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Monday, November 9, 2020

Academia: The Home and Protector of Bad Writing

      The idea that writing should be clear, concise, and low-jargon isn't a new one...Sometimes referred to as an "opaque writing style"-- it has expanded [from government] to the fields of law and science. In academia, bad writing has become something of a protected tradition.

     [In 2014], Harvard's Steven Pinker...authored an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education in which he used adjectives like "turgid, soggy, wooden, bloated, clumsy, obscure, unpleasant to read, and impossible to understand" to describe academic writing.

Victoria Clayton, "The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing," The Atlantic, October 26, 2015


  1. Reading a well written piece is such a joy. Reading something like Pinker describes is like being on a slave pushing a wheel of pain. I’ve had to do both.
    My theory is that some writers are brilliant and know their field but don’t have the skill to express their ideas.
    I’m struggling to read a large book of economics which is more in the wheel of pain category. Wish me luck.