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Write What You Know

Media Sighting

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In her recent piece for The Atlantic, Victoria Clayton refers to the “problem” of needlessly complex writing in academia. But this complexity is only a problem for those who don’t see a need for it. And nobody needs complexity more than academics.

Big ideas need big words to express them. Concepts must be transcended, boundaries must be transgressed, paradigms must be reconceptualized. What good is knowing these words if you never get to use them? Where’s the fun in writing a paper if you can’t stick the word “doppelgänger” in there somewhere?

Look, most universities don’t allow smoking indoors anymore. The “old book smell” of the library has been replaced by the sterile digital screen. The dominion of the elbow patch has been co-opted by hipster undergraduates. Words are all that academics have left. If they want to hegemonize and dichotomize, just let them … who are they hurting, anyway?


  • The current AJF Staff Writer is Dina Noto. In the past, our staff writers have included Susan Cummins, Bonnie Levine, and Kerianne Quick, among others. 

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