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News :: Media
Lying and bullshitting the same thing
12 Jun 2005
So now I suppose that takes liars off the hook. Or does it? I wonder how he managed to separate the two? Did he get a knife and cut a turd in half? Then paint one half a different colour and call it something else? Oh! He's not bullshitting he's just lying. Thank God for that!
Australia: The Un-Australian Newspaper: "AS well as all the bullshit in politics, there's even more in our metaphoric and colloquial language. Bullshit is the subject of serious philosophical inquiry in a little book called On Bullshit, published by the 'highly respected' Princeton University Press. To the surprise and delight of the author, it's stampeding out of bookshops all over the world."

And I can't wait to bowl someone over to get a copy myself, can you? Plenty of interest by the Un-Australian as well considering all the bullshit that comes out of the Murdoch press these days.

The Un-Australian: "The words of 'wisdom' on this improbable subject come from a 76-year-old moral philosopher, Harry G. Frankfurt. Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at Princeton University in the US, he has been studying bullshit for more than 20 years and has come to the conclusion that bullshitting is at least as bad, and probably worse, than lying."

So now I suppose that takes liars off the hook. Or does it? I wonder how he managed to separate the two? Did he get a knife and cut a turd in half? Then paint one half a different colour and call it something else? Oh! He's not bullshitting he's just lying. Thank God for that!

Will liars now think that it's okay to lie and they can get off lightly - just like they have a new moral code but still lie and normalise the whole process so they don't feel guilty about lying to you? At least not morally because they were not bullshitting they were only lying, right? Wrong!

This laugh of the century could only come out of the Murdoch press because of the daily lies they seek to purport. They'd have you believe they were lying for a noble cause and certainly not as bad as bullshitting in anycase.

Just telling a few lies for the HoWARd Government in return for some advertising revenue but nowhere near the very same thing as bullshitting to everyone especially when it's bullshitting we should be more worried about? Right? Wrong!

Makes me want give up my day job and study moral philosophy!

Of course you could understand why liars require an ambiguous meaning to the word lying when that's what they do, because being a liar is okay now or at least not as bad as bullshitting. So I suppose if you follow this wise man's argument that bullshitting is actually worse than lying then if you have to lie at least you were not bullshitting right? Wrong again!

The Un-Australian: "When the Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at Princeton University chewed the cud about it, Frankfurt pointed out that a liar has some respect for the truth. Otherwise he wouldn't feel the need to lie about it. Whereas a bullshit artist doesn't care about the truth. What he cares about is what you think about him."

Well I'm not a rocket scientist but generally I cannot separate the two, can you? If you follow this new moral code – when John HoWARd lies he has some respect for the truth? - Opposed to bullshitting according to the professor - that is not linked------- at all------ with the----- truth and therefore------- much worse than------ lying generally?

The Un-Australian: "To demonstrate, Frankfurt cited the example of a humbugging politician giving a Fourth of July address. (You may like to transpose what follows to Australia Day, Anzac Day or any other national celebration.) He drones on about "our great and blessed country" and how the founding fathers enjoyed God's guidance in providing the world with "a new beginning for mankind". But he doesn't really care what the audience feels about founding fatherhood or God or manifest destiny. First and foremost, he wants to make the right impression, to be seen as a patriot."

The plot thickens

The Un-Australian: "Frankfurt agreed that echoes of such humbuggery could be found in almost every speech given by an incumbent or would-be president. It's only when the humbugger starts making claims for, say, WMDs that we move from bullshit into lying."

In other words they weren't bullshitting, which is a capital offence they were just lying so that's okay?

But I'd love to be one of the judges at the Hague War Crimes Tribunal they'd never get out of jail for having no remorse for their illegal and degrading war on Iraq.

How do you plead for the killing, maiming, and torturing of over 100,000 innocent men, women and children and for failing to count the dead?

Can you imagine the Coalition of the Killing telling the judge's that they just lied about WMD's, but at least they weren't bullshitting?

They'd have to give them life for being a smart arse let alone committing the crime itself! At least that is the way a court of law would treat anyone else!

The Un-Australian: "But bullshit is bad enough.

The bullshitter does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does. "He pays no attention to it at all," says Frankfurt. "By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are."

"It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth," says the professor. Thus the liar and the honest man are linked by a common, if not identical, regard for it - for both, the truth is a real concern. But not for the bullshitter."


I wish I was born yesterday then I could cop that? But if the honest man lied about his killing and really knew the truth that he did kill then clearly he was having no insight into his offending behaviour and further from the ---- truth of the--bullshitter who didn't know the truth or at least ignored it which in my opinion is the very same thing!

So how is lying more linked to the truth than that of the brain dead idiot who was bullshitting? Don't you just love it when liars don't bullshit they just lie knowing the real truth? Ha, ha, ha, that's got to be a joke son?

The Un-Australian: "Yet while the liar is disapproved of, even despised, the bullshitter is effectively forgiven. He gets away with it. And profits from it. The professor agrees that it's because the bullshitted are often complicit. Though people insist they can pick it a mile off, they hunger for it. The audience for a political stump speech knows it's bullshit but claps all the louder; the audience for some ranting buffoon of a televangelist sends him donations; and women viewing nonsensical cosmetics commercials run straight from the telly to the chemist's shop.

While bullshit is hardly a new ingredient in personal and social lives, it seems to be growing in magnitude and stench with our communication technologies, and the public can't get enough."

Can't stop it they mean! But I must admit I actually wake up every morning myself and the very first thing that enters my mind is where is the lies in the corporate media today and I don't discriminate between lies and bullshit either because I wouldn't wast my time. In my respectful view even though I'm not a Professor Emeritus in Philosophy I cannot be bought or sold by this bullshit here!

The Un-Australian: "We probably take it lightly because we know the bullshitter knows he's talking bullshit and he probably knows we think it's bullshit. So what's the harm?

Trouble is, says Frankfurt, that it gets harder and harder to "know how things truly are". Matters of substance become impoverished and tawdry. At least lying has its standards".

Right! What fu__ing standards are those?

The Un-Australian: "So Frankfurt believes that the bullshit artist can be, already is, a threat to democracy."

But certainly not the liars right? Wrong again!

The Un-Australian: "We talked of pre-war speeches by Bush and Blair, how bullshit crossed the line into lies but was bad enough without them. Frankfurt factors in contemporary views - postmodernism comes to mind - where truth and falsity dissolve, where nothing can be claimed as a certainty. Is this an environment that encourages, or at least tolerates, bullshit? What was it that Marx said about everything solid melting into air?"


The Un-Australian: "On one level, Frankfurt's book is a great entertainment. But that doesn't entirely explain the way it's selling. Readers, it seems, share the good professor's anxieties about the problem."

Sure they do the reader who wants to get away with lying and who's up someone's arse no doubt!

The Un-Australian: "Writing without resorting to jargon, Frankfurt has a reputation for trying to get "to the bottom of things" and has struck a chord by examining something that we've taken for granted, something short of a sin and outside the Commandments, that nonetheless undermines our public lives. "Even the most basic questions about bullshit," he says, "are not only unanswered but unasked."

Yeah... how could we have taken for granted the difference between bullshitting and lying? Was it because we just imagined that bullshitting is slang for lying? And this Professor is up George W Bushit's arse no doubt about that. But we all know George W Bushit and the Coalition of the Killing don't bullshit they just lie so how could everyone be so wrong by not asking whether bullshitting and not lying is a sin outside the 10 Commandments?

The Un-Australian: "He's right. And bullshit is getting thicker and thicker in our public and political lives. Before we get bogged in it, let's fight fire with fire. There's only one antidote. Whenever and wherever you hear it, call out . . . "BULLSHIT!" -"



Is this our most dangerous newspaper?

They were afraid Lodhi may get more than his weekly ration, the one roll of toilet paper normally handed out to prisoners per week by jail authorities


Torture okay: propaganda paper

The article - Not Enough Official Torture in the World? The Circumstances in which Torture is Morally Justifiable - is soon to be published in the University of San Francisco Law Review?


The Influence of Fools:

We're angry, ladies and gentlemen of the press, because for the last four years you've utterly failed to hold our leaders accountable to the truth. We're angry, because that's precisely what's been happening in this country. The press just puts together the he-said, she-said transcript and leaves the truth to someone else.

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