Reynolds’ Paradox

Reynolds’ Paradox is a joke that stuck, not my joke, it’s Tony Giddens‘ joke.  In my 1992 PhD thesis “Linguistic Power Structures Within Professions” I made a somewhat obvious statement.

“It’s somewhat ironic that when academics write of the linguistic power structures that professions use to reinforce their inherent power structures, they write in a language which reinforces the power structure of academia”

I was never afraid of stating the absolutely bleeding obvious. Giddens christened this Reynolds’ Paradox and I fell of my chair laughing, Occam’s Razor it ain’t and technically it isn’t a paradox.

I’ve always believed that when writing one should endeavour to use language that the overwhelming majority of people can understand, although this is not always possible it should be one’s intent. The most powerful language is that which address everyman and not an elite, I have no time for those whom only wish to write for the so-called academic elite.


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