On Bullshit


On of the most interesting things about our culture now is the development of our language. Each of us has at some point morphed the language we have used, be it to hide what we were trying to say or soften the actual words for proper company. There are many words that have an interesting history that only a diachronic linguist would salivate over, but none as captivating to us as the word bullshit.

We have all used it, excessively at times, to describe a varied number of things. It is possibly humanities’ favorite word after fuck. Harry G. Frankfurt goes the extra mile to theorize how the word developed and how it has been used over time. He claims upfront that he is no literary surveyist, but touching on several titles as well as heavily depends on the Oxford English Dictionary for reference, he makes a good fun argument on the origins of a word that is heavily used. His argument – we tend to morph our words to stop others from taking us seriously. In many times this is true, but we all know the person who is the exception to the rule. Yet, for an argument that spans 65 pages, the book itself does the same – play light on an actual ‘study’ so that it isn’t taken too seriously.

Reading more like a long essay rather than an actual book, you can read through this miniature title in one sitting. Yet, being a book about bullshit, it is one of the books that you have listed to read, just for the sake of the title and hype. It didn’t contain much that was not know, such as variations of bullshit and the like, but just compiled them between two covers.

My recommendation: read it for the sake of being able to say ‘I have read it.’ In reality the only use of this book is as a great gag gift for an English major or writer of any sort.


About yasmine

Procrastinator with half finished dreams trying to change the world. Care to share my man2ouche with me?

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