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Academia Nuts


By Eric Pulier

THERE ARE certain subjects about which no modern person can write well. Prominent among these subjects are philosophy, radical left wing politics, and art history.

The problem is so entrenched in our species that it can only be rooted in our past. (Anything rooted in our future would be too speculative to merit discussion.) The earliest human writers were Cave Men who recorded their activities in Cave Language each day with Cave Pens on Dinosaur Hide. This proved disastrous when the dinosaurs selfishly decided to sink into deep and ubiquitous mud pits that, for advanced scientific reasons, appeared directly under each and every dinosaur far more than 20 years ago.

With the written word proven a failure, primitive people were now forced to develop the power of speech in order to communicate to each other when they needed something like a haircut or a dog. Yet as we progressed evolutionarily, human communication needs also expanded--going from "I need a hair cut" to "I need to devote my entire life to analyzing the true meaning of certain paintings...oh, and also give me a haircut while you're here."

These bold new academic advances demanded more than speech could offer and triggered a return to the written word, most likely because no one would listen if you tried to tell them this stuff. Despite alarmist protests ("If God had wanted us to write things down, he wouldn't have made dinosaurs extinct.") the progressive tide won out, and writing was given an historic second chance.

With writing back in the mainstream, human beings were now permitted to develop all the disciplines that they formerly were compelled to ignore for fear of not getting invited back to parties. Science, history, hotel management--the list goes on--soon mankind was the envy of the jungle. Now not only were we able to pursue lofty intellectual goals, but at the same time, because the stuff was all shovelled away in books, no one who had important things to do had to listen.

FROM THIS burgeoning intellectual advancement, an interesting trend developed. Probably because of the deep emotional scars left over from the great dinosoar sinkage, certain subjects uniformly elicit, dare I say, insane effects on would-be writers. For instance, if someone today would like to express--in writing-admiration for a painting, they all of a sudden will find themselves scribbling:

"The object--i.e. man-made form, shaped, that is, through the predeliction of intrinsic motivation, internal, not external to that which can be termed 'the whole'--is, in my opinion--keeping in mind that `my', syntactically defined, is a product of the environment as all thought must of course first be intimated in a priori ontological social funtions--a darn good painting."

Why only certain subjects tend to defy the ability to communicate clearly and effectively on paper is a mystery. My first thought was that only people who are too presumptuous to write understandably would decide to go into these fields. This theory, however, I rejected--mainly to avoid unpleasant threats. Another reason for the phenomenon--probably the most likely--is an unconscious attempt by academic authors to exclude non-professionals from their work. In other words, "if Pulier can understand what I'm saying, then I just haven't phrased it correctly."

Take a recent description of an aspect of Hegel's philosophy that I read. What the author meant to say in the sentence was that Hegel believed that self-consciousness lay at the core of mankind's production of artwork. Instead he produced a sentence with many "qua's" scattered throughout. He even added a German passage in the middle of the sentence without feeling any particular need to translate it.

I can just see the author, eyes gleeming with menacing evil, sitting over his typerwriter and screaming, "Ha! Now Pulier will never understand it. Take that, knave!"

WHERE INDECIPHERABILITY is one frequently chosen method of self-sabotage, exclamation points are another. This is the method selected by by the neighborhood radical left-wing causes to support republicanism. If I tried consciously to make my own cause less believable to the people from whom I ask support, I couldn't think of any better way than how they do it.

" can we make our headline--'REAGAN DEATH SQUAD KILLS WITH RUSTY KNIFE HOMELESS MOTHER IN COLD BLOOD!!!!!!!'--less likely to be taken seriously by people than it already is?"

"How about adding another exclamation point?"

"Yes, that's brilliant! Now no one will read it!"

The amount of interest someone will pay your cause, no matter how noble, decreases exponentially with the addition of every exclamation point after the first. The fact that this is blantantly ignored by intelligent people seems to indicate that they, like academics who produce indecipherable writing, are not really looking for serious attention.

Maybe the dinosaurs had a point.

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