9.04.2008

Wordy clarification

Ann, the bestest English teacher at any high school in Minnesota, wonders if I would take offense at jargony words being used for the first time. That is, if she teaches her students otherness and intertextuality, isn't she giving them the tools they need to analyze literature, and be articulate in discussing it?

My answer is of course. Snarkiness aside, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with these words (and yes, there was another boatload of them today). The problem I have is when they are used as a kind of shorthand, or avoidance tactic. Rather than really taking a passage or concept or idea apart, we throw hegemony at it, or post-modern. Or schamlippen. Anything to avoid speaking plain or uncomfortable truths. It is--at least in the context of many a college classroom--elitist and sloppy. So I am going to continue to rail against the overuse of two-bit words, and I'm going to move the offending words to the sidebar of this blog so that we can watch the list grow. Someday the list will be a useful reminder to me about how I do and don't want to teach.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, please. Post them on your blog. I'll try to use a new one every day.

phil


"Impactful" still puts my teeth on edge, and I've been hearing it used regularly for 20 years.

Stephanie said...

I'm still trying to decide whether I'll let the fact that YWCA uses the word "empower" in its motto override the fact that it has nicer facilities than the YMCA in my choice of which gym to join. "Empower" is usually a deal-breaker for me. Also, my closest friends are all authorized to slap me if I ever say that someone has either "intimacy" or "commitment" issues and mean it.

deb said...

I'd like to add "having issues" to the list.

Sean said...

Did you have to say Schammlippen???

Ich bin fast in Ohnmacht gefallen!

Pari said...

How about some of my favorites from seminary? There's the ubiquitous "unpack", and "narrativity." A recent heinous example is "live into" (as in "live into the text") followed closely by an obsession with all things "missional."

Eric said...

Maverick