“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
(If you wish to get a clearer view of the panties, tap on the picture)
Someone once said that the amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than the energy needed to produce it. Too true. Bullshitting is not exactly lying as when you’re bullshitting you may in fact be telling the truth in a completely slanted or useless manner, or you may simply be saying nothing at all. It’s nonsense, it’s higgerty-piggerty-poo.
Bullshit (also known as bollocks in the UK, Ireland and Australia) and simply BS in the Americas, is nonsensical claptrap, or words without any particular connection to reality. Bullshit may be used as a means of obfuscation of the truth, or it may simply be a way to pass time or fill space on a page on this blog. It is often an indicator that someone is trying to mislead and/or they don’t know what they are talking about. There is a saying among PR specialists and spin doctors – ‘If you can’t blind them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.’ The campaigning for the 2016 US Presidential Elections is hotting up and this is exactly what we are hearing on a daily basis from all the candidates.
On the internet, bullshitting has taken on an art form and I am a master at it. I pick something out of Wikipedia, mix it with some other pages on Google, stir the whole thing and serve it up to you. You, the suck…umm…reader, lap it all up like it is gospel truth. My blog gets a hundred hits every day for bullshitting.
You could sue me of course but it is a pain in the ass suing somebody whose real name you don’t even know. Of course Spunkybong isn’t my real name. I may not even be human. Your courts don’t allow you to sue things.
See? That is bullshit, plain and simple. Bullshitting is fun. Try it and you’ll see for yourself what I mean. You can make yourself sound like you’re a genius. Of course, anybody with the genuine knowledge and patience will know you’re bullshitting but it’s a good bet no one will bother ta challenge you. I have gotten away with bullshitting all my 60 years and I don’t even know anymore what is true and what isn’t.
Don’t call me liar though, because then I’ll have ta sue you. There is a sharp distinction between bullshitting and lying. A liar cares and even feels guilty about the truth, while the bullshitter doesn’t give a flying f—k as long as he is entertaining. This makes a bullshitter far more dangerous than a liar, remember that.
There’s another kind of bullshit known as technobabble – the use of terms from mathematics, science or engineering, incorrectly, in order to create a false sense of technical solidity around an argument. When ostensibly solid terms are used, they somehow gain legitimacy even when the opinion being presented is plain crap.
There is a lot of technobabble floating around with regard to climate change for instance. Every argument for or against global warming bristles with technical jargon. Take ‘carbon footprint’ as an example. I bet most folks who read this term have no idea what it really means. Technobabble makes itself out to be the very epitome of style and enlightenment.
Have you heard of a guy named Deepak Chopra? Author of 8o books, 21 of which have appeared on the NYT bestseller list, he is an Indian-American who has found his niche – gullible Americans desperately looking for ‘spirituality’ and ‘inner peace’, two commodities that Chopra claims to have in abundance. Through his chocolate-coated rantings, he has got the typically American instant-gratification mindset by the balls, with all sorts of ’10-easy-steps’ to just about anything. In the American context, he proves George W Bush’s famous words ‘you can bullshit all the people all the time’.
Then there are real scientists, learned men, who babble on about technical stuff, in bestsellers that millions read and try to feign understanding. Stephen Hawking’s A brief history of time is one such piece of work. A cousin, who liked to be seen as an enlightened individual, once gave it to me to read. Of course, I didn’t let him know that most of it was Greek to me. Although it claims to be for the lay reader, Hawking’s book is gobble-de-gook for most.
In fact the whole worldwide community of scientists and learned men might really be a private, invitation-only technobabblers’ club who are busy taking us all for a ride with their bullshit and having themselves a good chuckle over it. Take the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Switzerland, and the discovery of the fundamental particle known as the Higgs Boson that took the world by storm a few years back and began being known in the media as ‘The God Particle’. Look me in the eye and tell me what the f—k a Higgs Boson is supposed to be and what the frigging hell the CERN is all about, besides being an employment agency for out-of-work physicists. Yet CERN insists on publishing papers on the subject, that are meant for the consumption of lay persons. It’s not technobabble – it is technodazzle.
As expected, the Higgs Boson craze ran for a few months and then disappeared from cable TV and the newspapers, like the particle itself, which is believed to last only for a zepto-second (10-21 seconds), before it decays into a lighter particle.
Another instance of bullshit, a.k.a. technodazzle, is the periodic announcements from theoretical physicists in American universities who keep detecting the possibility of the existence of stuff called dark energy and dark matter in the universe. And quite interestingly, with every announcement they make it clear that they are yet to come to a true understanding of what these thingamabobs really are. It makes you feel like screaming at them, ‘If you don’t know what they are, then shut the f–k up!’
And then there is me of course. I admit being an incorrigible bullshitter but I will be offended if you call me a techno technobabbler or a technodazzler.
Take it any which way, but I love bullshit and the practice of it. That includes nonsensical, wholly unreal verbalization in any form, even vocal – as in music. Yes, even bullshit music exists, popularly known as scat. Just that – scat.
The legendary jazz trumpeteer, Louis Armstrong, is credited to have founded this impromptu rat-a-tat singing style and named it ‘scat singing’, a sort of jazz vocals that is sung with comic sounds and nonsensical words, sometimes improvised on the spot by the singer – an extremely difficult art. The singer uses his voice as an instrument, rather than a singing voice….. boobiddy bop – shoobadoo-dee – shabiddy-dabiddy-doo shikala-foo…..you get the hang.
As a seasoned bullshitter, I love scat. It is a free-wheeling, speakeasy-bar-pub singing genre which, when wrapped inside some trumpet, some drums, congos and jazz piano, sounds simply terrific. Scat is a wholly American invention and like the blues, it too is essentially a creation of black musicians, though there have been gifted white scat singers too, like Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Cab Calloway. But the acknowledged legends in scat were Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie and Sammy Davis Jr.
In case you haven’t heard scat sung before, here’s a sample, by John Paul Larkin, a.k.a. ‘Scatman’ John who was a rage in the 1980s. He combined rap-like dialogue to his scat style, producing a barrage of staccato sounds that were delightful to listen to. You’ll find one of his best scat numbers in the YouTube link below…….
India, my land of birth, too had a long tradition of scat – hilariously nonsensical vocals that used to be big hits during the 1950s-70s. Some of our Indian scat greats were Kishore Kumar, Johnny Walker and R.D.Burman. Here are some nonsense words from the 1957 hit ‘Asha’ –
Watch the videos quick. You never know when they’ll be taken down. A YouTube video is like a Facebook friendship – you can never tell how long it is going to last.