On Bullshit

Book Review

It might seem odd that I would do a book review on a subject that we all are familiar with. I couldn’t resist. Shopping at the local bookstore, title screaming at me, I had to pick it up.

Turns out Harry G Frankfurt is a Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. His resume is filled with a Who’s Who list of schools including Rockefeller University and Yale. I had no idea this fellow was such a heavy weight. Imagine my surprise when I discovered On Bullshit had been a best seller and Professor Frankfurt had appeared on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. I thought it was just going to be a cheeky expose on a fairly common subject.

On first examination, there are 67 very small pages. Having no understanding of the author, my first impression was that this was light weight material. I flipped through some pages just to get a feel for it’s subject matter and found my self chuckling, then laughing uproariously.

Quotations from St. Augustine, Max Black and Ludwig Wittenstein are interesting. Evidently, B.S. has been a foundation of culture through the ages.

That, my friends, is known as an “Aha” moment.

On page 57, a great observation is made: “The bullshitter is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false………..( continuing )………..He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.” That perfectly describes some relatives as well as musicians I’ve worked with. Well said Frank.

The last page is best, of which I will not reveal, but maybe we do all of us share complicity On Bullshit.

Definitely pick this one up.

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