Monday, December 2, 2002


It's 4:30 in the morning and there are numerous things sucking my life force from me. The first is a game called Big Money. Big Money is what I do when I should be writing papers about the child's role in the economy. Try it, if you haven't got anything to do for the next nine years. It requires absolutely no skill, and at the same time makes one feel as though he is truly accomplishing something. You achieve status as you move along: I've been a Venture Capitalist, but don't be hard on yourself if you don't get there right away. I've been playing for a long time.

The other thing eating away at me is the text of the sources I'm using for this paper. Listen to this: "It is an injunction not to fall into either the abstract individualism that takes the child to be a self-contained, isolated entity, or into the equally abstract holism, structuralism, or determinism that sees individuals simply as causal effects or epiphenomena of either genetic or social determinants."

Let me just say first that you don't find this kind of writing in history texts, not really. Thank you, Marx Wartofsky's translator. This is from an article called "The Child's Construction of the World and the World's Construction of the Child: From Historical Epistemology to Historical Psychology". Quel pizzazz. You don't find "epiphenomena" or other words that I can't find in my dictionary (an Oxford, thank you very much) in history texts. Or Judith Krantz novels, for that matter.

My position is that these authors are deliberately oblique because they know that the salient and important things they have to say can be summarized and easily understood on one page. And one page doesn't fill a book. I'm not a stupid person. If I looked at this article long enough - preferably from a distance of about three feet - I could certainly understand it. I just get frustrated with points that can be easily distilled into, say, English, and aren't, all for the sake of wankery and a word count.

I can't use the word "wankery" for at least a week now.

Night night.

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