We’re Living in Peak Bullshit and I Can Fix It!!

Actually the first part of the title feels true, while the second clause was just a little bullshit flourish.  And that’s worse than a simple lie – the Guardian reviews books by smart people that make the case.

Each author suggests Trump is worse than a liar. In this, they follow Harry G Frankfurt’s distinction in his prescient 2005 philosophical study On Bullshit: “[The bullshitter] does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of truth than lies are.” Viewed thus, Trump is the personification of bullshit.

A story related by d’Ancona clinches the point. One day, Trump’s butler Anthony Senecal read his boss’s book The Art of the Deal. It detailed how the tiles in the nursery at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s West Palm Beach club, had been personally made by Walt Disney. Is that really true, the butler asked the billionaire. “Who cares?” replied Trump.

Bullshit is lying creatively, which aims to attract the listener by stroking their atavistic need for a good story.  To tell people their jobs have been taken by Mexicans, who are also raping people, is extremely counterfactual, but when you say the solution is a wall that will be paid for by Mexico you elevate mere lies to the art form of bullshit! People hate lies, but they are suckers for bullshit.  Compare:  Hey, I can solve your problem at no cost to you! or “Your call is important to us.”  The former is bullshit that is attractive to everyone (although rational people do want the details though before we hand over our credit card), while the latter is just a damned lie that insults our intelligence – even Trump voters know their call is meaningless to the company that created that phone message.

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