Tag Archive | "languages"

Politicians, Pundits and Pursuers of Poontang

I wanted to learn a second language. There are approximately 6,900 of them out there to choose from and I couldn’t decide which one to spend my time on.

I ruled out Chamicuro right away because only 8 people in the world spoke that language. I saw a picture of them, all toothless and horribly wrinkled, gathered together in the center of their village in Peru. I figured by the time I learned to speak Chamicuro they would all be dead.

I also drew a line through Dumi Bo’o, Liki, Njerep and Kaixana for pretty much the same reason. I talk to myself enough as it is.

It only made sense to choose a language spoken by the most people. French, German and Mandarin seem to be the big hitters. With Russian, Spanish and Japanese close behind.

Esperanto is supposed to be an international language, the one spoken by the most people around the globe. I don’t know anyone who speaks Esperanto so I didn’t bother with that one either.

It soon occurred to me there was another international language. One that everyone spoke but few understood. As odd as that sounds, it was true. People were always hearing it spoken but not really understanding it. And when they spoke it to someone else their real meaning was lost to the listener.

I wasn’t sure how something could be so prevalent and yet so completely misunderstood. It was here I found my language of choice and set out determined to become fluent in Bullshit.

It was the obvious choice because Bullshit is the preferred language of politicians, pundits and pursuers of poontang. I happily include myself in the latter category but my sense of honor prohibits me from taking undue advantage of anyone. So, I vowed to use my new found literacy in Bullshit for intellectual pursuits only and not try to talk some unsuspecting young woman into doing things she never knew she wanted to do.

It became evident at once that Bullshit was the sole form of communication used by the news media. That would be my focus of study. I worked hard at it and once I gained proficiency in this mother tongue I was astounded at what I was finally able to understand. It was very disheartening.

I will share some of what I learned but I feel you need to learn for yourself. As I did, start with the news media and after a bit I’m sure you will begin to recognize all the different dialects of Bullshit. I have listed a few of them below to help get you started.

Mostly Bullshit

This one was difficult to pick up at first because there are specks of truth here and there. But it is only used to camouflage the real Bullshit.

Mostly Bullshit is both misleading and convincing at the same time. It assumes if they feed one slice of the pie you’ll happily pounce on what’s left. Be careful here. It takes a practiced eye to spot and understand it.

Biased Bullshit

This one will acknowledge no other point of view. It takes shameful advantage by telling you what you want to hear. It is utterly devoid of any perspective. It convinces you that what they tell you is good and anything anyone else tells you is bad.

You need to take great care with this one because it can overwhelm your sensibility and leave you believing what you are being told is the absolute truth.

Straight Faced Bullshit

This is a much used dialect and can be seen either in a panel format or a single individual staring you right in the eye. In the panel format a group of people will speak Straight Faced Bullshit between themselves while you watch and listen. They sometimes become quite animated while insisting what they are saying has any basis in reality whatsoever.

You are outnumbered here so be careful.

When Straight Faced Bullshit is used by a single person they may sometimes employ tools to try and convince you what they are saying is not Bullshit. One of these tools is statistics. At times revealed in charts and graphs held up for your inspection. It can be quite convincing but is actually of no value whatsoever.

The best defense is to dismiss it altogether because there is no way to confirm its accuracy. Which is exactly why they use them. You always need to keep in mind that all users of Straight Faced Bullshit are very well paid. And the more people they can get to listen to them the more money they make. That should always be a red flag.

Total Bullshit

Believe it or not, Total Bullshit can be harder to identify. I have heard it referred to as Blatant Bullshit or Complete Bullshit. They are all pretty much the same thing. There are three ways that I found to detect Total Bullshit. Once you become fluent in Bullshit I am sure you will find many of your own.

The first is when something is attributed to an undisclosed source or a high ranking government official who wishes to remain anonymous. What follows after that is highly likely to be Total Bullshit.

The second is the use of “experts.” Their function is to interpret someone else’s Total Bullshit then add a heap of their own and blend them together in an indistinguishable mess. You have to pay particular attention to this one because somehow they make it all appear plausible. When you become fluent in bullshit you will readily see it makes no sense at all.

The third is closely related to the second one mentioned above. This is of the educated, erudite and urbane variety. These presenters of Total Bullshit try to make you feel as they presume themselves to be. Smart. They rely on convincing you that if you don’t understand what they’re saying it has to be true. Think of them as nothing more than self-important, perfumed dandies.

With Bullshit now under my belt I was able to gain a true perspective on what was really going on. If you are tired of getting suckered then I encourage you to learn how to speak and understand Bullshit as soon as possible.


(Contributor’s note: I first heard the expression, “fluent in bullshit”, from Gary Shandling. He may or may not have originated the term; but either way, it’s poor manners to use someone else’s work without proper acknowledgement. Rest In Peace, Gary).


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Why Inky is on a Mission to Save Endangered Languages

When Inky Gibbens learned that Buryat, the northern-Siberian language of my grandparents, was in danger of dying out, she knew then and there that she had to do something. But from a remote part of the Mongolian steppes, she felt powerless to act. However, she was lucky enough to come to the UK in later years, to study modern languages and subsequently focus on language policy and revitalisation during my master’s degrees.

5 years on, she is now founder and CEO of a newly-formed Cambridge-based EdTech startup, Tribalingual, which is pledged to rescue endangered languages from the brink of extinction. Read the full story


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