Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sex, Drugs, Disasters and the Extinction of Dinosaurs

Though I like to think of myself as a fairly competent reader, able to understand most large words and some convoluted theories, I could not concentrate while reading the first few pages of Gould’s essay, “Sex, Drugs, Disasters and the Extinction of Dinosaurs.”

The first time I attempted to read it, I didn’t really see where the author was going or what point he was trying to make. While I was waiting for him to prove his point I lost interest in his essay within a couple of pages and put it away to read later. I think the author tried to capture the reader’s attention with his title, and this failed for me because I had no idea where he was going with it and it lost and confused me. I wanted to be interested in what he was saying but his text failed to draw me in at the beginning. After I made myself try reading it again, I did start to get interested in the middle of the text and found a few of the ideas Gould presented to be rather intriguing.

However, there were a few thing about this piece of writing that did not work for me. It did not seem to be accessible enough to the reader; I thought Gould used a bit too many long, drawn out examples and went off on too many tangents. Perhaps this kind of writing may be appealing to scientists or scholars, but it was not to me, an average college student. I felt that Gould seemed to ramble on about an idea and as the reader I had no notion of what this would be ultimately leading to. Though Gould did make some interesting points and eventually came to thought-provoking conclusions, I felt that the way his ideas were laid out in this piece of writing was a little disjointed.

I had to push myself to feel engaged in “Sex, Drugs, Disasters and the Extinction of Dinosaurs”, and I don’t think that is something the reader should necessarily have to do. I think the author should produce a piece of work that is compelling, and may challenge the reader in that it presents new ideas, but it should also capture their attention in the introduction. There were a few elements of “Sex, Drugs, Disasters and the Extinction of Dinosaurs” that I was dissatisfied with, but eventually after I read through it more thoroughly (and read it in its entirety) I found that I enjoyed it more that I initially had anticipated.

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