‘It’s bloody obvious,’ is my frequent, exasperated response to my long-time interlocutor, critic, sometime editor, second harshest critic, and good friend, Dorothy Uckling. Her counsel? ‘You should explain what you mean when you say… because people won’t understand you.’
The critique about not explaining myself more clearly happens less frequently than it did, but with a still somewhat predictable regularity that tells me I need to pause, sometimes, and consider whether I have assumed the wrong audience, and whether I need to do something about that.
This is likely a problem for any writer. You have to think yourself into your subject, but when you then write about it, you may leave behind more casual observers who did not come along for that immersion, and who may not agree with your conclusions. One of the obstacles working against that apparently simple writerly task is an orthodox tradition in the academy, and the public province of readership, of frowning on self-referential pointers about such journeys, and the unwritten prohibition on any self-assertiveness. ‘Who do you think you are to say such a thing?’
Continue reading “Theology of technical rationality”