…the obscurity and pretension of Academic English can be attributed in part to a disruption in the delicate rhetorical balance between language as a vector of meaning and language as a vector of the writer’s own résumé. In other words, it is when a scholar’s vanity/insecurity leads him to write primarily to communicate and reinforce his own status as an Intellectual that his English is deformed by pleonasm and pretentious diction (whose function is to signal the writer’s erudition) and by opaque abstraction (whose function is to keep anybody from pinning the writer down to a definite assertion that can maybe be refuted or shown to be silly). The latter characteristic, a level of obscurity that often makes it just about impossible to figure out what an AE sentence is really saying, so closely resembles political and corporate doublespeak (“revenue enhancement,” “downsizing,” “proactive resource-allocation restructuring”) that it’s tempting to think AE’s real purpose is concealment and its real motivation fear.
DFW, “Authority and American Usage” from Consider the Lobster
[Addendum: I do realize that the quote, the music, and the overall angsty anti-Modernist zeitgeist of this post are very 1990’s, but whatever — it still rings true, and as much as the situation may have changed, one must be ever vigilant.]