Your point about the Chilean professors’ attitude to ethics is interesting. Are they being lazy, or are there systematic reasons for their non-participation in learning at the highest levels?
I’m glad you brought up the point about reaching “a broader audience”. It’s imperative to add that the broader audience and the current audience both fell under her purvey. Stylish writing shouldn’t be the domain of the generalist.
Actually, I wrote my essay trying to follow Sword’s recommendations. I was hoping for a more direct and pleasurable product. As no one has commented on it, I’m left wondering if it worked or not.
I was enjoying the strict casualness of that approach until Sura mentioned in this forum that she liked reading academic style. That made me pause. There will be a lot of people in academia who do enjoy the kind of prose that Sword and Pinker attack. Many of these people will be our referees for the paper we send in for publication. Personally, I feel a sense of secureness in the strict style knowing that I’m in the hands of a careful academic. It’s because I’ve read enough of Pinker, Dawkins, Hofestede Geertz and so on that I can relax and ‘trust’ in their writing style. If I see an (to me) unknown academic who tries to write (let’s call it) the high-end broadsheet style, I do recoil until I get a sense of their competancy through their content.
In other words, content is king. I’m a (we all are) fast and fluent reader. I don’t really need texts like Sword’s except to pass the time more pleasurably. If the content is good, I’m fine.
There is (and Cheema will know this well) a concept in psychology called ‘good enough’. Usually it’s a term used in parenting. It refers to something being of a minimally high standard where success can occur. If someone tries for perfection in childrearing, they won’t be a better parent than anyone who achieves the good enough level. After this level has been reached, the parenting will be successful. Going beyond that level doesn’t result in better parenting outcomes. And trying for perfection may well be detrimental if by trying too hard, stress and other negative factors are introduced. ‘Good enough’ means ‘good to the level where success is likely’.
In writing, perhaps good enough is a valid target. Not Sword, nor Pinker et al. My essay went too far toward’s Sword. The pendulum swings, and eventually it will settle on the equilibrium.