Friday, March 12, 2010

The "Arcane Jargon" of Academia

"I sat with a classmate from Harvard Divinity School who is now a theology professor. When I asked her what she was teaching, she unleashed a torrent of arcane jargon. I had no idea, even with three years of seminary, what she was talking about. You can see this retreat into specialized, impenetrable verbal enclaves in every academic department and discipline across the country. The more these universities churn out these stunted men and women, the more we are flooded with peculiar breed of specialist who uses obscure code words as a way to avoid communication. This specialist blindly services tiny parts of a corporate power structure he or she has never been taught to question. Specialists look down on the rest of us, who do not understand what they are talking and writing about, with thinly veiled contempt."

Chris Hedges The Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, page 96

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