedantic about Pauline's lighthearted remark, but....

There is no doubt that there is meaning in some of passages which
won the Bad Writing Contest. The point of the contest is not absence
(what one of the winners called "absentation") of meaning, but
presence of absurd, pretentious obscrurity. There are plenty of
difficult writers from Kant on. Kant, for example, is hard because the
issues he tackles are among the most difficult in the history of thought.
These dudes and dudettes are hard because they'd like to convince us
that they're as deep as Kant. Don't believe it, Pauline! These folks
aren't thinkers thinking, they're professors preening.


Dr. Denis Dutton
Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Art
Editor, Philosophy and Literature
University of Canterbury
Christchurch, New Zealand
Phone: (03) 366-7001 Fax: (03) 364-2858