Posted by Jay Livingston
Some jokes never get old, at least not at True/Slant, where Conor Friedersdorf has a pretty good parody, “What if sociologists wrote the news?”
| Untangling Race & Gender from Catastrophic Incidences of Corporate Exploitation In Semi-Natural Ecosystems: A Case Study|
. . . . attention is largely focused on efforts to plug the oil well undertaken by British Petroleum, a corporation founded in imperial Britain to exploit the oil resources of people of color.
It is not insignificant to cleanup efforts, however, that even today BP’s leadership lacks adequate gender diversity, its board of directors being made up of fourteen persons, only one of them who self-identifies as a female, and all of whom earn significantly more than the median income in Louisiana, Alabama, and even the relatively privileged residents of coastal Florida.
And so on. It’s nothing new, but even an old joke is funny if you’ve never heard it (or written it) before.* And from Friedersdorf’s photo, I’d guess it was only a few years ago that he was taking Soc. 101.
Also, it’s good to be reminded of the excesses and shortcomings of our prose and our ideas. Of necessity, some professional writing is going to be arcane – a convenient shorthand for insiders but opaque to those unfamiliar with the concepts and arguments. Still, when you read over something you’re about to put out there for students, the public, or even other sociologists, it’s useful to ask, “Does this sound like a parody?”
*Speaking of old gags that are funny to the young, True/Slant also has a story from failblog about the U of Utah student newspaper’s year-end prank – farewell editorial columns set so the layout spells naughty words.