Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Intellectualism?

I wrote this moons ago, but now I'm bored, so I'm publishing it.

I am constantly amazed at how perception defines reality. It's an axiom I've long understood, but occasionally the ramifications still manage to escape me. For instance!

I've noticed that many of my friends ballyhoo the writing of a few others whose sole claim to epistemic fame is the density of their words. Irrespective of the import of said words, the capacity to overwhelm the reader with verbal diarrhea is heralded as the highest achievement of intellect. We heap accolades on public orators who do little more than recite speeches with dramatic pauses.

It scares me, then, when people tell me I'm smart. Sure: I know a few things, and I feel fairly confident that I can formulate a proper sentence, but there are people who dedicate their lives to intellectual pursuits. I fix computers and race cars. I'm not in a post-doctoral program. I don't have a good understanding of economics. I can't follow basic sports stats.

But I am guilty of sesquipedalianism. I proselytize. I am a pedantic grammarian. I have used "floccinaucinihilipilification" properly on a college essay. And I didn't have to check the spelling.

And yet, for all of it, I see no logical flow to my words. Maybe it's because I almost never review anything before I post it, or maybe it's because I have the attention span of a squirrel on crack. Irrespective, people tell me I write well. Da's wack, yo. You can look back over the entire course of my ramblings and find the most basic patterns repeated ad nauseum (seriously: how many times can you find where I've used 3 points to prove an argument, and each of those three points is supported by 3 supporting statements, the third of which is generally pretty freakin' weak?).

What's even more upsetting to my equilibrium is when people tell me that I'll like someone else's writings because they're smart, too. I usually don't think they're very good writers at all (remember, I hate my own writing)--they're just neatly packaging an argument that people want to hear.

Here's the long and short of what this big ol' meanderin' mess is all about: the decision to confuse readers with complex sentence structures does not display a writer's intelligence. Rather it demonstrates that one is an ass.

1 comment:

bowlegged said...

I love this. But then again, I like to start sentences with "but."