Its a sentence from making Monstrous: Frankenstein, Criticism, Theory, by Fred Botting (Manchester University Press, 1991 The lure of imaginary totality is momentarily frozen before the dialectic of desire hastens on within symbolic chains. Still, prolixity is often a feature of bad writing, as demonstrated by our next winner, a passage submitted by mindy michels, a graduate anthropology student at the American University in Washington,. Its written by Stephen Tyler, and appears in Writing Culture, edited (it says) by james Clifford and george. Marcus (University of California press, 1986). Of what he calls post-modern ethnography, professor Tyler says: It thus relativizes discourse not just to form that familiar perversion of the modernist; nor to authorial intention that conceit of the romantics; nor to a foundational world beyond discourse that desperate grasping for a separate. Tim van Gelder of the University of Melbourne sent us the following sentence: Since thought is seen to be rhizomatic rather than arboreal, the movement of differentiation and becoming is already imbued with its own positive trajectory. Its from The continental Philosophy reader, edited by richard kearney and Mara rainwater (Routledge, 1996 part of an editors introduction intended to help students understand a chapter.
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If reading Fredric Jameson is like swimming through cold porridge, there are writers who strive for incoherence of a more bombastic kind. Here is our next winner, which was found for us by Professor Cynthia freeland of the busy University of houston. The writer is Professor Rob Wilson: If such a sublime cyborg would insinuate the future as post-Fordist subject, his palpably masochistic locations as ecstatic agent of the sublime superstate need to be decoded as the now-all-but-unreadable dna of a fast deindustrializing Detroit, just as his. This colorful gem appears in a collection called The Administration of Aesthetics: Censorship, political Criticism, and the public Sphere, edited by richard Burt for the social Text Collective (University of Minnesota Press, 1994). Social Text is the cultural studies journal made famous by publishing physicist Alan sokals jargon-ridden parody of postmodernist writing. If this essay is Social Texts idea of scholarship, little wonder it fell for sokals hoax. (And precisely what are racially heteroglossic wilds and others?). Wilson is an English professor, of course. That incomprehensibility need not be long-winded is proven by our third-place winner, sent in by richard Collier, who teaches. Royal College in Canada.
This is a mistake the authors of our prize-winning passages seem determined to avoid. The first prize goes to the distinguished scholar Fredric Jameson, a man who on the evidence of his many admired books finds it difficult to write intelligibly and impossible to write well. Whether this is because of the deep complexity of Professor Jamesons ideas or their patent absurdity is something readers must decide for themselves. Here, spotted for us by dave roden of Central queensland University in Australia, is the very first sentence of Professor Jamesons book, signatures of the visible (Routledge, 1990,. 1 The visual is essentially pornographic, which is to say that it has its end in rapt, mindless fascination; thinking about its attributes becomes an adjunct to that, if it is unwilling to betray its object; while the most austere films necessarily draw their energy. Roden says it is good of Jameson to let readers know so soon what theyre up against. We cannot see what the second that in the sentence refers. And imagine if that uncertain it were willing to betray its object? The reader may be baffled, but then supermarket any author who thinks visual experience is essentially pornographic suffers confusions no lessons in English composition are going to fix.
1997 we are pleased to announce winners of the third Bad Writing Contest, sponsored by the scholarly journal Philosophy and Literature and its internet discussion group, phil-lit. The bad Writing Contest attempts to locate the ugliest, most stylistically awful passage found in a scholarly book or article published in the last few years. Ordinary journalism, fiction, etc. Are not eligible, nor are parodies: entries must be non-ironic, from actual serious academic journals or books. In a field where unintended self-parody is so widespread, deliberate send-ups are hardly necessary. This years winning passages include prose published by established, successful scholars, experts who have doubtless labored for years to write like this. Obscurity, after all, can be a notable achievement. The fame and influence of writers such as Hegel, heidegger, or Derrida rests in part on their mysterious impenetrability. On the other book hand, as a cynic once remarked, john Stuart Mill never attained Hegels prestige because people found out what he meant.
The author. Foundation: Matter the body Itself. Total presence breaks on the univocal predication of the exterior absolute the absolute existent (of that of which it is not possible to univocally predicate an outside, while the equivocal predication of the outside of the absolute exterior is possible of that of which the. This is the real exteriority of the absolute outside: the reality of the absolutely unconditioned absolute outside univocally predicated of the dark: the light univocally predicated of the darkness: the shining of the light univocally predicated of the limit of the darkness: actuality univocally predicated. The precision of the shining of the light breaking the dark is the other-identity of the light. The precision of the absolutely minimum transcendence of the dark is the light itself/the absolutely unconditioned exteriority of existence for the first time/the absolutely facial identity of existence/the proportion of the new creation sans depth/the light itself ex nihilo : the dark itself univocally identified. E., not self-identity identity itself equivocally, not the dark itself equivocally, in self-alienation, not self-identity, itself in self-alienation released in and by otherness, and actual other, itself, not the abysmal inversion of the light, the reality of the darkness equivocally, absolute identity equivocally predicated. Devaney calls this book absolutely, unequivocally incomprehensible. While she has supplied further extended"tions to prove her point, this seems to be enough.
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Peters of essay the University of Iowa, who describes it as quite splendid: enunciatory modality, indeed! Ed Lilley, an art historian at the University of Bristol in the. K., supplied a sentence by Steven. Levine from an anthology entitled. Stewart Unwin of the national Library of Australia passed along this gem from the. Australasian journal of American Studies (December 1997). The author is Timothy.
Luke, and the article is entitled, museum pieces: Politics and Knowledge at the American Museum of Natural History: Natural history museums, like the American Museum, constitute one decisive means for power to de-privatize and re-publicize, if only ever so slightly, the realms of death. An anatomo-politics of human and non-human bodies is sustained by accumulating and classifying such necroliths in the museums observational/expositional performances. The passage goes on to explain that museum fossils and artifacts are strange superconductive conduits, carrying the vital elan of contemporary biopower. Its demonstrated with helpful"tions from Michel foucaults. Finally, a tour de force from a 1996 essay book published by the State University of New York Press. It was located. Devaney, an editor at the University of Nebraska press.
As usual, commented Denis Dutton, editor. Philosophy and Literature, this years winners 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 winning entries were all published by distinguished presses and academic journals. Professor Butlers first-prize sentence appears in Further Reflections on the conversations of Our Time, an article in the scholarly journal. Diacritics (1997 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. Dutton remarked that its possibly the anxiety-inducing obscurity of such writing that has led.
Professor Warren Hedges of southern Oregon University to praise. Judith Butler as probably one of the ten smartest people on the planet. This years second prize went to a sentence written. Bhabha, a professor of English at the University of Chicago. The location of Culture (Routledge, 1994 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. This prize-winning entry was nominated by john.
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The bad Writing Contest celebrates the most stylistically lamentable the passages found in scholarly books and articles published in the last few years. Ordinary journalism, fiction, departmental memos, etc. Are business not eligible, nor are parodies: entries must be non-ironic, from serious, published academic journals or books. Deliberate parody cannot be allowed in a field where unintended self-parody is so widespread. Two of the most popular and influential literary scholars in the. Are among those who wrote winning entries in the latest contest. Judith Butler, a guggenheim Fellowship-winning professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley, admired as perhaps one of the ten smartest people on the planet, wrote the sentence that captured the contests first prize. Bhabha, a leading voice in the fashionable academic field of postcolonial studies, produced the second-prize winner.
Auric (Goldfinger/James Bond ganon (Legend of Zelda jareth (Labyrinth lex (Superman). Kraven (Spiderman, Underworld mystique (x-men stryker (x-men thade (Planet of the Apes thanos (Marvel Comics). Edit - per a reader suggestion, let's add. That one's a particularly rich brew of attraction and danger: the belle of the ball crossed with a dominatrix. The, philosophy and Literature, bad Writing Contest ran from 1995 to 1998. For an essay giving background on the contest, click here. 1998, we are pleased nature to announce winners of the fourth Bad Writing Contest, sponsored by the scholarly journal.
realm of names with just enough wickedness to give a thrill, without laughs or revulsion. Take a look at the list below. All are prominent fictional villains with unusual names that have shown up in recent years' baby name records. Do you think the names themselves show a villainous kick? (Note: In some cases the name has additional cultural associations, but none that spurred a significant. I've skipped morally ambiguous characters like anakin and Elektra, and names like lucifer and loki that pop up in too many villainous contexts to pin down. And before you ask, yes, there are babies named Lucifer.).
Jadis is a tidy style synthesis - jadaParis - that sounds almost classic. Voldemort, estate meanwhile, falls wide of the fashion mark. (Vlad the Impaler rigor mortis?). In fact, parents do use the name jadis at the rate of about ten baby girls a year ian the. Do those parents not know or care about the villainy, or could the wicked vibe actually be part of the name's appeal? The number of baby jadises rose with the release of the narnia movies, which does point to a positive white witch influence. There's plenty of precedent for such diabolical name sources. "Demon spawn" from horror movies, for instance, are reliable trendsetters. Perhaps evil just has a distinctive sound and style, a tantalizing edge of danger imbedded in the name.
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My nine-year-old daughter approached me plan with a naming dilemma. She'd come across an appealing name in a book, but it was attached to a not-so-appealing character. Really, quite an unappealing character. As in horrifying and diabolical. Did that make the name off-limits for nice characters in stories, or future children? The name in question was, jadis, the White witch of Narnia. I had to hand it to her, that's one snazzy name. And unlike, say, voldemort, i think you could get away with using. The fact that the character Jadis is most often referred to by other titles helps, but the biggest factor is the name itself.