@The Pentacle Queen,
What about the ways language is used to describe things that are beyond language? It appears that sometimes there is no choice but to be obscure.
You're right that there are some academics who use obscurity to reproduce the effects of music and art as closely as possible. For writers like Jankélévitch, Abbate, etc., the role of scholarship is to be an extension of art rather than an explication of it. In her most characteristic text, "Music: Drastic or Gnostic?", Abbate goes so far as to say there are moments when scholars must acknowledge the inadequacy of their scholarly methods in recapturing the aesthetic experience and that we might all do better to simply "fall silent" (her words) before the artwork. Jankélévitch says much the same, especially in his writings on Debussy, and it's not a coincidence that Jankélévitch is among Abbate's favorite writers. In that sense, the humanities trends of the 1990s were a reincarnation of German Romantic writings of the nineteenth century, especially Hoffman and Wagner.
The difference, of course, is that Hoffman and Wagner never claimed to be academics. This raises the separate but related issue of what the proper role of academic texts, obscure or otherwise, ought to be. For writers like Jankélévitch and Abbate, I would say the purpose of obscurity in academic texts is exactly what was mentioned above: to bring the texts closer to the condition of art, which in my view has the effect of bringing them further away from scholarship. Many scholars disagree with me, of course, but I would question whether recapturing the aesthetic experience is what academics should be doing in the first place. I really can't take seriously any scholar who says our job is to "fall silent," and I certainly don't think falling silent is enough to warrant a PhD or an academic position. (One colleague of mine wryly observed that Abbate has the luxury of falling silent now that she has a cushy Ivy League job.) The above-mentioned writers are using the obscurity of art as way to shield their own writings from refutation, which seems intellectually dishonest to me. As a few people mentioned here, it's a strategy that appears occasionally on A2K... here's one long-winded example
and a briefer example
from the distant past.)