Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bad Writing, contest or no

Perhaps it should not surprise us that an editor for Yale University recently admitted that twelve years ago university presses could count on 1000 guaranteed sales, but now it’s 200. And I bet literary theorists sell the least.

Mark Bauerlein, in Philosophy and Literature reviews a book about bad writing by academics. The issue, as a particular matter, revolves around the Bad Writing Contest, the winner--a professor of rhetoric at Berkeley--wrote this:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Gee, that’s just one sentence!

But writing like that gets them their PhD, and then tenure.


That writer should pray for the gift of a good copy editor. Perhaps he or she could ask Santa to send one for Christmas?

Do academics think that they might want to write a book that is either readable or worth reading? Reading this code makes me want to re-double my efforts to complete my own book which promises to be a bit more readable.

Does anyone have a useful academic to english translation book I can borrow? I mean I speak three languages, and grasp a few more, but this is incomprehensible. However, just think of the lucky souls that will be receiving a copy of his book for Christmas. What a joyful season.


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