bullshit

This article just about sums up my first semester of law school

Since I don’t have time lately to post anything of my own, I thought I might provide a link to the blog “The War on Bullshit” which has, in my humble opinion, posted an accurate and eloquently written article summing up how I feel about law school grading.  Law school is an engine powered by a large amount of arbitrariness and subjectivity along with massive egos of academics (easily developed when one has only had to live in one’s own head for the majority of one’s life).  Couple this with a professor’s inability to teach law in a coherent and logical manner, and voila, you have a recipe for a law student’s living nightmare.

Some profs and some administrators* will say things like, “law is a self-regulating profession so self-teaching is critical” or, “law professors are not trained as teachers” or, “you should spend more time learning from your classmates”.  Well, sorry, but that doesn’t give a law school a valid defense for providing sub-par service (let’s not forget that legal education has become prohibitively expensive).  These are only thinly veiled tu quoque arguments: “your marks stink, student A, because you’re not working hard enough / you didn’t learn the concepts thoroughly on your own.” (but these profs and university administrators know this argument all too well). If I’m learning on my own, then why don’t I just attend law school online?

I will also argue that there is a great deal of special pleading, or goal post shifting, occurring on a regular basis:  “We don’t want the smart students to transfer out of our law school, else we’ll lose our jobs.  Let’s make our marking extra arbitrary and our exams beyond difficult, so we’ll be sure to remove as many marks as possible, and while we’re at it, we’ll lower our grading curve average.”

Thanks.  Make sure that I can’t have good enough marks to transfer out so I can float tuition at your institution for another two years.  But this is all just speculation without evidence.  I wouldn’t want to be accused of making a false cause argument.  My bad. It’s my fault for not understanding the highly sophisticated legal concepts being taught to me.

Despite all of this, we are still left wondering why law students have high rates of depression and substance abuse problems.  Hmm, I wonder why.  But again, that’s just causal speculation.

* I say some, because I don’t want to be accountable for making the composition/division fallacy, where I think ALL profs and administrators are the same.  They’re not, but I often hear similar messages from them.

 

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Thou Shalt Not Commit Logical Fallacies

I’ve been doing some studying, and through exploring some links, I came across a website: Thou Shalt Not Commit Logical Fallacies. Just in case you weren’t sure, logical fallacies are flaws in reasoning.

The folks over at the website have organized some common logical fallacies in a fun way — they have symbols dedicated to each fallacy.  It seems as if the site organizers are trying to start a movement, as they invite people to send applicable links to those who commit logical fallacies.  For those who commit too many logical fallacies to count (come on, you know a few I’m sure, and if not, think:  local politician, corporation or annoying family member), you are welcome to download the Logical Fallacies Poster or purchase it from the website to give as a ‘gift’.

I think it would be fun if each fallacy came with a recording of a booming, god-like voice shouting:  “THE LOGICAL FALLACY YOU HAVE COMMITTED IS….” or tightwad Tuvoc’s voice from Star Trek:  “You are not logical”.

None of us are perfect, but rational thinking is cool.  Let’s all jump on the rational bandwagon together.  Everyone is doing it. Pourquoi?  Parce que.

Pineapple t-shirt

I bought a linen t-shirt at a department store.  I liked the pineapple on it.  My cousin says if I drew a door on the pineapple that it would look like SpongeBob Squarepants’ house in Bikini Bottom.

Have a couple more job interviews coming up.  This includes a visit with yet another employment recruiter.

I love it when recruiters try to ask you what your previous salary was, which has nothing to do with the job for which they’re seeking a candidate.  I spoke to one particular recruiter over the phone the other day, and told her that I wasn’t going to discuss my previous salary; especially given that I know absolutely nothing about the job requirements, or nothing about the company that is looking for a candidate.  Recruiters always love to respond with the standard, “Well, we can’t help you” and then I basically say, “Well good luck finding someone else”.   I mean, they’re calling me, right, and, do I ask them what their salaries are?  It’s so much bullshit, and meanwhile, I know that there aren’t many people who have the type of experience I have.  I could have said that I did backflips at my last job and this recruiter would have believed me.  Given that I worked at the circus, this wouldn’t have been too far off from the truth.

It’s also almost time for another government job interview.   Those people should be tired of interviewing me by now.  I know I’m tired of talking to them.

If neither of these opportunities lead to a job, I’m going to move to Bikini Bottom and will get a job flipping Krabby Patties at the Krusty Krab.  Perhaps my t-shirt purchase was prognostic.

My future home in Bikini Bottom

My future home in Bikini Bottom

Capitalism breeds bullshit (but we already knew that)

This is a brief follow up post from one of my previous posts.   You may think I am obsessed with bullshit, but you should be too, given that we are surrounded by it — like the air we breathe.  Thank you to Andre Spicer from Cass Business School at the City University London and M@n@gement (Revue officielle de l’AIMS), for having the cajones to publish something like this: “Shooting the shit: the role of bullshit in organizations“.  Andre has also published other fun articles about stupidity in organizations.

I think Andre would make an interesting dinner guest.  Andre, if you come across my blog and want to come for dinner, let me know.  People tell me I’m a pretty good cook.

From Sovereign Independent UK - Horsemeat Isn’t the Problem ~ It’s the Bullshit We’re Expected to Swallow!

*From Sovereign Independent UK – Horsemeat Isn’t the Problem ~ It’s the Bullshit We’re Expected to Swallow!

 

I am a Bullshit Girl, Living in a Bullshit World

We survive in an economy that is built on bullshit.  I think about real estate agents.  Bullshitters.  What do they actually do?  Nothing.  I renovated my bathroom and broke my back doing it, so remind me again why these people think they are justified in taking 2.5% of the total sale price of my home?  Just because the agent put a bouquet of flowers out, which someone else arranged?  Sure.  I enjoyed the lousy bottle of wine you sent me as a thank you for the thousands you skimmed off the top.  I made sure to chill it first.

I won’t mention politicians, because they are just old-fashioned bullshitters.  I’m talking about modern age, à la mode bullshitters.  The Economist magazine, in the article “On bullshit jobs” cites an essay written by David Graeber, an anthropologist, who discusses work in the modern economy.  I was so inspired by this article and my recent experience that I thought I would blog about it.

Next on my list of big time bullshitters are employment recruiters.

In my recent experience, a recruiter called me to tell me that the company I applied to was looking for someone like me, and then said I didn’t have the experience the company was looking for, all in the same sentence.  It’s like he said to me, “we are desperate for people!  But you need to beg for this job because you need to justify your skills to me even though I don’t understand anything about what it is that you’ve outlined your resume…now beg…and get down and give me 20!”.  I thought, this person must have Borderline Personality Disorder.  Not only did this recruiter put me off immediately with his pathetic social skills, but he wasn’t even capable of communicating with me throughout the recruiting process.

I had to, in fact, be the one to actually ask him where my second interview was going to be located, and with which company representatives I would be interviewing.  I guess he just assumed I would somehow instinctively know these details, after flying halfway across the country to an unfamiliar city.  In fact, when I arrived to the office that day, I found out I was in the wrong office for the interview and that I had to go to the other office, because the recruiter gave me the wrong address information.

About a month later, following the interview, the recruiter still didn’t get in touch with me to let me know what was happening in the hiring process.  I had to ask him.  His only job — to send e-mails or make phone calls; to be a go-between for the company and its prospective employees, was done poorly.  He doesn’t actually have to have any specialist skills whatsoever and even then, he was still incapable of doing his bullshit job properly.   Even if I’m given a job offer, do I want to work there?  Not really.

By the way, what is a management consultant anyway?  Just what is that?  What about pyramid schemers?

More or less though, companies exist as gigantic pyramid schemes anyway. I’ve devised a test: print your company organization chart.  Draw lines around all the names listed on the company’s organizational chart.  Ask yourself:  Did I make a triangle shape?  Then ask, is my name even on the org chart or am I such an unworthy tiny minion that my name is not even published?  In this case, it’s what I like to call a super-duper pyramid where you are so insignificant that you are actually extra-pyramidal.

There are lousy, incompetent people in every profession you can think of.  Don’t assume because one is a lawyer (likely bullshitter), doctor (potential quack), or senior university professor (possible PhD student slave driver with no recognizable research skills) that competence comes with the title.  I think the majority of professionals are trying to do the right thing, but it is better to be skeptical and allow a professional to earn your trust and money.  I’m not fooled by letters after a name.  I knew a guy in university who, from what I heard from multiple people, lied and cheated his entire way through university and I believe now he is a practicing medical doctor.

But now, we have a whole slew of ill-qualified bullshitters, with little knowledge or skills, making a buck in the bullshit economy.  Yet, we are so limited as a society that we don’t fund, I don’t know, say,  important scientific research, since all the money is being used up by the bullshitters doing their bullshit work.

There is hope, though.  I have coped in this world by honing my bullshit radar.  You could do the same.  The better you get, the more bullshit ‘blips’ you’ll get on your screen, so you’ll be prepared for the bullshit that is fired your direction.  This way, you can say, “Do not bullshit a bullshitter” with confidence.  Then you can sell your house yourself and find your own (I won’t say it) job, maybe even start your own (I won’t say it again) company.