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":Oh Lord...Increase me in Knowledge"

Reader comment on item: Colby College Signals "Conservatives Need Not Apply"

Submitted by Renox (United States), Oct 30, 2021 at 01:36

Colby College ought to be ashamed of itself. Rather than advertise for a teacher of Middle Eastern history, it should totally revamp its English Dept. in an effort to produce writers of standard English text so that its publications don't portray deplorable, embarrassing skills in English composition. Let's take just the first paragraphs for closer scrutiny. Please bear with me.

1- The first paragraph itself - in toto - commits a fundamental error of English composition, to wit, a paragraph should never contain just a single sentence. It should have two or more sentences. We can overlook this error on the basis that the Colby piece is an advertisement, and not really an essay or formal article. Still........this is an ad for an academic position at the college level, not for a summer job stacking books at an Amazon warehouse. Any grammatical, syntactic, stylistic and so on error is degrading.

2. Before continuing with the first "paragraph", let me make a side comment on the wording of the job title itself. Just the title alone has 8 words, all but 2 of them are capitalized.

Thus the focus, the emphasis is on the title itself, not the competence of the title holder – it's supposed to impress the reader and it mostly accomplishes its purpose- but so often, that holder turns out to be....well, never mind. That's why I like Arabic script so much – regardless of the eminence, rank and prestige of the title holder, there are no capital letters in Arabic writing, so stringing a long line of grand titles in front of the guy's name - it all falls flat on its face in Arabic.

Back to the serious stuff. We're still with paragraph 1.

3. Now, a lot of readers may disagree with me, but in my opinion and upon reading and re-reading that first sentence/paragraph, there seems to be something terribly wrong.....it doesn't make any sense. There's an actual word missing. Here's the full text I'm talking about:

"...Colby College invites applications for a one-year Visiting Assistant Professor of Middle East/Islamic history beginning September 1, 2022."

As it stands, the text is missing an important element, even though we all know what it's saying. The missing word can be shown in several ways:

1- ....for a one-year job/position/post as.....
2-....Visiting Assistant Professorship.......
3-,,,,Middle East/Islamic history job/position/post beginning....

Without some sort of term signifying that you're applying for a JOB the sentence is quite awkward and really unacceptable in this context. As it stands, the sentence actually means that Colby is seeking application for a Professor they know (who is already on its staff) who teaches Middle East history and so on. In other words, it's gibberish.

4. As Dr. Pipes brilliantly explains, the rest of the ad goes on to clarify that Colby is looking for a "woke" academic to fill the position. His actual credentialing, competence and credibility in the field are of secondary importance.

In fact, Colby is looking for a person that doesn't and couldn't possibly exist. Not a chance. And so they'll get some ho-hum character – most likely a transplant from the Middle East with so-so English speaking skills....and....guess what.....everybody will be happy!

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وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا - My Lord...Increase me in Knowledge- (Koran - 20:114)

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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