Intellectual Dishonesty

Advocating a position known to be false and wrong. Manipulating ideas to frame an argument or story to advance an agenda or to reinforce one's beliefs--however utterly wrong--in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

A nice way to tell someone they are lying to you: "You're being intellectually dishonest, i'm afraid."

Ad (Wo)Men LOVE intellectual dishonesty.

"Fill your home with the fresh scent of sweet melon and tropical fruit. Hold can upright and spray."

I'm sorry, that is a lie.

Politicos LOVE intellectual dishonesty.

"The White House told Congress Friday that Iraqi leaders gained little new ground on key military and political goals, a discouraging assessment a day after President Bush said progress justifies keeping a large U.S. military presence there."

I'm sorry, you are lying.

Complete Assholes LOVE intellectual dishonesty.

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad. We know exactly where they are."

Sorry, you are a complete liar.

Even Apple engages in it:

"Early adopters always pay a premium"

Can't Steve Jobs be honest and say "You nerdjobs who stand in line for 6 hours for a damn phone" instead of "early adopters?" Come on.

i'm a designer, and while intellectual dishonesty coursing through life's veins all over the place is a depressing sight to see, observing it in the design world really kills me. Just as i'm sure it pains healthcare providers seeing it all over their worlds, quite egregiously, I notice it most deeply where it affects my chosen vocation. Apparently, we Americans have a REAL problem keeping anything real anymore.

Our cultural denial runs so deep we think we can just rename anything and everything's ok. In the design world, former building materials are now building products and polymers and a bunch of fake crap. Plastic stone, Hardiplank, and ductwork that resembles my sister's 1960's hairdryer hood and hose now replace once slightly more authentic materials. National defense is now hit men in service of private American corporations, which by the way, mostly move overseas to avoid paying for anything anymore. We once fought madmen who threatened to destroy the world; now we are madmen picking fights and threatening to destroy the world.

We just went to Shenandoah National Park very briefly and had a great time, but there were some nagging design dishonesties going on. Most of the park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 30s, and is wonderfully authentic in terms of it's rustic design, the countless quantities of hard work and love that went into the construction, and it's utter appropriateness to it's setting and context.

Oh my, though, what a difference 70 years can make. The place has been "updated" so many times that it is a train wreck expression of clashing ways of viewing the world, authenticity, and honesty. I am a design professional, so I would consider myself a bit picky about these things. But I must say it is a bit incongruous, that the beautifully constructed lodge and outbuildings are now filled with furniture and items one would find in a Motel 6. It's too bad really. As a place on the National Register of Historic Places, it seems warranted to have sensitive interior designers who could help with this. I found myself daydreaming about what my rooms must have been like originally, while looking at the intrusive dorm refrigerator (which we did not use in a 3 day stay i might add) next to the spectacular stone fireplace. Same for the bath: I found myself thinking, why oh why would someone have not updated these bathrooms in a way that is sensitive to the historic nature of the environment? Slipcovers--once a chintz daydream one wrapped on one's threadbare sofa--are to be found all over the bathtubs. Everytime i stepped in, i was painfully aware that the thin layer of polymer in the guise of a bathtub was not adhered properly, and moved around with each of my movements. In the lodge itself, a giant, spectacular living room with sweeping views, but uncomfortably and inappropriately outfitted with herculon lowest-common-denominator furniture.

But enough whining about the design world.

The thing that bugs me the most is how Bush and the Republicans have capitalized on this nasty cultural trend. They've taken lying from bad to acceptable to cool. They reinvent lying everyday.

I wish i were in Washington today protesting them and their intellectually dishonest war.

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