Thursday, March 03, 2005

Some people have a more refined sense of "bullshit" than I do.

Kevin Drum follows up on some thinking about bullshit by Princeton philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt and Slate's Tim Noah. But I'm not sure I can stick with him all the way.

This, I think, is a key characteristic of bullshit: not just that the bullshitter knows he's bullshitting, but that the bullshittee also knows it. He may know it for sure, or he may just suspect it deep in his heart, but part of the essence of bullshit is that both sides implictly recognize that the statement in question is, in fact, bullshit. In this way it acts like a compact between spewer and receiver, a shared secret that brings them closer together. Thus the piquancy of bullshit, as well as its popularity.
This doesn't really fit the way I use the word; it sounds just a little off.

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