Cross about Fabian comment - An archaeo comment

Sean C. Hess (hess@VANCOUVER.WSU.EDU)
Sat, 2 Apr 1994 18:11:31 -0700

defense of obscurity. While I agree that the difficulty of a passage of
prose may have nothing to do with its veracity, I do not share Brooks'
feeling of accomplishment when I finally think that I understand what the
author was saying. I feel that my time has been wasted by
someone who is more interested in posturing than in communication.
During my graduate coursework, some of the worst examples of prose that
I have ever seen were forced upon me in the name of education. Clifford
Geertz and Richard Chaney leap to mind as some the worst offenders, but
given time I could come up with more. I would like to add, though,
that I found some of Chaney's ideas stimulating, but it took me at least
three semesters of listening to the man in classes before I could
understand what the hell he was talking about.
Perhaps it is vanity, but I do not think that my lack of understanding
is due to any mental short comings or ignorance. From my
perspective as an archaeologist who is interested in alternative
paradigms, I would love to encounter a meaningful and rich new background
for my work. The works produced by the
supposed avant-garde of anthropological theory, though, consistently turn
me off. If they want to create their own little language game, that's
fine with me. Just don't expect me (or almost any other archaeologist I
know) to try to incorporate their high-talking, low-minded stuff into my
site reports. Give me something I can use.

Sean "I'm sick of graduate school" Hess