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Query: Does anybody know of a good taxonomy for bullshit and/or lies?

A taxonomy would look a lot like Gene Sharp's 198 Methods -- except for bullshit, not methods of non-violence.

I've done a cursory internet search, and come up with this (funny), this (well-intentioned), and this (a little off-topic). None of them quite meet the case.

I have in mind -- INTJ systems builders take note -- a more community-oriented version of the sort of annotation with color-coded categories that I did here and here.

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Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

your first installment.

[Let me know if it's against policy at NC or here, to copy and paste these replies, Okay?]

Anyway, here are the comments:

John Yard says:
February 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I believe that for this administration, rhetoric is a substitute for action, not a means of building public support fir action to come. The deeper the rhetorical overlay, the less will be done.

I believe that Obama feels that as the first African American President he has a place in history. There is no need to do anything else.

The same dynamic would have happened with a Hillary Clinton
presidency.

The Democrats defined their mission from 1980 to 2008 as
the party of race , ethnicity , and gender equality. This is the result.

Reply

Massinissa says:
February 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Race, ethnicity and gender equality…

WITHOUT Economic equality. Which completely defeats the fucking point. Blacks, for instance, are doing worse today economically than they have been in decades. There certainly has been no ‘recovery’ for black America, not to mention the other sectors of the working class. The Democrats pander to the emotional sensibilities of minority and women groups, without actually addressing any of the real needs of said groups.

Political equality matters nill without a fair and balanced economic system, and since 1980 the Democrats have been almost as gung-ho about Neoliberal economic theology as the Right has been (Bill Clinton anyone? NAFTA, “end of Medicare as we know it”, etc etc).

I enjoy reading, and very occasionally commenting at NC (but not as Alexa). But I don't know these two commenters that I'm quoting below. I do think that their takeway is "spot on."

Whew! Lambert--a lot of work in that one. Very excellent analysis. Thanks.

[I'm detail-oriented, but that even wore me out, LOL!]

Alexa

Submitted by lambert on

... or any suggestion that all the outcomes of a Clinton administration might not be positive, is not a symptom of Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Just saying. Five years on, we might have just a little perspective, eh?

smott999's picture
Submitted by smott999 on

Let me clarify - it wasn't "every" criticism or any criticism, it was a casual assertion that HRC was lazy, which, since it is so far from the truth, i.e. Bullshit, treads perilously close to CDS.
Criticize HRC for any number of things. Laziness ain't one of them.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

It's a paraphrase.

smot is paraphrasing the first quote Alexa provided, about how Clinton would have brought the same dynamic of not accomplishing anything because she's "historic", i.e. lazy.

I have issues with smot's wording(lazy has racial under and overtones that it is best to avoid altogether when criticizing Obama), but I don't disagree with zie's original assertion that the quoted statement was CDS. Clinton was not a part of the discussion, Obama was, but yet people STILL cannot criticize Obama without also demonstrating their willingness to criticize Clinton too, even when she is not tangentially related to the topic. And that bullshit and unnecessary assertion is completely false to anyone who's ever spend a minute researching her ACTUAL history, that riding on the laurels of being "historic" is not what the woman does. She just finds new "historic"s to conquer. This is after all the woman who responded to NASA refusal to accept her as an astronaut as a child, by deciding to be president instead.

And that also ignores, that in most everything she's done, it's also been about empowering more women by doing the job well, and the burden to perform well as president, to allow MORE women to be elected, would have been huge on her, and not one she would have shirked or taken lightly. Well, what Obama has done to empower his fellow African-Americans(not named Obama) was miniscule and that we before he got the power of the presidency behind him, and there has been nothing on that front for him since. The Sailor says one of the things that pisses him off the most about Obama, is how he's fucked it up for every other African American who wants to run for president for the next 20 years(ignoring the fact that white men fuck it up ALL the time, and mostly no one ever says that we shouldn't elect white people anymore).

So I got their "same dynamic" right here.

Submitted by lambert on

Alexa wrote:

I mentioned several days ago, my concern that if another "first" (meaning Hispanic or Woman) Dem were to be elected, we would be subject to the same "silly excuse," IMO, that I've heard repeated in some quarters, when folks defended the President (Obama) for not doing certain things--because he is the first Black President.

It seems to me highly plausible, human nature being what it is, that we'd get Democrats defending Hillary "for not doing certain things--because [she] is the first Woman President."

Last I checked, Hillary supporters were just as subject to human frailties as anyone else.

In other words, the "laziness" wouldn't be Hillary's.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I don't think smot ist responding to Alexa's comment that I can see, zie is responding to the NC comments Alexa quoted.

"I believe that Obama feels that as the first African American President he has a place in history. There is no need to do anything else.

The same dynamic would have happened with a Hillary Clinton
presidency".

And like I said in my comment, that is CDS. It's a comment that ignores her actual history empowering women and seeking challenges. I don't think the Alexa's comment you quoted qualifies because she is not talking about Clinton herself, but her dedicated defenders, which are somewhat relevant to what she was talking about in how progressives are hesitant to criticize Obama. I think she's wrong, the 2008 primaries demonstrated progressives had absolutely no problem criticizing Clinton, whether they were valid or not, while they also demonstrated that progressives had an inability to criticize Obama, especially when warranted, but it doesn't stray into the realm of CDS.

smott999's picture
Submitted by smott999 on

...was offline a day or two...but you responded better than I could. I rarely comment here, but
I find careless CDS emanating from young women such as our Alexa especially depressing and in need of highlight.
Thanks for responding better than I could.
Note - I assume Alexa to be young as she doesn't know what PUMA or CDS is....could be wrong....perhaps just only began watching politics recently.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

regarding "CDS"--if Lambert hadn't mentioned the term, moi wouldn't have known what the term meant. So, I'm pretty sure that I don't have it, LOL!

Seriously, I agree with the two NC commenters as a result of my own political observations. But it was not intended, on my part, as a "personal attack" against either Clinton. My observations are simply policy-driven.

I mentioned several days ago, my concern that if another "first" (meaning Hispanic or Woman) Dem were to be elected, we would be subject to the same "silly excuse," IMO, that I've heard repeated in some quarters, when folks defended the President (Obama) for not doing certain things--because he is the first Black President.

I think that's a "cop out," but it seems to be effective in "neutralizing" criticism of the President, in some quarters. Therefore, I fear that it would work in the future (if we elect a Dem Hispanic or Woman).

I believe that I've already mentioned that I was never part of the inter-party "wars." I quit the Democratic Party in early 2007.

Just wanted to make it clear, what my intent was.

Alexa

Submitted by lambert on

As I said, a critique of Clinton is not, by definition, CDS-driven. By the same token, support for Clinton is not, by definition, the result of tribalism.

The touchstone is policy, as Alexa said.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

"By the same token, support for Clinton is not, by definition, the result of tribalism."

Fair statement. :-)

Submitted by lambert on

A "kingdom, phylum/division, class, order, family, genus, species" type thing -- except for bullshit (and probably not that complex! After all, cons and scams repeat).

General information I've already got plenty of.

tom allen's picture
Submitted by tom allen on

There's an interesting essay here by Gary Thompson where he divides bullshit into six classes. There's:

(1) Humbug. (Neither true nor false, like "a thousand points of light" or "hope and change".)
(2) Spin.
(3) Irrelevance. (Deflecting from the issue.)
(4) Equivocation. ("I did not have 'sex' with that woman.")
(5) Bluffing.
(6) Just plain lying.
I suppose with some effort these could be broken down into subgroups too.

Then one could annotate, say, the 2013 SOTU:

Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people (humbug), there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.(spin) After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs.(spin) We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in twenty. (spin) Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding (bluffing), and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before. (equivocation/lying)

Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis (humbug), and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.(spin)

And so on.

Submitted by lambert on

that is exactly the sort of thing that I want.

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

Neil Postman’s taxonomy dates back to 1969.

And here, on a law professors’ blog (about which I know absolutely nothing), is some discussion regarding “the obscurity of intellectuals.” One person in the comments comes up with his own “5-way stab (specialist language, stuffy language, erudite language, priestspeak, and ideologue-speak).”

Maybe you had in mind something a bit more academic, like this page, from an article on “Deceptive Miscommunication Theory”? (It’s a more about the “style” of deception than a taxonomy.)