Tips for the Academic Writer

Here is a list of short, bullet point tips for you academics out there who wish to impart your obviously extensive knowledge to those people out there in the world.

  • Don’t be afraid to reference yourself. This may seem… hmm what’s the word? Oh yeah, arrogant. But remember- you are obviously the world’s foremost expert on whichever subject you are writing on. Hell, if you weren’t, why would you be writing the book you’re now writing?! So feel free to reference yourself at every opportunity, as this will encourage the student to buy this other book in order to learn from you. God bless you. Hell, your students should be fucking bowing to you by now.
  • Make up words. Whenever you don’t feel you can express yourself effectively in your native tongue (especially if that native tongue is ‘Ox’ in which case, you’re probably a large bovine mammal and should probably disregard the remainder of this article) feel free to make some up! You’re a philosopher and there’s no word you can think of that incorporates ‘existence’ with ‘apathy’ make something up like ‘apa-existentialism’ or ‘exi-apathy’. You’re well on your way to a Pulitzer every time you show your wordsmith…iness.
  • Don’t bother extrapolating on difficult issues. As you are obviously super smart, hence why you’re an academic, you obviously shouldn’t lower your years of extensive knowledge and research to such a base level as that of an ‘undergraduate’. You just stated something bloody simple such as ‘The existence of the telegraph wire during the 19th century helped provide the Russian West with a nihilistic perma-apa-existentialist quasi world view that permeated the Jakarta parliament’ you shouldn’t waste time explaining how this happened. Or why. You’re not here to do the work for them you know. You’re here to write a damn book, especially one that’ll make your peers slap you on the back as you walk down the corridor. Expect compliments like ‘Heh pulled one on them yet again, eh, you sly dog?!’ You can’t buy this kind of entertainment, you know.
  • Foreign words require no translation or explanation. Nothing says ‘I am FUCKING smart’ like Latin. Obviously anyone who reads your book should’ve at least had training in, oh, say, three languages. One of these will obviously be Latin. Duh. So feel free to bandy about phrases like ‘Ab ovo’ or ‘ex hypothesi’ or, my personal favourite (for its absolute ambiguity) ‘Si vos utriusque ut reddo is , vos es tristis. Quod devia.’ Also, German is good to throw around, since you’ll look cultured and well read. Freud was German too! And so was Marx… I think. Oh and Peter Sellers! Wait… well he looks foreign, which probably means he knew German, yeah?
  • Make sentences as unwieldy as possible. Quotable sentences are for chumps should be your mantra. Sentences should be littered with thoughts that, for one reason or another, in this world at this present time, in relation to existentialist ontology, as we define it in the Penguin Philosophical Dictionary, assuming this world exists as we know it, which is something Descartes may argue against, as would a Solipsist, are totally unconnected. Remember, commas are your friends. Them and ellipsis… which are often best left for fiction works, especially dialogue… full stops are also for chumps!
  • Make your titles as pretentious as possible. This applies especially to art theory and philosophy in particular. Who wants to read something like ‘Impressionism Revealed’? The discerning reader will much rather pick up and read something more high brow, such as ‘Impressionism: Postmodern Interpretations of Recontextualised Works by Sculpters of Oil’! That’s a title you couldn’t just hang your hat on, but you could probably get it really drunk and take it to bed too. That’s how good that is.
  • End all chapters with a question that totally discredits the rest of the chapter you have just written. Readers like to be surprised, yeah? So it logically ipso facto follows that you cant get much more surprised than when you give them the news that they just wasted about fifty minutes of their life reading stupid interpretations on hamster mating rituals in rural Guava or whatever the fuck it is you’re interested in. A good example of this could be if you were arguing for the inclusion of the thesis that McArthur was a great general during WWII (World War TWO- not to be confused with I considering II was not only twice the numerals, it also had people like Tom Hanks fighting in it) and you end your chapter with the thought that although McArthur was a military genius, as according to his paper boy in Ohio (or wherever he lived, I can’t write the book for you!) he was flawed on many levels, and his leadership failed on many occasions, so there is a case to be made that he doesn’t deserve such accolades. The groans of utter frustration you’ll hear will be music to your academic ears I’m sure.

Obviously there are more clever tricks to be put forward, but for now, these will suffice. Remember: clear writing is BAD writing. Kind of like clear mud.

Which is just dirt and water, really.

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