I know, I know - that joke had a beard this long when I was just this high.
The Nation is sending out solicitations for its yearly student writing contest (first prize: $1000 in unmarked, nonconsecutive bills, publication of your essay, and a year-long subscription), and it's providing links to last year's winners.
Now, keep in mind, this is explicitly a writing contest - that is, one would expect that the winner, while undoubtedly sharing The Nation's worldview, would be able to express that view in clear prose.
Well, here is last year's winner.
Your first warning sign is the description of the author as "'an active participant in the global justice movement."
Then you come across this jewel of a sentence:
"Our real impediment, then, is that we are a generation with an atrophied corpus callosum, utterly confounded about how to bridge our intellectual realizations about social problems with our imaginative capacity to enact solutions."
This is, to repeat myself, the grand prize winner in a writing contest. To quote G.O.B., Come On!
Orwell, a man of the Left himself, would be thoroughly embarrassed. That sentence is just as bad as any of the examples of awful, thoughtless writing he features in "Politics and the English Language."
This is what the Academy has wrought. The best and brightest liberals in the nation write like brain-dead hacks (in other words, like their professors). If the Left has any desire to seriously challenge the intellectual and rhetorical vibrancy of conservatism in America (and Canada!), it better put its imaginative capacity into high gear and start enacting some solutions!
But, who knows? Maybe, as merely a passive participant in the global justice movement, I'm just jealous.