Neil Postman: Bullshit and the Art of Crap Detection

Source: CMU website, Nov 1969

Postman

Related Reading: PhD blog, Aug 2011

This extract from Bullshit and the Art of Crap-Detection* – a paper delivered at the National Convention for the Teachers of English, Washington D C in 1969 – is typical Postman. In fact, Eichmannism represents one of many forms of bullshit. Others he suggests include:

  • Pomposity – the use of “fancy titles, words, phrases, and sentences,” usually employed to hide insufficiencies
  • Fanaticism – a malignant form of bullshit that at its worse is manifest as bigotry
  • Inanity – public utterances from “people whose opinions would otherwise not be solicited,” increasingly amplified through the development of mass media
  • Superstition – “a belief, usually expressed in authoritative terms for which there is no factual or scientific basis”
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