Together with some friends, I have a new blog creation called The Conceptualist. The topic will be completely fresh ideas and it will feature the same whimsical analysis that you've come to expect from The Bullshit Observer. The idea of The Conceptualist is not just to notice new things, but to celebrate brave thinkers and to marvel at their creations.
How is this different, you ask?
Well, I think it's probably the only
blog I've seen that lives entirely in the world of ideas. It's not just about highlighting bizarre new inventions like Geekology. It's not about displaying new products like bazillions of blogs out there. It's about taking the new ideas and turning them over in our minds and seeing how they got that way and what they could become. It's as much about the why as it is about the what. In short, it's about conceptualism - the act of seeing past what is there
to what could be and talking about it.
Incidentally, the header image is my friend's daughter, Sophie swimming underwater.
This means, of course, that The Bullshit Observer will need to take a back seat for the time being. That means that my posts will be more sporatic. To any regular reader out there, I am sorry to interrupt your BSO experience.
I started this blog back in 2005 after slogging through five long years of Bush without a place to put my discontent. A sentient being can only withstand so much crap before they either crack, explode or begin to wither. This was, and still is, my way to rage against the machine and institute a small degree of sanity over in my own little tiny nook of the virtual universe.
In short, it's therapy.
As therapy, it has been a huge success. I feel good about these 500 posts. As legitimate opposition to the enormous and omnipresent bullshit producing machines in the world, I will say that it has probably had very little impact. I've only had something like 65,000 page views. But, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Slaughterhouse Five, "So it goes."
I am happy that it's out there and that's really all that matters. In fact, from what I've found, I would have had more media popularity if my name was something that media outlets could mention. But that's completely fine with me.
For this 500th post, I wanted to point out ten of my more meaningful (to me) posts.
Enjoy.If you want to comment, feel free. It's nice to know there are people out there sometimes. I'd be writing here either way though. As I said above, this blog is really more for my sanity than anything else.
I'm teaching my five year old son about how lying is bad and I'm starting to wonder whether I should just let him do it. Society at large doesn't appear to care about that kind of thing anymore.
The Bush administration
made apparently false and misleading statements in court about the
White House e-mail controversy, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.
The US Army confirms that thousands of soldiers are cheating
on online tests for promotions.
At an PR industry event in London, in a poll of
the audience of over 260 PR executives, the majority
(138) voted against the motion that "PR has a duty to tell the truth."
A new scanning program has
identified 76 cases of outright plagiarism among professors (not
students) of biomedicine.
Top PR firm, Edelman, was recently outted as having a media training course for execs that states, ""Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie. Make the audience or the reporter believe that everything is ok."
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom noted that during the run up to the 2006 election, his blackberry buzzed almost daily with threat level notifications from the Department of Homeland Security. When the election was over, they stopped.
Maybe it's a result of having two equally passionate sides on both
sides of the political spectrum for the past seven years. Or maybe it's
because the educational system has broken down to such a degree that
it's just too easy and tempting to manipulate the masses for our own
gains. Whatever the reason, it seems that American culture has reached
a worrying threshold where the constant whirring of our spin cycle
completely drowns out the sober voices of truth.
If those voices are even speaking anymore.
There used to be a time when truth mattered to people. It wasn't
simply because of the sentimental notion that truth is honerable. No,
it's because truth served a function. In fact, it was one of the
lynchpins of our social structure. I would argue that if our society
continues to see truth as quaint, or merely preferable to lies, then it
will go into decline. Some might say that it's already happening.
It's as if our society has termites. The spin masters get into
everything and, with every lie they tell, slowly eat away at the
structure. It's gotten to the point where these pests are everywhere we
turn. Every news outlet, every politician's speech, every commercial break, every single place you rest your eyeballs there is someone
telling you something that ain't exactly true. I'd call an exterminator
if I thought they could actually handle a problem of this magnitude.
Furthermore, it's really starting to get in the way of our ability
to make decisions and navigate the world. For example, we needed truth
in order to make the right decisions about Iraq. Instead we got lies and
half-truths which led us to the incorrect decision. Let's invade!
Whoops. Now America and Britain are stuck in a bog. Tons of people
Truth iis also vital to our well-being as individuals.
We need to know what to eat, what to drink, where to live, how to
dress for the weather, and how close they are to the nearest fault
line. Without truth about these matters, we might be drinking water
from contaminated springs, eating beef with mad cow disease, dressing
for summer on a rainy day and living in a house that's about to slide
down a mountain. Wherever there's a buck to be made, it seems, there's
someone willing to lie their ass off in order to make it.
My point? Well, just that we, as a people, should care more about
the truth. Really really care about it. Put it up on a pedestal and
worship the truth. Celebrate the truth. Write songs about the truth.
We cannot survive without it.
With that in mind, we SIMPLY MUST hold the liars accountable for their transgressions. They are assaulting our sense of reality and hindering our ability to operate. Without this accountability, we will lose our bearings as a society and as individuals.
So I thought I'd simplify the path on my typepad url. Took out a few characters. That, in turn, broke every single link on the entire Internet to my site. Thousands of links....broken. I have *sort of* fixed the domain version: www.bullshitobserver.com still works. Needless to say, I have a help ticket in. So for the 3 of you who have stumbled here from Google and are reading this, I give you the only thing that I have to give: My Prized Hot Sauce recipe. It took me months to get to this. I give it to you for nothing.
Bullshit Observer’s Official Hot Sauce Recipe ½ white onion 1 Box Chopped Pomi Tomatoes 2 Teaspoons Sugar 3 Teaspoons Kosher Salt 10 Dried Chiles – fire roasted 4 Tablespoons Toasted Pumkin Seeds 2 Cups Water Almost ½ cup white vinegar 4 Roasted Haneneros 2 Roasted Red Jelepeno 1 Roasted Passilla Pepper 3 Teaspoons Tomato paste 1 Lime Squeezed 1 Small orange or a tangerine Two pinches of toasted, ground cumin seeds 1 Roasted tomitillo (optional)
Blender. Let simmer in a skillet for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. For extra smoothness, blender again. Chill and serve.
For use whenever in a high bullshit environment such as GOP rallies, Celebrity red carpets, press conferences, analyst days, DNC rallies (though wiseass wouldn't condone that), the white house gaggle, while watching TV,while listening to the reasons your boyfriend is giving for breaking up with you, or pretty much anywhere.
When I was a kid, I had a radio the size of a toolbox with two dials on it: Volume dial and station dial. I heard Shane Company commercials so often, I'd memorized the announcer read. I can still recite it today:
"The Shane Company. Fourth Floor, Bayview Federal Building, 2121 South El Camino, Just South of 92 in San Mateo. Open Thursday nights till eight, Saturday and Sunday till five."
As a copywriter at Wunderman, I worked with (then for) a guy named Jon Dietrich who had the unfortunate job at one point, of writing Shane Company radio spots. He tried to make them funny - rejected. He tried to make Tom Shane the 10 second announcer read at the end - no go. He tried to get Tom to make fun of himself a little - forget it kid.
So it delights me today to hear a radio spot for the Shane Company that has a woman's voice as the announcer. She says, "He's Dull, But he's brilliant."
Even if it did take 30 years, just a little smidge of self-awareness is just so refreshing. Shane Co. now has 22 stores in 12 states.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Self-awareness: It's a bitch.
As Americans we are bathing in bullshit every single day. It's unavoidable. So, if we can't avoid it, we might as well come to understand it. This is a group exercise, so if you'd like to point something out to us, by all means, do.