09 August 2005

Unimpressed

Finished On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt this afternoon. Hmm, amazon.com says it has 80 pages- that must be including title pages and all the blanks; it only has 67; it's really just a small essay formatted into a hardcover the size of a snapshot. I knew that going in, but I expected better content.

He starts off talking about what he doesn't know how to research, but how he'll take a half-assed shot at exploring the term bullshit anyway (I paraphrase). The first two-thirds of the essay dully relates "bullshit" to other words or phrases that other people wrote about; he agrees and disagrees and uses some strange examples which sound more like bullshit by example than analysis. The final 20-25 pages struck more my interest by theorizing why its use is so prevalent these days. (I had thought that was the thrust of the whole book.)

The author was on The Daily Show a while back, and I agree with Jon Stewart's comments. The most interesting thing from the book is the idea that to lie, you must know the truth, but you need not know it to bullshit. With bullshit, you don't really care what is true or false, you just want to mislead someone to perceive you in a particular way.

My overall impression of the essay is eh. It's short if you feel like reading it, but I wouldn't spend money on it.

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