Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bad Writing

The following passages were cited by the editors of the journal Philosophy and Literature (John Hopkins University) as examples of really bad writing which, according to journal editor Denis Dutton, were "produced by well-known, highly-paid experts who have no doubt labored for years to write like this. That these scholars must know what they are doing is indicated by the fact that the entries were all published by distinguished presses and academic journals.”

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.
-- Professor Judith Butler, Diacritics (1997)

If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities, and classifications can be seen as the desperate effort to “normalize” formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality.
-- Professor Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (1994)

As my story is an august tale of fathers and sons, real and imagined, the biography here will fitfully attend to the putative traces in Manet’s work of “les noms du père,” a Lacanian romance of the errant paternal phallus (“Les Non-dupes errent”), a revised Freudian novella of the inferential dynamic of paternity which annihilates (and hence enculturates) through the deferred introduction of the third term of insemination the phenomenologically irreducible dyad of the mother and child.
-- Steven Z. Levine, Twelve Views of Manet’s “Bar” (1996)

The first two passages won first and second prizes, respectively, in the journal's Bad Writing Contest in 1998. Read more unintelligible works in the full article.

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