Do self-deluded people have a finite well of horseshit to draw from, or are there minds capable of just churning out an inexhaustible supply of it?
I’m not talking about unfortunates such as unmedicated schizophrenics who are literally disconnected from reality 24/7; I mean the everyday drones who are, to hear them tell it, one or two steps away from national recognition as an athlete, actor, entrepreneur, socialite, etc.
You often see this sort of circus playing out online: Over here is the yammering lady who’s going to marry Justin Bieber because he tweeted the same article she did, over in that tent is the guy who’s going to make the Olympic Trials in the 400 at age 43 off a 25-year-old PR of 56 seconds, and in that corner is the guy who keeps sending resumes to the Argonne National Laboratory claiming he once got a lawnmower to run for 18 straight hours on a mixture of goat cheese and Gatorade. And yeah, these fuckers are a little nuts too, but folks like this are out there in society and more or less functioning and looking normal as long as they don’t say much or stay outside for too long or look anyone in the face while speaking. If they speak.When I see everyday bloggers and people on social media trumpeting the same basic nonsense that they’ve posted many times before, often over a period of years — about themselves and their incipient greatness, or about the world around them and what is certainly going to happen by next Friday, this time for certain — I tell myself that even if there is something a little wrong, neurotransmitter-wise, with the minds expelling all of this provably false jibber-jabber, they will have to quit doing it after a certain amount of pushback, if not from other people but from reality itself.
If you repeatedly announce that you are training to run a 2:45 marathon while bragging about your natural talent, and four years go by with a best effort of 3:50, that “should” be sufficient to lead you to, at a minimum, withdraw public pronouncements about your quest. If you say you went to a particular high school or worked a particular job, and there is straight-up evidence that you didn’t, that “ought” to convince you to not only relinquish that particular lie but also to stop assembling others that are close cousins of it.
But I am perhaps too optimistic in using “should” and “ought” in the context of people like these.
This is not a new phenomenon, but I’m convinced that the antics of this presidential administration have allowed everyday people to rationalize lying, with habitual liars going full-throttle on bullshit. The way that Donald Trump and his gang of henchclowns just proudly double down on lies that anyone with 10 seconds and a smartphone can disprove has to have inspired fibbers everywhere, with a particularly strong effect on the constitutionally honesty-challenged. It’s fascinating when people lie online and then not only keep those lies posted after being busted, but add more bullshit to the pile, and either I’m seeing incrementally more of this than before or I’m simply more aware of it since Trump entered the fray or both.
I myself appear to be deluded about the percentage of people who can genuinely exert control over the stuff that spills from their mouths and (especially) their keyboards. For some, the horn of bullshit-plenty is an infinitely deep well.