8
   

What is the value of obscure academic text?

 
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Dec, 2011 07:21 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Pentacle Queen wrote:
What is the value of obscure academic text?

In stock market terms, I think it's a buy-low, sell high thing. No academic sets out to write obscure text. They set out to write game-changing texts. Texts that reinvent the field, establish entirely new paradigms, and so forth. Also, no acadamic assigns obscure texts to their students because they're obscure. They assign them because they think the authors will revolutionize the field, change the paradigms, etc. Now they want to get their students in on the revolution before it's too late. Of course, they're wrong most of the time, so instead of buying low and selling high, they're just creating bubbles.
JLNobody
 
  3  
Reply Wed 7 Dec, 2011 11:28 pm
@Setanta,
Set says to High Seas:
"If this bullshit of yours is a slam at me, might i point out to you that there was no "c" in the Greek alphabet. Therefore, Lakonia is not only a good way, but the best way to transcribe Λακωνία into Roman letters."


Wow! Set, you exude an aroma of expertise...(said as laconically as possible--in the style of Ossobucco)
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Dec, 2011 11:42 pm
@JLNobody,
I like exude and it goes well with aroma J... did well in pointing out the parochial style...Mr. Green
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Dec, 2011 11:43 pm
@Setanta,
I have the early text, is which slightly less rambunctious, more suave and to me a kick, but it looks to be well copywrited. The quoted bit a mere bit.

I'll send it to JL first, but that involves my getting my printer ink jets to work.

We'll see.

0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Dec, 2011 11:46 pm
@JLNobody,
I personally disagree with that. I don't think people are that clever, the trying to confuse the reader bit. Indeed, I question those who question that as a premis, are relating to their own scheming. Instead I think the writers think that all the obfuscatory words sound sharp.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Dec, 2011 11:50 pm
@JLNobody,
christ, finally someone understands me.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Dec, 2011 11:56 pm
@ossobuco,
Set it is OK if it was n´t for the fact he gets pissed off so quickly when someone disagrees or provoke him in the slightest, one could engage in allot of learning with him...its quite unfortunate !
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 12:03 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Set and I know each other.

I insist on reading him even while I'm irate. That is unlikely in the other direction, since he's never angry.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 12:06 am
@ossobuco,
I must admit I am surprised but I take your word on it...is just on the web he goes off so quickly...
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 12:13 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
read my post again.

Meantime, Set and I aren't arguing (yet) on this text re obscurantism.
0 Replies
 
G H
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 12:39 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
I was thinking: what is the point of the obscurity? And, is it a tool to gain power?

Unfortunately it's like songwriting or composing instrumentals: Most are stealing to some degree, but you have to alter the content enough so that it's either not blatantly noticeable or fails to qualify for litigation. Obscurity aids the disguise, you're developing new terminology to conceal the re-invention of something old. Where the "unfortunate" stems from is that some thinker of the past may have actually nailed something as best or clearly as it can be nailed. But the work would still have to be passed over as one more admirable but "flawed" effort -- to become the shoulders to stand on or be the divergence point for yet another. Because the next generation must carve its own intellectual niche, or at least the appearance of it, masked behind the ever increasingly complex facades. There can't be an "end" to whatever is sought, because that means either a loss of occupation or boring repetition. If "truth" were the goal, then truth must take a back seat to the ceaseless progression of art -- it must be papered over if ever found, diluted and obscured to the point of resembling some new or different creature. Thinking, on those rare occasions where an actual stopping point is attainable, is too much like creative art -- rather than like the family content for centuries to sell tickets to tourists to view the magnificent cavern that their ancestor discovered, which they never see fit to modify.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 02:47 am
A typical, and why not, an acceptable account on obscurity, may go about the difference in between erudition and a formal education, opposed to intelligence and wisdom, as not so rarely, the first is used to hide the consistent lack on the second...
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 02:59 am
@JLNobody,
Quote:
Wow! Set, you exude an aroma of expertise...


I stink, therefore, i yam.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 07:29 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
Also, no acadamic assigns obscure texts to their students because they're obscure.


In the first course I ever took in graduate school, obscure texts got assigned to us for precisely this reason. The course was an introduction and history of the field, and as obscurantism was the reigning trend in our field from about the 1990s till about the mid-2000s, we were expected to be familiar with the style. We were definitely not encouraged to use it, at least not by this professor. At no point did he have any illusions that he was teaching us stuff that was going to revolutionize the field, and in fact he predicted that the obscurantist style was going to hit its expiration date very soon.

(He was right. Last month, at a conference, I witnessed a paper by a scholar who had previously been a prominent Adornian--and is still trying to be--and his presentation was a hopeless mess of jargon that, in 2011, was downright embarrassing. Even people who were nominally part of his cohort cringed. It was like watching a mastodon emerge from the ice.)
High Seas
 
  0  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 07:51 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

Set says to High Seas:
"If this bullshit of yours is a slam at me, might i point out to you that there was no "c" in the Greek alphabet. Therefore, Lakonia is not only a good way, but the best way to transcribe Λακωνία into Roman letters."


Wow! Set, you exude an aroma of expertise...(said as laconically as possible--in the style of Ossobucco)

You missed his point - we have to start spelling it "lakonically"; there's deliberate obscurantism, and then there's crass ignorance, take your pick.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 08:55 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

If this bullshit of yours is a slam at me, might i point out to you that there was no "c" in the Greek alphabet. Therefore, Lakonia is not only a good way, but the best way to transcribe Λακωνία into Roman letters.


The thing is, nobody will agree, when I was in Crete everything had two spellings, the capital is either Heraklion or Iraklion depending on how you feel. The home of the minotaur is usually spelled Knossos, but the K is not silent. The first time I pronounced it incorrectly, as in knee or knock. If it had been spelled Cnossos I wouldn't have made that mistake, which ruined my holiday, and even though I didn't know you at the time I still blame you for it.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 09:10 am
@Shapeless,
Shapeless wrote:
Quote:
Also, no acadamic assigns obscure texts to their students because they're obscure.

In the first course I ever took in graduate school, obscure texts got assigned to us for precisely this reason. The course was an introduction and history of the field, and as obscurantism was the reigning trend in our field from about the 1990s till about the mid-2000s, we were expected to be familiar with the style.

Interesting. That makes sense.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 09:19 am
@Shapeless,
Shapeless wrote:

Quote:
Also, no acadamic assigns obscure texts to their students because they're obscure.


In the first course I ever took in graduate school, obscure texts got assigned to us for precisely this reason. The course was an introduction and history of the field, and as obscurantism was the reigning trend in our field from about the 1990s till about the mid-2000s, we were expected to be familiar with the style. We were definitely not encouraged to use it, at least not by this professor. At no point did he have any illusions that he was teaching us stuff that was going to revolutionize the field, and in fact he predicted that the obscurantist style was going to hit its expiration date very soon.

(He was right. Last month, at a conference, I witnessed a paper by a scholar who had previously been a prominent Adornian--and is still trying to be--and his presentation was a hopeless mess of jargon that, in 2011, was downright embarrassing. Even people who were nominally part of his cohort cringed. It was like watching a mastodon emerge from the ice.)


Good post.
It's interesting to look at the ways in which academics who forge their careers on a particular thinker, rather than genre or whatever emulate their style. E.g. in Abbate's work on Adorno she starts emulating his style. It's basically a political trick to boost the value of their own work by invoking the power and prestige of an another figure.
I was thinking that would make a good essay, to take a **** bit of musicology and try and show how it invokes authority by appealing to authority figures. Then suggest that because of the climate of musicology the proposed change in methodology wouldn't have been able to come from inside the academy, but relies from authority from elsewhere. I can't think who I would actually do it on, though.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 01:36 pm
@izzythepush,
That's OK by me, it's no skin off my nose. The point, which you missed, is that we are dealing with two different alphabets here, and i say the Greeks get to decide how theirs is transcribed into Roman letters and how it's pronounced, Hessy . . .
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 01:42 pm
@High Seas,
No, you just made that **** up. When naming the region of Greece, Lakonia is correct. No one (certainly not me) is suggesting that even idiotic bitches like you have to change how you spell a word we altered when it was adopted.

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

Quote:
"concise, abrupt," 1580s, from Gk. Lakonikos, from Lakon "person from Lakonia," the district around Sparta in southern Greece in ancient times, whose inhabitants were famously proud of their brevity of speech. When Philip of Macedon threatened them with, "If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta to the ground," the Spartans' reply was, "If." Related: Laconically.


Your problem (apart from being a total bitch) is that you're not even a genuine pedant--you're a phony pedant.
 

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