“700 Questions, Few Glimmers”
Headline, N.Y. Times, Jan. 13, 2006
The U.S. cognoscenti of BS have just held a three-day, sudden death World Series of BS. Frankly, I was disappointed. The ABA [American BS Association] gave the batter, Sam Alito of the Judicial BS Allstars, a top notch ABR [American BS Rating] of Ten. The ABA may not know anything much about the U.S. Constitution or our ancient Common Law tradition, but it is world class when it comes to slinging BS, so I was hoping for a much better BS Game. Unfortunately, I was so disappointed that I began feeling depressed about America’s entire future. We may not be able to make top-level cars or save ourselves from financial ruin, but the one thing I felt confident of until yesterday was that BS Nation would always stay ahead of the competition in BS. Now I’m not so sure.
Having spent all of my adult life as a student and professor at America’s “elite” bureaucracies of jet-setting and grantsmanship (Harvard, Princeton, John Hopkins, Dartmouth, University of California — both UCLA and UCSD, and lesser ones) studying America and its politics, I feel like a total BSE [BS Expert]. (And I’m especially proud to see that Princeton University Press, which published my first book, has just published the finest philosophical analysis yet done on the Philosophica Americana, Harry Frankfurt’s magnum opus On BS.) I know the Game inside out and right side down. I can spot the shrewdest bob and weave and count the curving evasions with my eyes closed. I can even see through walls of solid BS secrecy to spot the Big Lies hidden by the multitude of little truths almost instantly. So I was primed for a World Series event. What a let down. I feel like I’ve been successfully BSted by the ABA, very embarrassing for a self-proclaimed BSE.
I suppose I should have expected this stinking fizzle. Alito was coming up to bat just after Roberts, the Master Swatter of the Judicial BS Allstars, had awed us with his sweeping Hippo BS Swats [which spew forth a tidal wave of BS and muddy all the waters as far as the eye can see]. Roberts had spent his whole life preparing for the World Series of BS by not doing anything in his career in BS except rack up odious official scores in the “elite” bureaucracies of BS I know so well. He came up to bat with no significant batting average in reality and was able to blind everyone with his Hippo Swats to the fact that he was nothing but a Party Tabula Rasa, which allowed him to schmooze the feckless pitchers and awe the audience with TBS [Total BS] without getting caught out once or raising a suspicion of evasion in minds of the ignorant TV-viewers who don’t even know they are watching a BS Game. Alito made the mistake of doing something with his life that gave him the ball and chain of a paper trail.
He was reduced to claiming over and over again “I forget entirely what I did over the past thirty years,” which even a total ignoranti would find hard to believe about someone who at least pretends to be intelligent and competent. And he often had to use the old dodge of “thema culpa,” claiming repeatedly that he fibbed and cut corners and bobbed and weaved in his dealings with the Reagan BS Team and others because that was what they demanded he do to get a high paying job and get his ticket to the Supremes punched for a life-time, tenured job as a BS Supreme.
Sure, it worked in the only way that matters to these BS major league heroes: he won the Game and everyone knows it’s not how you play the game but whether you win or lose — The American Ethos. Even an Allstar BS Pitcher like Teddy The Boozer would have to admit they never really knicked Alito in the crucial Gotcha Plays. Yeah, sure, he sweated and his supporting actors had to do some pretty tough skits to distract attention while he bobbed and weaves and pretended and lied. But they didn’t force him out of the box once. This guy was prepared for all the toughest and meanest Borkers in the World Series. His handlers had prepared him with consummate Machiavellian skill and they deserve their Brown Oscar Awards.
As I say, I’m shaken. A few days ago I was happy and confident in my conviction that America is now the uncontested stinking cesspool in a pit beckoning to the whole world to follow us into ever greater depths of BS and hypocrisy and graft. If this is the best we can do in the World Series of BS, it won’t be long before those Russian and Chinese Bull Shitters will be winning this All American Game the way the Japanese are winning in the Auto World Series. Then what will we use to justify ruling the world? We sold our American souls for the power and glory of ruling the world and now we’re going to wind up without even the vanity of being the World Champs of BS? A sad day for all us Americans! But maybe Sam will become a real Hippo Swatter on the Allstar BS Supremes and come out as redolent as a brown rose. A Real American Redeemer right up there with the Supreme Leaders of BS in the White House? Maybe.
Jack D. Douglas [send him mail] is a retired professor of sociology from the University of California at San Diego. He has published widely on all major aspects of human beings, most notably The Myth of the Welfare State.