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Tuesday
Mar312009

Argumentum Ad Hominem

I am TOO working on a thesis.

I know nobody at the university, my adviser, my parents, my friends, MBTD, even my husband or former professors actually believe me, but I am.

It's about this.  And this.  And a little bit of this.  And some of this.

So, anyway, it has to do with war crimes and law.  And other things you are probably way too focused and practical to care about.

I was wondering tonight, as I was legitimately working on my thesis and NOT writing this post, about whether saying jus in bello is any more efficient than saying "law of war."

I realized it's not.  It's just a fancy way of saying "law of war."  Jus in bello and similar culprits, such as habeus corpus or even "eschatological historicism" are annoying symptoms of humankind's innate need to create power structures in which the few privileged individuals who have access to resources (in this case terminology) wield unchecked power over those who do not have those resources.

In other words, an attempt to underscore the superiority of those who have Google over those who do not.

Look at this sentence:
"Historicism developed out of dissatisfaction with theories of unilinear socio-cultural evolution."

Now, what I ask you, is wrong with saying,
"Historicism developed because some scholars did not agree with the assumption that all societies and people progress in one direction"

The truth is you can say something perfectly intelligent without trying to sound "smart."

And this, not the fact that being knocked up TWICE since I started my thesis, is what is preventing me from finishing it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Reader Comments (22)

There is so such a thing as specious mendacity. It beats the unconvincing mendacity every time. I tell ya.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKiefer and Emo

I suppose it would have a proportional importance if you were writing based on word-count. Being able to write your thesis faster by using less words could buy you enough time for, say, an extra 3AM feeding or perhaps a diaper change.

:)

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebTurtle

I was going to write a comment about procrastination and my sister's dissertation (which has taken nearly twice as long as her PhD itself), but I have to go google "smart".

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSciFi Dad

Oh, but you'd totally write the first sentence, who are you kidding?

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

"The truth is you can say something perfectly intelligent without trying to sound “smart.”"

You've just described the difference between my blog and Adam's.

Hell, between ME and ADAM. Period.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

The thing is that I don't consciously choose to write something that might sound like that. It's just how I write. I'm not trying to sound smart by looking through a thesaurus for new words to use.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

Well, *I* believe you, Faiqa.
I tend to get really annoyed with sentences like that, and also books that drone on and on with too many descriptions and details about something, or every little thing. It's like, okay, OKAY, I get it! The scenery is beautiful! - or whatever. It completely takes away from the writing if something comes off as too pretentious, and I maintain that your sentence example is far too pretentious.
And also applies to tax forms.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

wait! do i still owe you mail about this? i am so sorry!

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternancy

Sentences like that are the reason I zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFinn

I generally write how I talk. Which is like a drunken sailor most days. And what do you do with a drunken sailor?

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

I also write how I talk, but I end up sounding smart anyway. I can't help it. I just talk/write and smartness flows. Once someone tried to stop the smartness flow and their bones shattered.

Also, my ad hominems are better than your ad hominems.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteradnan.

Um, yeah. That first sentence made my brain melt.

You know how there's a "New International Version" of the Bible? I think law books should be written in a "New Faiqa Version."

Seriously.

The orginal sentence was ten words, your sentence was twenty words. Expand that to a page, a chapter, a book...and think about how much paper you are saving (but I guess you don't care about the environment)

The main point:
Dude...you were not writing your thesis.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZia

Also, on expanding Avitable's point...you are sooooo jealous that you didn't write that first sentence.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZia

@ B.E Earl

Earl-li in the morning?

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebTurtle

i say that you are totally working on your thesis. totally.

p.s. hell yes, you can say something perfectly intelligent without using your extended vocabulary. i mean big words. hehe

April 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

I tend to throw in what I know and I like latin here and there. I don't care for phrases like 'inilinear socio-cultural evolution'. That's 'junk' language to me.

BTW you might have already perused these titles but I thought I'd link them just in case cause Mr. Wirz was just the one who got the press--

Elmira: Death Camp of The North
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0811714322/ref=yml_dp

Portals To Hell: Military Prisons of The Civil War
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0811703347/ref=yml_dp

It's a very complex subject that too many gloss over.

April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTurnbaby

OK. I replied to all your comments... but it didn't show up so let's try that again!

@Kiefer and Emo: Sure there is. And there's also such a thing as beautiful lie. That's all I'm trying to say...

@RebTurtle: The question is how many words could I form the day following a 3AM diaper change and feeding.

@SciFi Dad: It's not procrastination!! I'M BUSY!!!!!!!!

@Avitable: Busted. I totally would. It actually took more effort for me to construct the second one.

@Miss Britt: You are, as I have always maintained, very intelligent. Still (looks around and lowers voice) I don't think Adam is trying to be smart... I think he just is. It's natural on his part. Shhh. We'll just keep that between you and me.

@Sybil Law: We're women of action, with little time for non essential details.

@nancy: No worries! I figured it out!

@Finn: That explains why I feel so extraordinarily tired whenever I think about writing this thing... because it means I'll have to read that stuff too.

@B.E. Earl: What DO you do with a drunken sailor? My experience is limited in this area.

@adnan.:Hee hee. It shattered someone's bones? You're like a superhero.

@Coal Miner's Granddaughter: This would be a wonderful and legitimate distraction from writing my thesis. Which is always welcome.

@Zia: How do YOU know I didn't write that first sentence?

@hello haha narf: Yeah, I think that complaining about having to write your thesis, making excuses for why it's not working and google breaks all count as working on one's thesis.

@Turnbaby: Thanks for the links. My thesis is about how victor's justice affected the memory of his execution, so the unfairness on the part of the Union in his trial is central to my argument. But... how cool is it that you know what I'm talking about? I feel less alone in the world now. :)

April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

Me too!

I think those two books are illustrative of your point in that most folks don't know there were places as bad if not worse than Andersonville.

April 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterturnbaby

Brevity is the soul of wit, and by that I mean when you can say something with fewer words rather than a verbose spewage of vernacular and long wordisms, it's, like, really better and stuff.

April 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwhall

I can't stand it when people try to sound "smart." I totally agree with you, that you don't have to use big words to know what you're talking about. Although, as a total bookworm, I do know some big words. :D

No rush on the thesis. If we rush ourselves, things won't get done right, right? (; That's what I tell myself about the novel I've been writing for two (almost three!) years, and all the other novels I've never finished writing. Heh.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Kaylene

I can't believe you used the words "knocked up twice"...you are spending way too much time on Adam's blog. :)

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertariq

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