Tuesday, June 03, 2008
(12:00 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Tuesday Hatred: Naptime, dammitI hate being asked if I have a minute for the environment or for any other worthy cause. Why? Because I emphatically do not have a minute or even a second for anything but myself and my immediate needs. I am a morally bankrupt person who will never know the true happiness that comes only from filling out a form and giving a piddling amount of money to a charity I know nothing about. I will never be able to contribute as positively to the environment as those who likely end up on a million mailing lists for similar charities. (We recycle our junk mail; do you?)
I hate that I've gone so long without buying new clothes when, in point of fact, doing so is an incredibly easy thing. I hate that I've been walking around in a pair of jeans with a crotch tear for over a month, despite the fact that I have easy access to dozens of exciting retail locations via the CTA -- and I'm signed up for double cash back rewards from Discover on clothing purchases all through the summer! I'm actually making money!
I hate that my plans for "getting" certain L stops -- itself a ridiculous goal -- are becoming increasingly contrived. For instance, the only plausible way to "get" the Chicago Blue Line stop seems to be to go to my favorite restaurant in Logan Square (or indeed anywhere: El Cid) and the foreign-language bookstore downtown in the same day (the order doesn't matter, thankfully). I hate that if I were to go to that bookstore, I would probably seriously consider picking up a copy of Hegel's Wissenschaft der Logik, as recommended in this interesting thread. I hate that the poll stopped working on that post and caused this page to take forever to load all weekend.
I hate that my cell phone battery seems to be dying. I hate that the same laziness that keeps me from ever buying clothes has also kept me from making the minimal effort of going to a Sprint store and redeeming my $150 credit for a new phone.
I hate it when writers use "query" as a proximity-induced synonym for "question." More broadly, I hate it when writers back themselves into a corner that requires extensive use of proximity-induced synonyms. Such patterns often arise when an author is apparently insecure that another person's argument, which they are merely describing, will be attributed directly to them -- so we're subjected to the endless, "Anselm says," "Anselm argues," "Anselm contends [one of my least favorites]," "God's honor, Anselm insists, must be satisfied...." The thing that is annoying about "query," however, is that it is so seldom necessary even as a proximity-induced synonym. Take this excerpt from Darby Ray, Deceiving the Devil: Atonement, Abuse, and Ransom:
The question of how God works in the world to confront evil is the question at the heart of this book. The Christian approach to this query, referred to as the doctrine of atonement, focuses....Was a proximity-induced synonym really necessary there? Let's try it out without it:
The question of how God works in the world to confront evil is the question at the heart of this book. The Christian approach to this question, referred to as the doctrine of atonement, focuses....I think the second version is actually much smoother. "Query" is a contrived word and calls undue attention to itself. The repeated "question" feels much more natural and keeps the style in the background, which seems more appropriate for the kind of book Ray is writing. She could also recast the sentences so that one of the repeated "questions" could be replaced by "one." (I will also quietly note that Ray overuses -- i.e., uses at all -- "eschew.")
I hate that I seem to be picking on Darby Ray when in fact the proximity-induced synonym syndrome is one of the most widespread afflictions in academic writing.
I love that "proximity-induced synonym" appears to be yet another Kotsko-brand Academic Coinage, joining academic Stockholm Syndrome and magnum opusculum.