I think I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard the word “bullshit” on MSNBC today. For the record, I have zero problem with hearing, seeing or writing that word. I’m watching Nicolle Wallace’s excellent “Deadline: White House” on MSNBC (an addiction of mine) and Nicolle herself just dropped the word, Clare McCaskill just dropped it and then branding guru Donnie Deutsch dropped it while pointing out how amazing it was to hear the word so many times – and on the air. When I started this blog a few years back, a few people discouraged me from calling my site “How To Live Bullshit Free” because “bullshit” would hinder Google searches. I don’t know how that actually worked out for me – I’ll never get to travel that other road. But, I’m glad I stayed the course. To have caved on the word “bullshit” would have been bullshit – and antithetical to living bullshit free.
Among other crises, America is choking to death on bullshit. First there’s the utter bullshit that spews relentlessly from what used to be The Republican Party. To call them “The Party of Lincoln”? That’d be bullshit. They’re nothing of the kind. In fact, the original Republican Party and the original Democratic Party have completely swapped places. The Republicans now occupy the political space the Dixiecrats used to call their “Old Kentucky Home” (and still do). And the Dixiecrats were all secessionists at heart – Confederates busily rewriting history (and getting away with it). That is some serous bullshit.
As I’ve written here, bullshit nearly killed me a bunch of years ago. For two decades, I slid deeper into a depression and writer’s block driven by utterly wrong-headed, self-directed rage; I was holding myself responsible for being molested twice when I was 14 by the religious director at the synagogue in northwest Baltimore where my family belonged. Blaming myself for being molested was bullshit. Worse, it was bullshit that metastasized into a kind of thought cancer.
That is what bullshit is at its core: thought cancer. It’s lies writ so large their obviousness shouldn’t be up for discussion. Spreading with viral efficiency, bullshit fuels the feelings that conservatives insist matter more than any facts. Their loathing for the other justifies everything from banning abortion to eliminating all gun control measures to restricting who votes to undermining our entire democracy.
I defy anyone to find a Republican argument that isn’t redolent of bullshit. Even their religious faith is a dishonest pastiche of the Bible parts they like with their own perverse peccadilloes. Originalism is bullshit on steroids – the idea that America can only ever be the country its deeply flawed, white, Christian, land-owning men imagined; mind you, these white, Christian, land-owning men agreed “All men are created equal” while only meaning men and only men exactly like them. Black men were only three-fifths of them, don’t forget.
It strikes me as weird that any word ever gets “bleeped”. Certain racial slurs have been weaponized and must be isolated accordingly. But “swear words’ is a strange concept. One can express the same exact idea – in even stronger and more offensive terms – without ever using the words in question. In English, we have gazillions of words for the same things. Poop, doo-doo and number two are all synonyms for “shit”. Put a mental picture of it in your head. Does it really matter whether you call it “poop” or “shit”? It’s the same thing.
George Carlin has said all that’s need to be said on the subject, really. Those same absurdities still rule – though they’re beginning to succumb to Republicanism, Trumpism and the rise of bullshit.