Explosion of Bullshiters

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I enjoy talking to people who are experts in their own particular field (not just photography). But is it just my own pessimistic view, or are there more people today who seem to bullshit their way through life (trying to give the impression that they know what they are talking about, but don’t). I seem to have noticed this increase start about 15 years ago. Perhaps this is just evident in the UK.
     
  2. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Some might say it's actually necessary for social mobility in this country.
     
  3. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I don't know about the UK, but in the US I've heard any number of authoritative people spout utter nonsense on [insert topic] with a great degree of certainty. My favorite so far was when an instructor I know asserted to a class of college students that a certain well-known film company was "out of business" and that you could no longer buy film anywhere. Huh?
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    It is a personality type, not confined to any specific national boundaries. At least these folks believe that they know enough to espouse a specific opinion, What is worse are "yes men" who agree with anything someone else says if doing so gets them advancement.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    maybe, cliveh
    i think there have always been people like that
    its now it is easier to take notice in them ... seeing
    everyone on the internet is an authority on every subject.

    after all frank lloyd wright totally lied like a rug
    to get his first clients and that was between ww2 and ww1 ...
     
  6. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    Well, are you talking about BS'ing in person? Certainly the rise of the internet, and forums like this one, enable people to BS more or less anonymously. And that may carry over to in person interactions ("no one contradicts me online, so I should be able to do so face to face").
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    What internet site did you read that on? :laugh:
     
  8. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    My OP was not aimed at anyone on this forum, but just people in general.
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    But he asks a reasonable question. I see it more on the internet just like everyone else, but have seen a rise in that same technique in person. And when the BS is contradicted with data/evidence to the contrary, I see a rise in the number of bullying demands "not to embarass" the bulls@tter.
     
  10. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Assuming you don't have a portfolio of masterpieces at 21, in any field, you obviously have to sell more than you have to get going. Which might explain why cliveh sees it as rife in the UK - it's almost imperative when our national motto is 'no experience, no job, no job, no experience'.

    I think bullshitting is definitely subjective though - perhaps most detested by sensitive introverts and most successful when dealing with extroverted egomaniacs, i.e those who can share the wealth. Isn't it a game? In which case you don't have to be an arsehole to bullshit.
     
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Yes, I suppose in persons rather than just the internet.
     
  12. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Fake it til you make it. Clive's diagnosis is spot on! It's bullshit. And it infuriates me how many people from my generation live by it — more so, how well it works for them — and most of all, the way it denigrates anything bonafide. Maybe it's not just my generation? I am 32.

    I also agree with what Brian said about yes-men.

     
  13. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    The UK isn't the only place with that problem, unfortunately. I work at a Target, and I work for quite a few people just like that. But then again, I'm so convinced that every manager above me (and I'm a manager on the low end of the totem pole, btw) is full of shit, that I am possibly just as full as they are :D
     
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  15. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Bullshitters have always been with us only now they have a bigger stage.

    Inferiority complexes used to abound but now narcissism seem to be more prevalent. Perhaps its the same affliction with a different response to stimuli.

    But there is a definite upswing on " I gotta get mine".

    I think the unhappiness gene that comes with advertized unlimited possibility that's rampant in the US has caught on in other countries. A dissatisfaction with what one has and needs more, leads to trampling over other people to get it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2013
  16. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    My German friend told me that "experts" in Germany are required to have a certain depth in the subject, a standard which seems to be a lot lower in the US.

    I don't think it's all bullshit. There's also a factor of where you're coming from and what your intention is that affects how broad your understanding is (or what kind of understanding you have).
     
  17. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I think this pretty much sums up my experiences
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I cannot comment about the UK, but the rest of the observation is spot on.
     
  19. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    My parents owned a bar when I was a kid. It was attached to the house. That's where I grew up and lived until I went away to school.

    In that environment, bullshitting was the normal way of life but it was more than just standing up and making wild unfounded statements. There is a kind of feedback loop that goes on. One person makes a statement. The next guy either agrees or refutes. If the statement stands up to scrutiny, the person succeeds. If not, he goes to the back of the pack. The cycle repeats ad infinitum until the beer money runs out or until closing time, whichever comes first.

    There is not a rule book, per se, but a set of expectations. If a person makes a statement, he should expect the next guy to scrutinize him. That's the way it works. There should be no bad feelings if somebody refutes a claim or statement. Neither should the other person who responds do it as a put-down. It is simply a style of group conversation.

    Having grown up in that kind of environment, I tend to speak that way, naturally. Do I think I am always right? No. Do I always have the answer. Of course not. However, I tend to speak in an assertive manner. I often try to qualify by saying things like "The way I understand...," or "According to my experience..." I don't mind when somebody else replies and says they think I'm wrong but they shouldn't get offended when I defend my position. As long as it doesn't resort to name calling or put-downs, I'm rarely bothered by it.

    It's been more than 25 years since I lived in that place but that style of conversation is still natural to me.

    I don't think there are more bullshitters in the world, today, than when I grew up in that saloon. I think that there are more people who get upset when somebody else stands up and counters their argument. I think that the internet has a lot to do with this phenomenon. Removing the face-to-face communication that happens in a bar, pub or saloon diminishes our interpersonal skills.

    So, I propose that the solution is for more people to go down to their local tavern, quaff a few pints, raise their glass and say out loud for all to hear, "The world is full of bullshitters!"
    :wink:
     
  20. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    Might be slightly off topic, but I am of the belief that young people (that's under 30) have lost or are starting to lose the art of person to person conversation. It would seem that even if it was complete bull$hit, I would be a bit happy to at least see someone from that generation able to speak to someone MAKING FULL EYE CONTACT and without holding a bloody cell phone in the other hand! Keep art alive. That includes speech. Typing is not an art form (unless you are typing art. Then it is...)
     
  21. wy2l

    wy2l Member

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    Those who think they know everything get in the way of those of us who know we know everything!
     
  22. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    No, I don't think that's OT at all. I think it goes right to the point. I say that the apparent explosion of bullshitters is related to the lack of personal communication skills which is also related to the increase of people using cell phones and computers to communicate.

    Amish people don't shun technology such as telephones because they believe they are "evil." No, they simply believe that, if you want to talk to your neighbor, you should walk to his house and knock on his door. Maybe that is a bit of an extreme solution to the problem but I agree with the sentiment completely.
     
  23. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Marketing is everything, unfortunately, and that goes for people as well as anything else. Have you heard the term "personal branding"? I love that one. :sick:
     
  24. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    *cough cough* *cough cough*

    Frank Lloyd Wright may have lied to get his first clients... but it was in the 1880s, not in the 1920s. He did frequently connive, bullshit and outright lie about his work to his clients throughout his life, but he always managed in the end to pull the rabbit out of the hat when needed, a la Fallingwater, perhaps his most famous design. He had received the commission to design it from Mr. Kaufmann, the Pittsburgh department store magnate. For several months he drew nothing. Then Mr. Kaufmann called and wanted to see the drawings, indicating he could be over to the studio in a couple of hours. At that moment, Wright told Mr. Kaufmann to come on over, the drawings would be ready for him to see, then picked up a pencil and began to sketch. The drawings were in fact done by the time Mr. Kaufmann arrived, but they still had the eraser shavings on them and were not the completed sketches he implied when he answered the phone.
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i was a few years off ... it was the 1890s ...
    but he lied his ass off to get work ...
    not that working for Louis Sullivan is the work of a slouch
    but jus the same "resume inflation" is bullshitting your
    way into a job is just as prevalent now as it was 120years ago ...
    heck just a few years ago robert irvine famed celebrity chef was
    demoted on the food Chanel and removed from "his show"
    because of resume inflation ...
    and locally maybe 30years ago some guy who claimed to have a ph.d in water science was the head of a local water department and within a year the water in his city was unfit to drink because of a bacteria issue.
    eventually ... they checked his credentials ...
    So no I don't think there iS more BS, just as many people with shovels...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2013
  26. dehk

    dehk Member

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    I don't know if there is an explosion, but I know a lot of big bull shitters, funny enough lots of people believe them.