Friday, August 7, 2015

"Bullshit is everywhere.  (Are the kids still in here?  We'll deal with that later.)

Bullshit is everywhere.  There is very little that you will encounter in life that has not been, in some ways, infused with bullshit.  Not all of it bad!  Your general, day-to-day, organic free-range bullshit is often necessary, or, at the very least, innocuous.  "Oh, what a beautiful baby.  I'm sure it'll grow into that." That kind of bullshit in many ways provides important social-contract fertilizer.  It keeps people from making each other cry all day.  But then there's the more pernicious bullshit.  Your premeditated, institutional bullshit, designed to obscure and distract.  Designed by whom?  The bullshitocracy.

It comes in three basic flavors.  One, making bad things sound like good things.  "Organic, all-natural cupcakes."  Because factory-made sugar oatmeal balls doesn't sell.  Patriot Act.  Because "Are you scare enough to let me look at all your phone records" Act doesn't sell.  So, whenever something's been titled Freedom, Family, Fairness, Health, and America, take a good long sniff.  Chance are it's been manufactured in a facility that may contain traces of bullshit.

Number two.  The second way:  hiding the bad things under mountains of bullshit.  Complexity.  You know, I would love to download Drizzy's latest Meek Mill diss...  (Everyone promised me that made sense.) ...but I'm not really interest right now in reading Tolstoy's iTunes agreement.  So I'll just click agree, even if it grants Apple prima nocta with my spouse.

Here's another one: "simply put."  Simply put, banks shouldn't be able to bet your pension money on red.  Bullshitly put, it's "Hey, this." [Drops a very tall stack of official-looking documents on desk.] Dodd-Frank.

Hey, a handful of billionaires can't buy our elections, right?  Of course not.  They can only pour unlimited, anonymous cash into a 501(c)4 if fifty-percent is devoted to issue education, otherwise they'd have to 501(c)6 it, or funnel it openly through a non-campaign coordinated super PAC with a quarter... (I think they're asleep now.  We can sneak out.)

And finally... finally... it's the bullshit of infinite possibility.  These bullshitters cover their unwillingness to act under the guise of unending inquiry.  We can't do anything because we don't yet know everything.  We cannot take action on climate change until everyone in the world agrees gay-marriage vaccines won't cause our children to marry goats who are going to come for our guns.  Until then, I say teach the controversy.

Now, the good news is this.  Bullshitters have gotten pretty lazy, and their work is easily detected, and looking for it is kind of a pleasant way to pass the time.  Like an "I Spy" of bullshit.  So, I say to you tonight, friends, the best defense against bullshit is vigilance.  So if you smell something, say something."
    - Jon Stewart, the final episode of The Daily Show, August 6, 2015.

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