Really, Really Bad Writing

Several years ago the following passage appeared on an academic nursing site.  It has since been taken down

“The Self Observation methodology incorporates the Self-Observation technique, which is comprised of the three actions of deep relaxation with introspection, self-observation, and transcendence, all occurring within a specific time and space; resulting in transcended reflection to discover balance or unbalance on the axis of nous, physical and psyche. Self Observation methodology is an evolutionary concept, because the outcome of the self-observation is the realization that the object of the observation (ie. the patient) and the subject of observation (ie. the nurse) are observable within and without each other, in a specific space and time through transcendent perception or thought. Thus, resulting in a very different perception of the reality placing the individual nurse to accept and confirm his/her responsibility for an urgent reconstruction of his Social self.”

Why would anyone choose to write this way? I am pretty sure that the Self Observation methodology, whatever it is, can be defined in a way that ordinary mortals can understand.  Did whoever wrote this passage mean to imply that the Self Observation methodology is beyond the grasp of ordinary mortals? Convoluted writing is fairly common in academia, partly, of course, from simple lack of writing skill. Noam Chomsky claims that some humanities scholars use mystifying jargon in order to compete with the theoretical physicists and such who get loads of grant money.  I suggest that all such writing be subjected to relentless mocking and derision.

8 thoughts on “Really, Really Bad Writing

  1. I agree, the egregious grammatical error makes one want to weep:

    “… which is comprised of the three actions of deep relaxation with introspection, self-observation, and transcendence….”

    It should be, “… which comprises the three actions ….”



    1. Nope …. busy writing a scientific paper ….. much more work than a novel! It’s going to be a pretty good paper, so my co-author and I are taking Swedish lessons – – that also takes a lot of time!


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