Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #155 –
Can we help it along?It is now early morning of a dreary day, still overcast and threatening rain, as I peruse a selection of sites. About my room flits a mosquito hawk, a fearsome creature (Ask my niece...) many times the size of a mosquito and much louder.. I pay it little mind: Not only does it not bite but it eats mosquitos.
ersi, do you likely mean further erode its usefulness? In case not: Yes, we can be less tolerant of ungrammatical construction and malaprops.
But more to the point the article's author makes: Education if being replaced by mechanical means of understanding.
Students and faculty are under increasing pressure to read as ‘poachers’ (to distort slightly Michel de Certeau’s phrase), approaching the works of their peers as hives of information to be harvested piecemeal and on demand. I’ve listened to too many faculty complain in recent years that they – or their colleagues – ‘just don’t read anymore’. And few graduate students seem to read entire books. Who has the time? You can cover a lot more ground by poaching – and publish a lot more, too.
This change in reading practice doesn’t only accelerate the drive to make the humanities and qualitative social sciences focus on the production of ‘useful’ information, rather than on the cultivation of critical thought and perception. It also makes them less fulfilling, as the (admittedly difficult) experience of reading books like Capital or Orientalism is replaced by reading them in snippets or through summaries written by others – now including, as a number of my students’ recent essays seem to suggest, by AI. Some people will always find the idea of reading such books exhausting, perhaps superfluous. But it isn’t hard to see how the experience of reading an entire book is very different from ingesting its arguments piecemeal or second-hand.
The poachings are apt to be like mosquitos. A book is more like the mosquito hawk.