Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Arguing With Geeks 6

The Inarticulacy Imperative — This is not an argument at all, simply an assertion (explicit or implicit) of the core communicative imperative of the anti-intellectual, in which any degree of semantic and syntactic complexity and/or formality beyond that which the anti-intellectual finds natural is prohibited as “pretentiousness”. This imperative will often be combined with a defensive assumption that the arguer is only exercising linguistic fluency in a hostile attempt to remind the anti-intellectual of their inferior articulacy. Since the spartan vocabulary and basic grammar the anti-intellectual is accustomed to are defined by the limitations of their own articulacy — their ignorance of or unfamiliarity with foreign loan-words or native words of less frequent use, and their inability or unwillingness to parse structures of any great intricacy — this is, functionally speaking, a demand for inarticulacy, a stipulation that all argumentation must accommodate the anti-intellectual’s inadequacies and aversions. Often disguised as a judgement of lowered readability, the Inarticulacy Imperative is actually an unwitting disclosure of lowered ability-to-read. An assertion that an arguer’s language is “affected” on the basis that it uses the word “zealotic”, for example, which is “not in the dictionary”, reveals an inability (or refusal) to parse the word as a simple suffix, “-ic” meaning “having the quality of”, applied to a root-word, “zealot”, derived from the entirely commonplace “zeal”, both of which are in the dictionary and in wide use. In such cases, a charge of philosophistication may be more justifiable (or even entirely justifiable) and is almost certainly more advisable than the application of an Inarticulacy Imperative.


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