Reducing Jargon and “Academese”

You will be tempted to “sound academic” when writing papers for college courses. Professors may make you feel it’s essential to your success that you sound like a language-making machine. Nothing could be more harmful to your style. Nothing could do more damage to your coherence.

“Academic” arguments say things like:

In light of the discussions that identify the implication of misrepresentation and exploitation of a subordinated culture by a dominant culture, the concept of cultural appropriation as an adverse inference has provided the ground for a contradiction. The countered argument redirects the notion of cultural appropriation with parameters and amplifiers that provide context to the wrongfulness that underlies cultural appropriation and sets the idea that there may be a dependent factor by the subordinate culture that must be met. 

Believe it or not, the subject matter of that paragraph is K-Pop. Yes, the author wants us to know that Korean pop boy bands borrow (let’s say steal) dance moves, lyrics, attitudes of black American hip-hop artists. The argument is that such theft damages the original artists.

The language of the paragraph may be fine for an audience of other academics already well versed in the details of the topic under discussion. But if you’re not terribly skilled at such language, the result of trying to emulate it is usually disastrous. I suggest:

Many claim that borrowing or reinterpreting aspects of a weaker culture by a stronger one necessarily harms the weaker culture. But that is true, and the borrowing is wrong, only if the subordinate culture in some way depends on the dominant one.


Some other examples.

It is difficult to imagine a society that is not influenced by music.

Music enlivens and shapes every society.

The influence that music has may be illustrated as forms of expression or ways of living that often indicate struggles, oppression, or movements against mainstream authoritative systems.

In lyrics and songs, musicians express their struggles against oppression.

Music artists, especially those within the hip hop genre, utilize their experiences to express their political and social views as a form of social activism.

As social activists, hip hop artists in particular deploy their art to express outrage at the status quo.

With the understanding of the cultural aspect of music creation, which considers these forms of expressions, the concept of cultural appropriation takes form as the exploitation of another culture’s music creation by utilizing their language, environment, political or personal struggles without understanding the cultural foundation.

The thoughtless appropriation of hip hop “style” by artists disinterested in the personal struggles or politics of the original creators is exploitation for profit, pure and simple.

In the entertainment industry, the challenge that often impacts success stems from consumer behavior, economic growth, and the industry’s culture.

Even conscientious artists, if they want to achieve stardom, succumb to the demands of record companies to appeal to consumer demand.

Understanding that there is a financial benefit to making music and that success is impacted by selling music, the issue becomes finding ways to maximize the financial benefit.

Understandably, the music business is driven by a desire to please consumers. And that profit motive contaminates any respect artists may have for the cultures they “borrow” from.

Stardom in the music industry has become a stage where only a few musicians survive.

Only the most ruthless musicians achieve stardom.

How far the musician gets depends on the music industry’s adoption of the changes from consumer behavior and preferences to listening and purchasing music.

Those who cater to “whatever the consumers will buy” rise to the top.

This phenomenon has been indicated to impact monetary provision to music artists and creates the notion of “making it” in the music industry.

Success in music is measured by sales, not by quality or decency.

It is in this area of entertainment is where cultural appropriation takes its shape in a debate between a wrongful act of misrepresentation and exploitation versus cultural appreciation for the different cultural traditions.

What begins as cultural appreciation for the music of another culture quickly degrades into cultural appropriation for profit when money rules every decision.

In this arena, musicians struggle between adaptations to corporate suggestions such as producing, singing and dancing what is considered a “music hit” regardless of the negative impact that may come from a cultural appropriation challenge.

When making music is reduced to making profits, even conscientious musicians abandon their appreciation for other cultures in favor of producing “hits,” regardless of the harm to the artists they exploit.

Many claim that borrowing or reinterpreting aspects of a weaker culture by a stronger one necessarily harms the weaker culture. But that is true, and the borrowing is wrong, only if the subordinate culture in some way depends on the dominant one.


In-Class Exercise

Copy and paste the paragraph below into the Reply field and “de-academize” it. Eliminating needless words is important, but MORE important is making clear and robust claims with whatever is left.

Societal disruption has demonstrably shown its chaotic effects and thereby illuminated the inherent instability of the society in question, part of which is the inevitable consequence of technological instability. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to our economic norms, particularly but not exclusively in the relative employability of large parts of the population. As a chaotic response ensued from the outset of the pandemic, it became evident to anyone who wished to see that American health and bureaucratic institutions were armed to combat not this new pandemic but perhaps one of an earlier generation, for which such a chaotic response would have produced less instability. With any disruption to broad systemic norms of societal behavior, it is reasonable to expect some negative blowback and destabilization. However, when America—unlike many other nations that did not experience deep negative performance losses—was put to the test, a large underperformance in employment ensued.

14 Responses to Reducing Jargon and “Academese”

  1. rowanrat says:

    Societal disruption and its chaotic effects has illuminated the inherent instability of the society in question, part of which is the inevitable consequence of technological instability. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to our economic norms, particularly but not exclusively in the relative employability of large parts of the population. Chaotically, it became evident to anyone who wished to see that American health and bureaucratic institutions were armed to combat not this new pandemic but perhaps one of an earlier generation. With that being said, such a chaotic response would have produced less instability. With any disruption to broad systemic norms of societal behavior, it is reasonable to expect some negative blowback and destabilization. However, when America—unlike many other nations that did not experience deep negative performance losses—was put to the test, a large underperformance in employment ensued.

    Like

  2. christianity19 says:

    Society got disrupted has demonstrably shown its chaotic effects about the George Floyd Event that happened and the Pandemic. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to our economic norms, particularly but not exclusively in the relative employability of large parts of the population. As a chaotic response ensued from the outset of the pandemic, it became evident to anyone who wished to see that American health and bureaucratic institutions were armed to combat not this new pandemic but perhaps one of an earlier generation, for which such a chaotic response would have produced less instability. With any disruption to broad systemic norms of societal behavior, it is reasonable to expect some negative blowback and destabilization. However, America lost tons of jobs and couldn’t fully recover from the job loss because the unemployment rate was so low.

    Like

  3. carsonwentz1186 says:

    Societal disruption has displayed chaotic effects and exposed the inherent instability of American society. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to our economic norms, particularly in the relative employability of large parts of the population. As a chaotic response ensued as a result of the pandemic, it became evident to anyone to see that American health and bureaucratic institutions were not prepared to combat this new pandemic but one of an earlier generation, which would have produced less instability. With any disruption to broad systemic norms of societal behavior, it is reasonable to expect some negative blowback and destabilization. However, when American employment was put to the test, a large underperformance in that aspect occurred.

    Like

  4. person345 says:

    Societal disruption has demonstrated that the society is unstable. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our economic norms, particularly, large parts of the population. As a chaotic response ensued from the outset of the pandemic, it became obvious to anyone who saw that the American health and bureaucratic institutions were armed to combat not this new pandemic but one of an earlier generation. With any disruption of societal behavior, it is reasonable to expect some negative blowback and destabilization. However, when America—unlike many other nations that did not experience deep negative performance losses—was put to the test, a large amount of unemployment.

    Like

  5. mrmba1 says:

    Societal disruption highlights the instabilities of a society. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to our economic norms, especially when it comes to employment. Due to the disruption of Covid, it soon became evident that the American health system was ill prepared for an outbreak of this magnitude. With any disruption to broad systemic norms, it is reasonable to expect negative blowback and destabilization. However, when America—unlike many other nations that did not experience negative performance losses—was put to the test, many jobs were lost.

    Like

    • mrmba1 says:

      Fixes: …produced a significant disruption to employment norms. …Any disruption to systemic norms destabilizes a society.

      Like

  6. imgoingswimming says:

    Covid-19 has shown how unprepared we were to face an epidemic of this nature and has resulted in instability across the country. This epidemic disrupted our ability to get jobs and our ability to hold the jobs we already had. American health and bureaucratic institutions had the ability to face already pre-existing viruses, but not a new one like Covid-19. This resulted in blowback from the people of the U.S. and destabilization of the economy. A direct result of this destabilization of the economy was mass job loss.

    Like

  7. compiistudent says:

    Societal disruption has come and shown its chaotic effects and thereby shedding light on the inherent instability of the society in question, part of which is the inevitable consequence of technological instability. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to our economic norms, particularly but not exclusively in regard to a large amount of people losing their jobs due to the pandemic. As a chaotic response ensued from the outset of the pandemic, it became clear that American Health and Beuracratic institutions were’t ready to handle a new pandemic but perhaps one of an earlier generation, then perhaps less instability would have followed. With any disruption to broad systemic norms of societal behavior, it is reasonable to expect some negative reactions and outcry. However, when America—unlike many other nations that did not experience deep negative loss of jobs—was put to the test, a large underperformance in employment ensued.

    Like

  8. johnwick66 says:

    Societal disruptions brings the problems of society to light. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively altered our economic norms, with an increase of unemployment as one of the biggest results of it . As America continued to struggle with the pandemic, it became clear that the American government wasn’t prepared for a disease like this but rather older ones, where the response that were taken would have produced better results. With a disruption of societal norms, it’s easy to expect destabilization . When America was put to the test with this pandemic, it resulted in a large increase of unemployment.

    Like

  9. thecommoncase says:

    When the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across America, citizens responded in vastly different ways since there was so much uncertainty on the government’s part of how to handle this social problem. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to daily life, particularly to the large populations of people that lost their jobs due to health and safety concerns. As a chaotic response ensued from the outset of the pandemic, it became evident that the United States government and state officials were not prepared to combat not this new pandemic. It is reasonable to expect some negative blowback and destabilization when a serious disruption to broad systemic norms of societal behavior. However, when America was put to the test, thousands of people lost their jobs.

    Like

  10. justheretopass says:

    The alteration of life has demonstrated its chaotic effects and has shown the instability of the society in question, part of which is the unavoidable consequences of technological unproductiveness. The American reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to our economic norms, particularly the loss of jobs due to the pandemic. As a chaotic response developed from the pandemic, it became clear to anyone who wished to see that American health and bureaucratic institutions were to fight an old pandemic of an earlier generation and now this new pandemic. An old generational pandemic would have produced less uncertainty. Society was hit hard and there will be negative consequences from that. However, when America was hit the hardest unlike other nations causing unemployment to go up.

    Like

  11. Societal disruption has demonstrably shown its chaotic effects and thereby illuminated the inherent instability of the society in question.. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to our economic norms and employment. As a chaotic response ensued from the outset of the pandemic, it became evident to anyone who wished to see that American health and bureaucratic institutions were armed to combat and earlier pandemic, for which such a chaotic response would have produced less instability. With any disruption to broad systemic norms of societal behavior comes negative blowback and destabilization. However, when America was put to the test, a large underperformance in employment ensued.

    Like

  12. capched says:

    There’s been a disrupt in society and it has shown the world how unprepared we really are. Part of which is the inevitable consequence of technological instability. America has had a bad response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After we failed to quarantine the first time, it was clear to me that America didn’t know what they were doing. If Americans had done what they were supposed to do, the effects of the pandemic wouldn’t have been so great.

    Like

  13. icedcoffeeislife says:

    Societal disruption has demonstrably shown its chaotic effects and thereby shined a light on the inherent instability of the society in question. The American reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic produced a significant disruption to our economic norms, particularly but not exclusively in the relative employability of large parts of the population. As a chaotic response ensued from the onset of the pandemic, it became evident to anyone who wished to see that American health and bureaucratic institutions were armed to combat not this new pandemic. With any disruption to broad systemic norms of societal behavior, it is reasonable to expect some negative blowback and destabilization. However, when America—unlike many other nations that did not experience deep negative performance losses—was put to the test, a large underperformance in employment.

    Like

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