May 31, 2007

Toréador, en garde!

The content of the package is more important than the label, but you still want to know what the label says and what it means. So here:

A bullfighter fights bull. D'oh! (Bullfighter, bullfighter, fight me a bull...)

Bull is an excessively polite name for bullshit, which is a term carefully defined by Harry Frankfurt, denoting a willful or reckless lack of concern for truth. According to Frankfurt, there is no good synonym for bullshit; hogwash, balderdash, codswallop, etc. are great words, but they don't mean exactly the same. Also according to Frankfurt, there is too much bullshit in the world; I wish I could disagree, but my concern for truth doesn't let me.

Just to avoid hasty inferrences: I don't necessarily agree with Frankfurt on everything. But I'll take another title from him as an inspiration: The Importance of What We Care about. I care about many things, truth being one of them. I want to protect what I care about, and fight against what harms it.

Now, no offense to male bovines, elephants or whales, but "bull" - when not used euphemistically - refers to them, and "bullfighter" usually means someone like Carmen's lover Escamillo - a toreador. You may, thus, expect me to be one; alas, the closest I can get is by making an acronym for some of the things I care about:


OK, that may be excessively cute. Maybe my whole Blogger profile is itself, well, bullshit. After all, you may be more interested in my real name, address, phone number, age, assets, and affairs that would enable you to blackmail me. But I don't blog because of the street I live on or the money in my bank account; I blog because of the ideas I care about. The TOREADOR list is just a subset of those, but it is more informative and more relevant than my vital statistics.

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