There’s a lot of it, and it’s generally an indicator that someone is trying to mislead or they don’t know what fuck they’re talking about.
|“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!”|
Bullshitting is, in a way, an art form.
It’s not exactly lying as when you’re bullshitting you may in fact be telling the truth in a completely slanted or useless form, or you may simply be saying nothing at all.
Bullshitting on the Internet is becoming easier due to the prevalence of Google and Wikipedia. Someone posting on the internet has more than enough time between posts to type whatever they want to talk about into Google or Wikipedia and appear as an immediate genius to others reading the post. The drawback to this, is that everyone can do it, so someone with a genuine knowledge of a subject can still tend to win out.
A BA in English is essentially a BA in Bullshit. English majors are quite adept with the application of bullshit in daily discourse. As Sir Phillip Sidney said in The Defence of Poesy regarding nature, “Her world is brazen, the poets only deliver a golden.” In other words, English majors can not only partake in a bullshit interpretation of reality, but they can also turn that bullshit to gold.
Bullshit and philosophy
|“What work do you do?” “I’m a standup philosopher.” “Ah. A bullshit artist. Did you bullshit anyone this week?” “No.” “Did you try to bullshit anyone this week?” “Yes.” — Mel Brooks, History of the World, Pt. 1|
The philosopher Harry Frankfurt, in his essay On Bullshit, attempts a rigorous philosophical definition of bullshit. For Frankfurt, this consists of drawing a sharp distinction between a bullshitter and a liar; the difference being that a liar cares enough about the truth to state known falsehoods, whereas a bullshitter does not care because some other goal is paramount. “Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”
An illustrative example of Frankfurt’s distinction between lies and bullshit is the methodology of various currents of political extremism. Historically, the rhetoric of the far right has relied primarily on lies (e.g., conspiracy theories involving Illuminati, Jews, The New World Order etc.) and bullshit, while the rhetoric of the far left has relied primarily on
Obama’s Socialist Agenda hero’s like FDR, John Kennedy and even latter day politicians like Jimmy Carter, Barney Frank, Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama.
This makes it much easier to discredit the right-wing extremists than the left-wing ones, although their statements generally contain identical amounts of truth.
Although this is not so much the case now with the latest methodological shifts among conservatives who tend to align with the religious right — of particular note is the replacement of evidentialist with creationism, which is bullshit combined with lies and added denial on top.
Consider the following examples. A common claim among neo-Nazis is that the Holocaust never happened, that many millions of people purportedly killed in Eastern Europe were in fact not killed, that this massacre was a fabrication of Allied propagandists. Now this is a factual claim, of which demonstrating the truth value is quite possible. And, it being demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that these people actually were killed, neo-Nazis have become roundly recognized as liars when it comes to this topic.
On the other hand, those on the far left make greater use of bullshit, fielding claims of this sort:
|“The following sentence employs racist language: “Her car has a bumpersticker that says, Keep Abortion Safe and Legal.”|
This use of bullshit is what made such things as the Sokal Affair possible. In a similar vein, as the far right increasingly uses bullshit instead of lies in its propaganda, Poes Law has become a point of discussion.
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! is a skeptical television show on the Showtime network hosted by magicians Penn and Teller. The original series concentrated on debunking crank ideas from ESP to alternative medicine. While well-received by the skeptical community, it has been criticized for the presenters’ tendency to let their libertarian politics interfere with their rationalist message, for instance, with the episodes “Prostitution” and “Drugs.”
Later series concentrated less on actual crank practices, and more on concepts such as “family values” or “profanity”, although some basic crank-refuting remained, such as episodes on cryptozoolology and New Age Medicine. It’s still fun to watch, although nothing is funnier than an angry fat man and a mute doing magic tricks.
There are bullshit terms tossed around by those who don’t like the way reality actually works. These are generally terms which have a real base word, but adds the suffix “-ism” to express that the idea must be a philosophical or religious notion. Such isms include “scientism, Darwinism, and evolutionism.”
When someone uses such terms, they are generally full of bullshit.
Bullshit is a card game played with standard decks of cards, also known as “BS”, “I Doubt It”, “Liar!”, “Cheat” or “Cheater!” The object of the game is to discard all the cards in one’s hand before the other players.
The deck is first shuffled and dealt.
Players discard, face down, in the order of ranks of cards, from the Ace on up to King, as many of that rank of cards as they say, into a general discard pile in the middle of the table. At their turn, a player calls out how many of the rank they are discarding, and puts that many cards face down into the discard pile. Any other player at the table may, before the next player discards, call “bullshit!” The player who calls “bullshit!” then looks at the cards just discarded to see whether the count and rank are accurate. If the count and rank are inaccurate, the player reveals the cards to all and the player caught bullshitting picks up all discards and adds them to their hand. If the player who called “bullshit!” is wrong, they pick up the discard pile and add it to their hand.
If a player successfully bullshits the other players with their discard and the next player discards, they get away with their deception.
Play continues clockwise, the ranks increasing until the rank of King is reached. The player after King then starts the ranks again at Ace.
When a player has successfully discarded their hand entirely, and is not caught bullshitting on their last discard, they win.
Many house rules and random improvements exist, however, players should discover how they enjoy playing Bullshit for maximum fun, as there is no organized play or official rules for this stupid, childish game.
Bullshit is also the solid waste material from Bos taurus (cattle) of the male persuasion. It is not nice to step in, but makes good fertilizer. It is often compared to money in that it can be beneficial to spread it thinly over a large area, but highly toxic (not to mention disgusting) when too much is concentrated in one place. This usage differs from the metaphorical usage discussed above in that metaphorical bullshit, while toxic in high concentrations, is toxic in low concentrations as well.