Post Academic

Academic Writing Fun With I Write Like

Posted in Absurdities by Caroline Roberts on July 24, 2010
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I Write Like is a nifty little site that lets you paste in a chunk of text and find out which famous author might turn out similar work.

Who knows if the results are randomly generated or tied to a complexity rating? But I thought it would be fun to plug in the classic examples of Bad Writing to find out who these academics wrote like.

First, a famous chunk from Homi Bhabha:
“If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities, and classifications can be seen as the desperate effort to ‘normalize’ formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality.”

I write like
Mary Shelley

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Hmmm …. let’s try Judith Butler and find out if we can crack the code:
“The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.”

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I predicted that I Write Like would return a 404 error, but I guess not. Then again, I put in some of my own writing and found out that I write like David Foster Wallace, which is flattering, but I certainly do not write like Judith Butler, so I think they still need to work out a few bugs.

Speaking of Homi Bhabha: When academic celebs disappoint you…

Posted in Absurdities,First Person by Arnold Pan on May 14, 2010
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"The sad clown" by steenslag (Creative Commons license)

No, we really don’t mean for this to be “Mock Homi Bhabha Friday”, but Caroline’s post reminded me of a personal interaction I had with the inimitable postcolonialist back in my first year of grad school, maybe even on this very day in May 1998.  It was one of the first cases for me that I was conscious of a celeb (at least in my geeky world) disappointing me–though maybe it wasn’t as bad as when Yo La Tengo forgot that my friend Mike and I got them an extra guitar strap after one of theirs had broken during a show, only to have them disavow what happened by saying that it would’ve been something they would’ve remembered!

But really, my disappointment in Bhabha has a lot more to say about me than it does about him.  Here’s what happened: Bhabha had been invited to give a theory lecture that wasn’t the Welleks.  The talk itself was somewhat incomprehensible, but I chalked it up to me being a first year grad student–well, that’s probably half the reason.  After the lecture, faculty members I had taken a theory seminar with invited me and some of my friends over to a potluck in honor of our esteemed visitor, which we were excited to go to and probably a bit puffed up to be chosen to attend.  We drove over to the faculty members’ home after getting something for the potluck, eager for the event as only the uninitiated and earnest often are.  Here comes disappointment, below the fold…


Breaking Professor Stereotypes: Homi Bhabha. Seriously.

Posted in Breaking Academic Stereotypes by Caroline Roberts on May 14, 2010
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Trust me on this one. Okay, Arnold and I will be the first to tell you that Bhabha is damn near incomprehensible. Yet he breaks professor stereotypes in one spectacular way—he has serious fashion skills.

Don’t believe me? Even if you haven’t seen him in person, Bhabha is regularly recognized in the Boston Globe for his style. He was even listed as one of the Most Stylish Bostonians in 2007, along with Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics. Bhabha gets this sort of attention for good reason. He’s like the Tim Gunn of critical theory.

In an interview with the Globe, he describes his style as a reflection of his own “eclectic, hybrid cultural provinces.” (Nice to see he adjusted his prose for the masses.) He also mentions that his go-to fashion piece is his “black and white Indian silk dressing gown.”

I desperately want to link to one of the Globe’s photos, but you will have to see it for yourself. The Harvard Crimson also has a photo of Bhabha in a man-scarf. If you took a photo of Bhabha working it, let us know, and we’ll add it to the site.