"On Bullshit" And It's Application To Wooddorking


"In the elder days of art Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part, For the Gods are everywhere."
"The point of these lines is clear. In the old days, craftsmen did not cut corners. They worked carefully, and they took care with every aspect of their work. Every part of the product was considered, and each was designed and made to be exactly as it should be. These craftsmen did not relax their thoughtful self-discipline even with respect to features of their work which would ordinarily not be visible. Although no one would notice if those features were not quite right, the craftsmen would be bothered by their consciences. So nothing was swept under the rug. Or, one might perhaps also say, there was no bullshit.
It does seem fitting to construe carelessly made, shoddy goods as in some way analogues of bullshit. But in what way? Is the resemblance that bullshit itself is invariably produced in a careless or self-indulgent manner, that it is never finely crafted, that in the making of it there is never the meticulously attentive concern with detail to which Longfellow alludes?"
On Bullshit Harry Frankfurt Princeton University
http://web.archive.org/web/20040212054855/http://www.jelks.nu/misc/articles/bs.html
Tom Watson - WoodDorker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/ (website)
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Bullshit.
The notion that "in the old days" everything was made with thoughtful consideration to detail is nothing but bullshit. There were just as many shoddy pieces of crap produced in every era of human existence as there are today. To think that the pour souls that stood at a bench and planed doors and furniture parts from sunup to sundown with no break, food or water, and often not allowed to speak, "worked carefully, and... took care with every aspect of their work" and that "nothing was swept under the rug" simply ignores the reality of humanity, such that it is.
The pieces that have survived to tell the tale of how things were made "in the old days" are, by definition, the best built, the best cared for, the most fortunate specimens. Period.
To think otherwise would be like thinking that all posts to rec.woodworking were as poorly worded and crafted as this one. Generalizations based on incomplete data, and especially data that is ignored and/or inappropriately analyzed, are worthless bullshit. As is this post.
Michael Latcha - at home in Redford, MI

http://web.archive.org/web/20040212054855/http://www.jelks.nu/misc/articles/bs.html
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On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 12:30:50 GMT, "Michael Latcha"

Agreed on the whole, since it makes sense that the better made do survive. But there remains the argument of how much of today's produce will remain a century or so from now, as chainsaws are used to cut twisted 2x 4s [a misnomer] and banged together with too few nails. Plywood floors, full of large unfilled knots, are laid in less than an hour on minimal spec beams, as they begin immediately to separate and squeek when walked on, and paint is thinned to transparency.
I lived in cheap row housing as a child. The buildings are being cleaned of old soot, and still stand as good as new.
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"Michael Latcha" wrote in message

<snip>
LOL ... now go back and note carefully the _subject_ of the first line, of the _quoted_ treatsie on Longfellows little verse.

rec.woodworking
inappropriately
I am thinking that perhaps Michael Latcha, while at home in Redford, MI, missed entirely the point of both Longfellow's verse, and Tom's posting of that little bit of quoted reflection on BS?
(BTW ... nice troll, Tom. You definitely have a genius for On Topic trolls, and illuminating the failings of an educational system, with just few strokes on the keyboard. <g>)
--
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<snip>
Ditto ! (despite the fact "dittos" are considered poor etiquette in NGs) Tom B
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"Tom Watson" wrote in message

trolls,
<reluctant snip, for brevity, of much reason and logic>
A very trenchant post, Tom ...as always you are a pleasure to read.
I'm thinking Usenet could use another term for that type of "interrogatory mischief". ;)
Anyone?
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On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 12:30:50 GMT, "Michael Latcha"
<snippomatic>

Are you that guy who used to be on 'Taxi'?
I thought you were dead.
BTW-The post was entirely composed of quoted text.
You may have heard of HW Longfellow.
The other guy holds down a job teaching Philosophy, at Princeton.*
(* Princeton - where Einstein used to hang - until he realized it was in New Jersey.)
Tom Watson - WoodDorker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/ (website)
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Tom Watson wrote:

http://web.archive.org/web/20040212054855/http://www.jelks.nu/misc/articles/bs.html
My only addition would be to add "self-righteous" after "careless or self-indulgent." The desire to be correct all the time makes some workers cover up flaws, lying to themselves and the observer.
Bob
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Thanks, Tom.
I think I'll carve a reminder to myself - to hang on the shop wall:
Build, with greatest care, Each minute and unseen part, For the gods are everywhere!
HWW needed to look around a bit more - there have always been people who work as he describes. In our time and in this company I'd point proudly to people like Steve Knight, Mike Hyde, and Tom Plamann as proof.
-- Morris
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Hey I resent those remarks ,I use gnomes and pixies to do the really hard stuff, by the way not that it matters but the name is spelled hide, as in hide and seek...mjh
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to
Oops! Sorry. 'Fraid I paid too much attention to the work and not enough to the guy who did it (the work /is/ more attention-grabbing :-)
-- Morris
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who
proudly
hard
in
to
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http://web.archive.org/web/20040212054855/http://www.jelks.nu/misc/articles / bs.html
I think a good indication of this is St Pauls cathedral . Christopher Wren the builder of St Pauls had argued for some time in the early 16 hundreds that the dome could be built as a freestanding structure without the use of columns al la US capitol building and many more . This concept was argued against by just about every architect of note at the time ,
Wren succomed to the argument and the columns were added . Only after WW2 when the building was being inspected for war damage was it realized that the columns were 2" or so shy of the base of the dome ....mjh
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wrote:

And he's probably still laughing his ass off... Good one, thanks.
To Tom's point, I think HWW's observation that bullshit involved "deliberate misrepresentation" is the key to shoddy workmanship - it is an attempt to provide something that dupes the purchaser/observer into believing it is a work of craftsmanship. Those who know craftsmanship can see through the bullshit.
TWS
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