I’ve run across some links of such importance that any and all other thoughts had to be postponed so that I could just point to them:
- Things full of beans that shouldn’t be full of beans – Um, ignore the intro above.
- If Guardians of the Galaxy was DC – Marginally better than beans, but still completely frivolous. A fun takedown of DC’s humorless approach though.
- Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing – This one is actually a pretty useful list of writerly tidbits:
A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care. I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Man, I’m really going to fall back on this when reviewing Hugo finalists that are “perpetrating hooptedoodle” (of which there seems to be a lot).
- The Conceptual Penis as Social Construct: A Sokal-Style Hoax on Gender Studies – These stunts are anecdotal, but remain a little troubling anyway. The reference in the subtitle is from physicist Alan Sokal’s famous nonsensical parody “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”. Sokal was pretty thorough, but this most recent effort should have been embarrassingly easy to spot. For example, their references were mostly fake:
Not only is the text ridiculous, so are the references. Most of our references are quotations from papers and figures in the field that barely make sense in the context of the text. Others were obtained by searching keywords and grabbing papers that sounded plausibly connected to words we cited. We read exactly zero of the sources we cited, by intention, as part of the hoax. And it gets still worse…
Some references cite the Postmodern Generator, a website coded in the 1990s by Andrew Bulhak featuring an algorithm, based on NYU physicist Alan Sokal’s method of hoaxing a cultural studies journal called Social Text, that returns a different fake postmodern “paper” every time the page is reloaded. We cited and quoted from the Postmodern Generator liberally; this includes nonsense quotations incorporated in the body of the paper and citing five different “papers” generated in the course of a few minutes.
Five references to fake papers in journals that don’t exist is astonishing on its own, but it’s incredible given that the original paper we submitted had only sixteen references total (it has twenty now, after a reviewer asked for more examples). Nearly a third of our references in the original paper go to fake sources from a website mocking the fact that this kind of thing is brainlessly possible, particularly in “academic” fields corrupted by postmodernism.
Again, it’s anecdotal, and there’s plenty of pay-for-play type journals out there that don’t have any integrity (see this guy who got an article published in a medical journal about Seinfeld’s fictional urology disease “uromycitisis”), but that this seems to keep happening isn’t exactly encouraging…
- Ever wonder what happened to Kirk Van Houten right after he was fired from the cracker factory? – An excerpt that didn’t make it into a Simpson’s episode… Very funny. Introduction above reinstated.
That’s all for now.