Back in July, I defended the use of the term ‘bullshitting’ in the Harry Frankfurt sense, as connotating that the speaker is indifferent to whether or not he or she is saying is true or meaningful. When politicians have to parrot the party line or offer insincere pleasantries at a function they are ‘bullshitting’.
But how about this from Tony Abbott yesterday:
At the conclusion [of the National Press Club debate], as they shook hands for the cameras, Ms Roxon said: “You can’t even get here on time.”
Mr Abbott replied: “It certainly wasn’t intentional.”
Ms Roxon: “You can control these things, mate. I’m sure had you wanted to, you could.”
Mr Abbott: “That’s bullshit. You’re being deliberately unpleasant. I suppose you can’t help yourself, can you?”
Ms Roxon: “I can’t help myself and you’ve well and truly earned it today.”
That I think is ‘bullshit’ in the more conventional usage. It’s an accusation of talking nonsense with connotations of unpleasant bodily discharges to make it more offensive.
Continue reading “How rude is ‘bullshit’ in the Tony Abbott sense?”