Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"Critical thinking" = bad writing

Inside Higher Education notes that the full-page ad defending Ward Churchill bought by the Wardophile site Defend Critical Thinking has appeared in the New York Review of Books. Some idiot paid $9000 for the ad, putting it on his or her credit card. The text has been available at the site for a while, but here's the first paragraph:

The militarist reflex to rely on the war option for post-9/11 security is daily proving itself disastrously dysfunctional, and as its failures become more manifest, those American leaders responsible reaffirm their extremism, relying on a brew of fear, demonization, and global ambition to pacify a nervous, poorly informed, and confused citizenry at home. And where there are expressions of significant, principled opposition, the impulse of the rulers is often repressive. In such a setting it is hardly surprising that academic freedom is menaced, but not less troubling.

The decayed phrases pop out of their cans like botulistic cocktail weenies--fear, demonization, and global ambition; nervous, poorly informed, and confused citizenry; significant, principled opposition. Party-organ verbiage at its most zombie-like. You can practically see Stalin smiling over the signatories.

(h/t: Snaps)

Update: Fave line: "The oppressive strategy adopted often resembles a lion hunt, focusing toxic energies on those in the herd who seem most vulnerable." Is that how Teddy Roosevelt did it?

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