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An Imbroglio of Briars & Quicksand March 29, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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A recent post, Words From Which I Need A Break, included the following 25 words which Arvik felt should be granted an extended sabbatical:

I follow your construct, Arvik. 

Sadly, rhetoric and discourse are intertwined in the ethos as well as in the socio-economic, gendered, interpretation of identity.
Verisimilitude and meta-linguistic narrative have taken the place of daring authenticity in a paradigm of class conflict

Both capitalists and Marxists manifest a “double-vision” which causes them to lose their self-perception, thwarting personal growth in favor of a primal, inherent need to reclaim the ultimate loss of innocence which arrives thusly

Painful to read, isn’t it? 

Sometimes wading through the written word is like getting sucked into an imbroglio of briars and quicksand.  

Instead of building from Point A to Point B, certain writers circle around and around the point they are trying to express, ostentatiously using as many esoteric and cumbersome words as possible. 

Cautious readers must wear hip boots or waders to protect against the muck and mire . . . and the occasional thorn. 

When I can’t follow a writer’s line of reasoning on a subject with which I am generally conversant, I naturally assume that the problem lies with the writer and not the reader.   :mrgreen:

Lest you accuse me of hubris, let me remind you that I had no difficulty as a Philosophy major in college deciphering the wanderings and wonderings of Kant, Hume, Sartre, Hegel, Descartes, and even Socrates. 

In law school, I studied and digested 75 page “briefs” of the United States Supreme Court . . . with only rare indigestion or stomach upset resulting from the effort.

Based on past experience, it is my reasoned opinion that good writers, even those espousing amusing philosophical musings, are able to convey complex ideology in a straightforward manner without resorting to obscure references and circular reasoning designed to throw others off the scent. 

They bring readers into the fold, rather than leaving them out in the cold.

When writers obfuscate, I wonder whether it stems from a lack of mental clarity on their part . . . maybe even they don’t understand what it is they are attempting to say.

If that appears the most ostensible or plausible explanation, I try to be charitable and give them the benefit of the doubt.

After all, if we don’t know what we want to say, would we say anything? 

In some cases, I suspect that lack of clarity in sentence after ghastly sentence stems from a latent desire to confuse and mislead readers.

I know that seems counter-intuitive but . . . maybe watching readers scratch their heads or stall in the middle of the tracks makes befuddled or bemused writers feel intellectually superior to the masses.

Who knows?

WARNING:  Using an external reference point to measure the worth of our  words may lead to delusions of adequacy.

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?  Have you ever waded into a writer’s work and become lost in a quagmire of obtuse construction?  What did you do? 

Did you beat a hasty retreat or wallow a while longer?

Related post:  Simplicity ~ A Friend (SoulDipper)