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A Rant

(reproduced from 503, 2007)

Academic Writing Frustrations

I’ve come to unwind in the cafe, and bitch. Apparently this is where to do it. I would have preferred the Sticky Wicket, frankly. Is there scotch here?

The following may not make me popular to assessors…..


I am becoming firmly convinced that academic writing is not my forte, nor my love. This reinforces my stated goal of aiming for the B- in this program. Hopefully I can achieve that.

I find academic writing, at least the little that I’ve had to do so far, very restrictive and quite un-creative. All this citing! Am I not allowed to hold my own thoughts, however reached? I have ideas, and thoughts but feel that maybe I should be reading every single possible written piece on a subject under review, in order to make sure someone else doesn’t think the same and was first to put it in writing. Is this productive? Is it even possible? How is this good, except to the guardians of institutional rules? Are previous writers so insecure that they must continually have reference made to their works? Is this only about cash, recognition, ego? Is this a courtesy thing? A way of saying thanks?

Unfortunately, entrenched academia holds the market on credentialism, and as any good monopolist would, they set the rules and determine who gets the rewards. Do they fear Wikipedia, the common person’s library? I predict instruments such as this will supplant academic institutions within my lifetime, if they haven’t already done so. Academia, is your market share slipping? Are you already only a niche? Maybe you should have a look at what has happened to GM. Perhaps it is time for a competitor to emerge. Or maybe one has.

What would happen to singers if they cited other singers in their work? Can you imagine what song lyrics would look like?

“Baby I love you”

as used in (Lopez, J.), (McBride, M), (Franklin, A) also reported by (Ramones, The), also mentioned by (Jackson, A) with the addition of “Hey” at the commencement of the lyric

Perhaps an explanatory footnote should be used:

1. Generally perceived to be a subjective expression of the love emotion to the object ‘baby’, which refers to the love interest, of either gender to either gender, not normally associated to the definition of baby as used in the sense of very young human. The use of the word “Hey”, by (Jackson, A) is revealing and could be considered to be an attempt at attention-seeking, and/or an emphasis on making the point. Yada yada yada

I’ve left out the year of publication, but I think I’ve made my point. And this is only the first line! Question: How would a group actually sing this, with the citing in? Perhaps lead could sing the main lyric, and a backup vocalist could chant the cites in the background. Would this make everyone happy?

Is academic rigour in fact removing creativity from the soul? Has rigour mortis set in to academia? Maybe I better watch the video Lauren mentioned.

That’s it. Had to get it off my chest. Thanks for listening. I actually love academe. Really.


Anderson,K. (2007). Silly thoughts from a silly sailor mind. Keswick, On. Canada: unpublishable

P.S. Whom do I cite, if I can ever have an original thought. God? ΩΑ

P.P.S. look at that. i’m over the freakin’ word count! Shame!

One Comment
  1. What is it you like about academe after all? Is it not the social connection with other people with whom you can carry on a conversation about anything at all? Is it touching other minds? Is it access to libraries, experts and other disciplines.
    Consider how you would feel growing up in a remote area where the only intellectual activity is attending church? For those people the only exercise of their minds is in discussing the sermon or church-determined lesson of the day. Is it, therefore, surprising that certain people are challenging Obama for the hearts and minds of our neighbours?
    Perhaps I am one of those limited, backward contributers to PLENK. I am simply offering examples of how the philosophy touches the real student at the end of the academic line; that is, the roots of the educational system.

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