Passive Voice Be Damned

In a recent essay, I mentioned that I narrowly avoided titling the essay "Life's Like This: How I Created And Destroyed Modern IF."

I was kidding, of course, except I wasn't.

I thought: There's this academic convention, if you're writing an article about a field you're involved in, that you should be very objective and refer to yourself in the third person. As if you have no personal stake in what you're describing. This, of course, is bullshit. It's just a stylistic formality, which the readers know how to correct for.

So obviously the opposite formality would work equally well. If every author wrote articles saying that he was the greatest thing since toasted cheese, that he invented the field of discourse and holds it in an unbreakable grip, that no innovation moves but that he came up with it first --

-- Everything would be exactly the same. It would still be bullshit, it would still be just a stylistic thing, and the readers would still know how to correct for it.

Science journals would be a lot more fun to read, though.

-- September 16, 1998.

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