on bull

I must admit, I’m pretty adept at bullshit. Most students are. Whether undergrad or post grad, you become good at writing bull. Well, not bull in general – we leave that to politicians and newspaper writers – but a specific, academic type. This type is particularly refined; you can smell academic writing a mile off. It is dense, impenetrable to the uninitiated, and enough to make one cringe or scratch one’s head in bemusement.

My brother had his PhD viva on Friday, and it makes me the proudest sibling in the world to report that he passed, and, once he has corrected the five spelling errors his examiners pointed out and submitted his thesis, he will officially become Dr. Mark D. Goodsell. He came down to my parents house on Friday night so that we could all eat together; I was just in awe.

Mark and Kat stayed the weekend, going to a wedding on Saturday, then staying with us on Sunday. Luke buggered off after tea on Friday, to everyone’s disappointment, but he had things to do in Manchester. Yesterday afternoon, after a very good pub lunch, while we were sitting out on the lawn (by which time, I must admit, I had had a bit to drink) mark went and fetched his draft thesis. We all knew full well that we would not understand it, but just for the sake of pride, we had dad read the abstract aloud

I understood some words, such as ‘the’ and ‘and’, but it was impenetrable! If one can judge the quality of an academic work by how understandable it is or isn’t to a lay person, that was very good indeed.

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