Authentic Academic Gibberish

I found this essay over at Corrente:

Neoliberalism as a vehicle for social justice

“Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than little compatible with that cultural impulse called ‘post-modernism’ which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s.” – David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism

Extrapolating, MBA/MPA programs, and humanities departments (which tend to feed people into these programs with such dismal job prospects otherwise) pushed the narratives of a “free market” being the most effective vehicle for social justice. Implicit in this idea, is, also to borrow from Harvey, the “financialization of everything” (including the acceptance of debt peonage via the financial-education complex). It would make sense that people under 50 – and I’ve previously been incorrect in limiting this phenomenon to people more immediate to my age cohort – operate according to the same paradigms (most prominently, that cultural affectations, or markers, define/govern one’s political orientation).

In the 1980s, I hope I’m not doing a disservice to Harvey, colleges became repositories of and testing grounds for competing consumer identities. And the opportunity costs of devoting intellectual energy to these identities include(d) subjecting the emergence of monetarism (which had, I believe, had begun to supplant Keynesianism a decade before) to the scrutiny/disdain it deserves, challenging/advancing post-Keynesian alternative explanations to the government-as-household myth, and refuting NAIRU and other mythologies with the ample empirical data available.

Now who can argue with that?

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96 Responses to Authentic Academic Gibberish

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Word fogs are a pet peeve of mine. I consider them the mark of a pseudo-intellectual. They use impenetrable verbiage to disguise a lack of content or insight.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Word fogs intimidate some people. They don’t challenge what is said because they aren’t sure they understand it and they don’t want to look stupid.

      But that’s cheating. A good argument should have clarity of meaning. The facts and logic should persuade the reader.

      • votermom says:

        Sorry, couldn’t resist. I agree – that’s why I roll my eyes every time Obama talks.

      • 49erDweet says:

        But on the other hand he had a wart.

      • gxm17 says:

        The best indicator that someone knows what they’re talking about is that they can explain it simply. If they can’t explain it simply, then they don’t know what they’re talking about.

        Obama’s word fogs drive me crazy because they are so damn tedious and he never actually says anything. Nothing. Nada. Zip. But you’re right, no one wants to call him on it because they’re afraid of looking stupid. OTOH, I am never afraid to look stupid. 😛

        • myiq2xu says:

          I’m like Tom Hanks in Big. I’ll raise my hand and say “I don’t get it.”

        • r u reddy says:

          Kurt Vonnegut quoted Irving Langmuir (Nobel Physicist) as having said: “if you can’t explain what you are doing to a reasonably bright fourteen year old, you are a charlatan.”

      • Constance says:

        This is why Obama can’t have a better debate tomorrow or ever. He talks like a professor and the people in his bubble reward him for that and want to see more of it. I learned in college to listen to this sort of esoteric BS drone, isolate a couple things that might be on the test, then memorize and regurgitate on cue. But I never quit regarding it as esoteric BS. Many voters haven’t been to college and when they hear this sort of crap it sets their BS detector off. Couple that with the fact that Romney looks like a moral intelligent guy without the media distortion filter and people know all they need to know to cast their vote. It will be interesting to see how many people watch the second and third debates. I’ve had enough. But I do look forward to reading the reviews you guys blog.

      • Baffling with bullshit?

      • swanspirit says:

        you had me at “Neoliberalization

    • elliesmom says:

      Idiocy like this should have been a foreseeable consequence of No Child Left Behind. It’s kind of like a limbo dance. You keep lowering the pole and each round more people drop out. You can teach people how to be more supple and more dancers will get under the pole, but eventually, no one can fit under it. No Child Left Behind is designed to keep raising the minimum level of achievement bar. Eventually, even the best performing schools will fail. (I personally believe it was part of the design.) Florida is trying anything it can to delay labeling their schools “under-performing”. I would rather they turn down federal funds and tell the Department of Education to go pound sand, but I don’t live in Florida.

      • votermom says:

        That reminds me, elliesmom- I hear a lot of repubs saying the Dept of Education should be abolished. What’s your opinion on that?
        Can schools be left to the states & local communities? (I tend to think yes, but I was never a teacher)

        • elliesmom says:

          Absolutely, it can. National Curriculum Standards are like one-size fits all panty hose.

        • wmcb says:

          We seemed to educate our children quite well before the DOE came into existence in 1979 (and didn’t really take off til the mid 80’s.) It’s a failure. Why keep it, and the massive tax dollars it consumes?

          Tell me the return on investment. Are our kids better educated now than 1960, 1970, 1980? Nope.

        • votermom says:

          DOE came into existence in 1979
          Is that also when the whole “teach kids to be ashamed of America” thing started?

  2. myiq2xu says:

    Ace of Spades:

    I was thinking about this. Bill Maher whined that Republicans wouldn’t “admit” Biden won the debate.

    I had no idea what he was talking about. I thought Ryan won — but not by as many points as some people expected him to. I did think he was less effective than I hoped he would be, and left a lot of chips on the table.

    But I think he won.

    So I was wondering how on earth liberals could imagine that Biden won.

    There are two answers here, I think. The first is that they knew they had to claim, as a group and with one voice, that Biden destroyed Ryan, in order to try to push that particular interpretation. As Ryan said, they were all “under duress” to make up ground from the Romney demolition of Obama.

    That’s certainly true.

    But I also think they’re employing a crude metric to call the debate for Biden. Biden definitely “won” in one sense — he contradicted everything Ryan said. Whether it was chuckling, sneering, interrupting, or just stating “That’s a bunch of malarkey” to everything, Biden did contradict everything Ryan said.

    I think what they think is this: Romney won the first debate because he contradicted everything Obama said. Hence, the winner of any debate is the one who contradicts the most. Biden contradicted the most, ergo he wins.

    But… that’s not the rule, of course. That’s, what’s the word?, stupid.

    And that’s not what Romney did. Romney didn’t just contradict Obama — he contradicted him and then offered a series of facts which supported his contradiction. In many exchanges, Obama would make an assertion — just an assertion, unsupported, and just one — and then Romney would make three supported claims undermining Obama’s assertion.

    Just to mention one particularly effective response by Romney: Obama contended that Dodd-Frank was just perfect and anyone calling for a repeal (plus replacement) of that bill must be some kind of crazyperson. Romney supported his position of repeal by noting first that the law made five banks “too big to fail” and guaranteed their survival, thus encouraging the exact same consequences-be-damned bets that came to a head in 2008.

    Then he followed that up — as an afterthought, no less — by noting the law required banks to only grant mortgage loans to “qualified” borrower, but then failed to define what a “qualified” borrower might be. Thus freezing the banks from lending, paralyzing them by leveling a vague diktat upon them without letting them know, as a law should, what is lawful and what is not.

    And that fact — that banks are not lending — is a major factor contributing to the moribund state of the economy.

    Now– is that merely a “contradiction”? Is that merely, as Python had it, “an automatic gainsaying of whatever the other man says”?

    No, that is much more than that. That is a proper argument, with a premises, support for those premises, and conclusion. It is not merely the automatic gainsaying of whatever one’s opponent says.

    Which is… mostly what Biden did. Simply gainsaying whatever Ryan said, but, more often than not, not offering any particular reason for believing Biden’s contradiction, apart from “Trust me” and “Trust your instincts” and so forth.

    • votermom says:

      Yeah, that’s pretty much the standard vile prog rebuttal.
      You’re wrong!
      You suck!
      You’re racist!

    • Constance says:

      The thing is I didn’t consider that Romney beat Obama and I didn’t think Biden beat Ryan. I thought Obama looked like an intellectual with a bunch of not real world unconnected thoughts and Romney looked like a moral guy who loved America and had a understanding of what has gone wrong and how to fix it. Biden looked like a nutcase and repeated the unbelievable lies about the Libya attack, Ryan looked thoughtful and probably would have gotten detailed plans out if he had 2 uninterrupted mins to talk. So all four men were responsible for the impression people took away of them. I don’t get the win/loss perspective.

    • angienc says:

      The only people who think Biden “won” the debate are people who can’t tell the difference between Sarah Palin & Tina Fey imitating Sarah Palin.

      Comportment is as much a part of debate as substance, which, btw, Biden didn’t have on his side either, even though those honest people in the MSM who admit that Biden acted like a fool say “but if you read the debate he won on substance”– what substance? That Syria is 6x the size of Libya (it isn’t) or that “we didn’t know” nothing about anything in Libya (patently false) or the oft repeated Team Obama lie that Romney wants a $5 trillion tax cut for the rich (leaves out getting rid of deductions and is over 10 years) or that Obama only plans to raise taxes on “millionaires & billionaires” (Obama has repeatedly said he wants to raise taxes on those making $250k +)? His “substance” was — to quote him — a bunch of malarky.

      Watching Biden was like watching some Real Housewives show with the housewives yelling & screaming over each other — and I guess that’s the Team Obama demo. It’s pathetic that this is what some people can look at & think is proper behavior. As I wrote at John’s place — if I walked into a court room & acted like Biden did when the opposing counsel was speaking the Judge would rightfully hold me in contempt — and I’m a rube consumer bankruptcy attorney. Biden wasn’t drinking at a bar watching a sports game — he was at the vice presidential debate. The fact that people can even try to defend his behavior much less claim it was *good* is a sad indictment on society.

      I’m not saying Ryan won (and personally I’m kind of glad that the right has to admit that Romney is a much better candidate then they have been giving him credit for with all their going gaga over Ryan) but Ryan didn’t have to win — he just had to not lose. And he didn’t lose — the fact that he was able to keep his cool in the middle of that circus proves he didn’t lose.

  3. myiq2xu says:

    The difference between academics and lawyers:

    Academics get paid to make arguments. Lawyers get paid to win them.

  4. myiq2xu says:

    Rudy G vs. Solenoid O’Brother:

    I wouldn’t vote for Rudy but he can be fun to watch.

    • myiq2xu says:

      The coverup of Benghazi is startling. … I mean, the reality is, he said, ‘We didn’t know they were asking for more security.’ Where the heck was he? I mean, they were demanding more security, they were begging for more security. … Who put Susan Rice on, the State Department or the political people? That was a political appearance on CNN. So, what they’re really trying to do is, they’re trying to run out the clock. They’re going to have this investigation, investigation will be after the debate, after the election is over. So what they’re trying to do is cover up this scandal as much as possible. … Am I debating with the president’s campaign? I mean, the defense of the president is overwhelming. Pretty amazing… Susan Rice goes out there, four days after, says this was a spontaneous demonstration. It clearly wasn’t. There was information, both in the State Department and in the White House, that it wasn’t. There was no protest in advance. This sounds like a coverup. If this weren’t a Democratic president, I think you people would be going crazy.

      • Constance says:

        He is a straight shooter.

      • Erica says:

        They all look so upset and….constipated is the word that comes to mind. And they’re going to try in the next few weeks to convince us that foreign policy wont play a part in the election, and if that fails, that State is totally to blame for any misinformation or coverup.

        I think this scenario is exactly why 0 made Ambassador to the UN an independent cabinet position and not under State. He wanted someone that he could control independently from Hillary. He wanted his own free agent, I bet, and now that is coming back to bite him.

    • “Who put Susan Rice on TV? The State Dept? Or the political people? —— zing!

  5. tommy says:

    WTF is that? Death by dictionary?

  6. 49erDweet says:

    A liberal acquaintance was sitting next to me at a HS football game as the debate began and reported to a friend by phone B was killing R. I think he considered the major “dissing” B handed R as significant success. I thought it boorishness.
    I, too, thought R could have done better. He needs to learn to speak slower. Hard to do when your brain is in overdrive, but running too far ahead of listeners is one way to lose effectiveness.

  7. myiq2xu says:

    I saw a story yesterday that said that it doesn’t look like there will be any significant change in Congress after the election. That’s actually a good sign for Romney.

    If people are unhappy (they are) and they are planning on keeping the same Congressmen then that indicates they want a new POTUS.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    FLOTUS gibberishes hip-hop radio host we’re the middle of a great recovery, but bad people are telling us we’re not. The link proves we’re not…..

  9. HELENK says:

    here is a question I would like asked at the townhall debate

    what are you thinking, cutting off drilling while gas prices are so high backtrack??

  10. HELENK says:

    the big guy is working hard or is that hardly working???

  11. DandyTiger says:

    When I read this from the quote above: “opportunity costs of devoting intellectual energy”, a lightbulb went off. An idea occurred to me. A thought visited my post-modern inner conscience. And that idea was a large pile of, and here you’ll have to forgive the crude anglo-saxon referenced in the previous post, cow shit.

  12. yttik says:

    You know what’s really sad? Papers like that often get good grades. All you have to do is use lots of words like “sustainability”, “differentiated”, and “methodology.” Than you write the name of the assignment on top of your paper and voila! Instant A. Don’t worry about substance, research, or presenting your ideas coherently, just string the proper buzzwords together. It’s magical.

  13. tommy says:

    Bad idea. Idiots like this, I sc**w with my p-lingo. Even when I explain and they understand the way it goes, they get stumped when it comes to an actual p-lingo conversation. Cos they are book-trained. Another set of rules derails them completely.

  14. DM says:

    “Obama, first lady plan to vote early for Nov. 6” — Yahoo News

    The Obamas should do what is right for the country and vote for the best candidate, Romney.

  15. DM says:

    I’m impressed with the $170.4 million Romney raised.

    Washington Post: “Mitt Romney’s campaign said Monday that it had raised $170.4 million in the month of September, falling just short of the staggering $181 million monthly total reported by President Obama’s reelection campaign.”

  16. tommy says:

    Our extremely gracious first lady tells her supporters to reach out to the ‘knuckleheads’ and tell them to vote for O. The first lady now recommends manipulation as a campaign tactic. Man, Captain Dick and the first lady, whenever we think they can’t sink any lower, lo and behold, they do.

  17. Lulu says:

    Obama speaks hokum or what is generally referred to a bullshit. It is not to inform but to get a response (in his case awe and agitation) from large audiences. Most of what he says is filler which is why he can’t fool anyone with greater knowledge of the world, people who have been exposed to fundamentalist preachers, con artists, or those with powers of observation to detect lying. He has very little specific knowledge and much of that is wrong. He targets the naive, ignorant, and egocentric and is certain of his ability to impress them. Anyone else gets his anger and disdain for seeing through his antics.

    • Constance says:

      True and for that reason NOT interrupting Obama and letting him ramble off forever on a simple topic is the smart way to go. Romney should give Obama enough rope to hang himself with. But Obama has to interrupt Romney so people can’t hear Romney’s good ideas.

      • Lulu says:

        Oh yes. Let Obama prattle and hector. I hope he starts dropping his g’s when he gets on a roll. But Romney should slap him down if he starts interrupting. Something like “I let you filibuster and perform rhetorical corkscrews, now you are going to let me answer and make sense to this voter’s question. This is a debate and not a monologue.”

  18. tommy says:

    Looks like the War on Women rhetoric by the dems just nosedived. According to the recent USA Today/Gallup poll, its women who’ve pushed Romney into the lead in swing states. R now ties O, 48 to 48 among women in swing states. R has a lead over O among men by +12.

  19. Erica says:

    I just saw the Morgan Freeman commercial for 0. I really do not recall ever seeing presidential ads much before. Haven’t seen any yet for Romney. Only three major points in this one: he’s faced so many challenges (uh huh), our enemies are dead and brought to justice (“I killed Bin Laden”), our heroes are coming home (tell that to the 4 families of those killed in Benghazi). That’s all he’s got, and I predict that by the end of tomorrow night’s debate, he won’t even have those.

  20. elliesmom says:

    I was driving to the grocery store today, and I saw a lawn all decked out in political signs. One for our state rep, one for our congresswoman, one for Elizabeth Warren – all Democrats. Then twice as big and on a stick tall enough it towered over all the others “Romney/Ryan”. I guess we’re going to have a few ticket splitters here in the Old Blue Bay State.

  21. carol haka says:

    I got nuthin’…. It’s been a long 5 years. 21 days and this nightmare had better be over! I vote October 22 just in case ….. 👿

  22. swanspirit says:

    When I first read this post , I thought for sure it was an excerpt from either “Up Chris Hayes Butt with a Wide Angle Endoscope in Microscopic Detail” , or Melissa Harris-Perriwinkle Lecturus Academia Intterruptus ; on Sat AM , on ,where else , MSNBC . It could be .

    Academia rhymes with Macademia ,which explains a lot .

  23. carol haka says:

    Homeland – I still think Saul is dirty and I sure I already know where thi8s is ultimately going – I won’t say. But it really is a good show.

  24. carol haka says:

    Dana perino made an interesting observation. She wanted to know why. People who had left the administration and working for campaign were discussing security matters as they no longer had security clearances. 👿

    • DandyTiger says:

      They still have clearances (clearances last quite a while after you leave a job requiring them). But they have no need to know (at least things that require clearance, even if they have it). But some of what’s talked about isn’t clearance related stuff I’m guessing.

  25. wmcb says:


  26. wmcb says:


  27. cj says:

    Welp, CNN is reporting that Hillary just fell on her sword. [on the failures in Libya] “I take resonsibility” “The buck stops here”

    It’s not posted online yet. I don’t know what to think, if it’s true, then I guess I have to respect her honesty at least.

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