8.11.2010

Writing Style

A lawyer friend asks, "I wonder if our jobs influence our writing styles?"

I reply,
Oh, I think absolutely. I've developed, since halfway through graduate school, a circumlocutory style that usually produces the effect of mystery on my readers. I'm conscious of this, and in conversations with trusted (i.e., non-academic) friends, embarrassed by it -- but it's that style that allowed me to get through graduate school without speaking what I believed to be outright lies: if I could be all-over-the-place enough, without being grammatically incorrect, my readers would be mystified. And if, on top of that, I quote sources that they have always felt ashamed not to have read, like Plotinus's Enneads or something by Santayana or Simone Weil -- you know, something they would've read if they hadn't read all 37 of Foucault's books -- then they would usually let me go sort of figuring I knew what I was talking about.

3 comments:

宇緯陳陳宇緯陳陳 said...

好中意你的BLOG阿~加油!............................................................

Monica said...

Of course our jobs influence our writing styles. Why else would I use words like "geopolitical," "ineffable," and "midrashic" when signing a greeting card for my mother?

Casey said...

HAHAHAHA! -- great second sentence, there, Monica.