Do Unto Others (As An Academic Would Do Unto You)

Following on the heels of my Dawkins post, I’ll offer a tip to academics. At some point, you will want to publicly make fun of a jargon heavy abstract from a field of which you are ignorant. When that moment comes, do not submit to temptation, because you will end up looking like an ignorant douche.h

Today’s whipping boy is Steven Dubner, who found a hilarious linguistics abstract and shared it with his readers at the Freakonomics blog. Charitably, he noted that he loved to live in a society that valued such research, and was so interested as to ask his readers to “translate it out of the Croatian” for him. Unfortunately, the author of the abstract was a contributor to the only slightly less prominent language log, and Dubner found himself on the receiving end of a very tastefully delivered glance down the nose.

After leaving the language log post, I started to think that Dubner wasn’t all that bright, but I quickly reverted to ‘unlucky’ once it occurred to me that coauthoring Freakonomics sorta makes him a rock star. Less impressive writers will ensure that a lot of people view them as mentally challenged if they engage in this sort of interdisciplinary snideness.


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