I will eventually.

Test aside, it’s just that for now, reading David Coleman’s vapid, repetitive, bloated prose makes me physically ill.

It is quite literally some of the worst writing I’ve seen in my life. “College and career readiness proficiency?” WTF? You can have proficiency in a subject, or in a field, or on an instrument, but you cannot have proficiency in readiness. Proficiency is readiness.

This is nonsense.

Dry and boring is one thing, but this makes my skin crawl. I’ve actually been mulling it over, trying to pinpoint just what it is — textually speaking — that’s eliciting this reaction. As far as I can ascertain, it’s something about the juxtaposition oftouchy-feely metaphors (heart of algebra! “digging into” problems!) and otherwise soulless, mechanical style that strikes me as downright bizarre. It’s the worst type of edu-speak, one that pays lip service to the romantic ideal of education as a stimulating, imaginative process while simultaneously turning it into something dull and dry and utterly utilitarian.

Or perhaps I should call it zombie writing — it has letters and words and sentences combined in recognizable ways, and it conveys an idea (THE NEW SAT TESTS REAL WORLD SKILLS), but it lacks an inner spark of consciousness, so to speak. Every single sentence: subject – verb – object, subject – verb – object… College and career readiness, readiness for college and career, skills that students will apply in college and in the workplace… On and on and on. It’s like reading something written by a mechanical doll — you know, the kind that speaks when you pull a string in its back.

I may do a close reading of it at some point, just to see how internally contradictory it actually is, but that would of course actually require that I read it closely.

Clarity and transparency (or at least the illusion of such) are certainly admirable goals, but someone seems to have confused those qualities with redundancy.

Call me histrionic, but I don’t think I’ve ever had quite so visceral a reaction to any piece of writing in my life.

The only good that’s come out of this whole thing is that it’s made me remember what I love so much about reading and words and language — the “humanity” part of the humanities. Paradox, irony, subtlety, wordplay, metonymy… Oh, what unspeakable relief!

It feels like a revolt.

Now if you’ll excuse, I need to get back to The Shock of the Ancients: Literature and History in Early Modern France.