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April 3, 1967

Space-Occupying Gambits for Medical Writers

Author Affiliations

From St. Barnabas Hospital, Minneapolis.

JAMA. 1967;200(1):56-58. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120140114023

Space-occupyingl writing like a fog. Yet the space-consuming efforts of many of us continue to be rejected. The message of this essay is that obscurity, when properly inflated, can lead to publication. Your goal is clear—to produce the greatest number of papers from the minimal amount of data using the maximal number of words.

Before I describe the basic gambits, I will tell you how you should approach the game. Say nothing well and don't stop when you have said it. Remember that clarity is degrading, that blunt statements are impolite and that vagueness is safer than precision. Be aloof. Aloofness implies dignity, and dignity is a flexible weapon in the fight against clarity. If you want to become an artful practioner of turgid but publishable prose, master the following ten gambits.

The Windfoggery Weave  Windfoggery is the bedrock of all obscurity. Wind and fog do not coexist in nature