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Alls well that sells well

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:03 pm
by dragon
The Oxford Illustrated History of Western Philosophy
Chapter 1: Ancient Philosophy by Stephen Clark

This chapter was incomprehensible. It was so badly written that one could make no sense of it at all. The writer was unable to stick to the point, the text was littered with parenthesis, it was at too high a level for the intended reader, full of qualifiers and extra, unnecessary information. Even a reader as qualified as the writer would have had difficulty deciphering the text. So why did this get published, why did it get past the editors?

One can only suppose it is because the writer is a “name”, has a reputation, is employed by an academic institution which has a name. It seems to me that there is a trend here: publishers are no longer attempting to assess work for themselves, and instead are relying upon the reputation of the writer.

This makes me think of how tv is being taken over by celebrities, so that shows which once featured Joe Public now only feature celebrities. It reminds me too of YouTube and internet publishing in that these facilities allow publishers of music and video and books are giving up any attempt to assess quality for themselves and are selecting from the internet those who have already achieved a degree of success.

It is becoming the case that quality means nothing and celebrity means everything, so that if you can achieve fame by some means or other then whatever you do is publishable, broadcastable etc, whereas no matter how good you may be at what you do, if you have not achieved fame then you will not be published, broadcast etc.

The consequences of this become starkly apparent when one reads educational texts which are incomprehensible. It should be said here that when students approach these incomprehensible texts, they are apt to feel the blame is theirs. This is obviously extremely damaging.