how to dethrone enactors of sh** & how to be one find at stores.lulu.com/jgilgun
| Cara said to her lover Nick when she found out he had been seeing another woman, “What do you want? A harem?” Nick did not skip a beat. An impish look appeared on his face, and he uttered words Cara had not expected. “Two women? That’s not much of a harem.” Cara laughed, tickled by the charm that endeared Nick to her. With her laugh, Cara’s ten-sion lifted, and they talked about other things.
Nick had finessed Cara in an elegant, tailor-made way. His involvement with another woman had hurt Cara, and he covered up through humor. He had been with Cara long enough to know that a humorous response would distract her and lift her mood. Cara cooperated. She enabled Nick to be a shit.
Katherine Armstrong described as “little bitty pellets” the shotgun blast that the vice president of the United States fired into Harry Whittington while hunting quail on the Arm-strong ranch in February 2006. Harry, she told reporters should have informed other hunters of his whereabouts. She said that she herself had been shot upon occasion, and Harry was fine, sitting up in his hospital bed, “yakking.”
Actually, Harry spent six days in the hospital. A few days after being shot, he had a heart attack when a pellet mi-grated to his heart.
When Harry left the hospital, he commiserated with the vice president. “My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this past week. We send our love and respect to them as they deal with situations that are much more serious than what we have had this week…. We hope that he will continue to come to Texas and seek the relaxation that he deserves.”
With these words, Harry enabled the vice president to cover up his unkind deed, in other words, to be a shit. He coop-erated with the minimization of the vice president’s deeds and his own near-death.
Sophie told her husband Bill, “You’re too sensitive” when he gagged at the bits of beef, carrots, and asparagus, along with lumps of toothpaste and globs of spit that she had left in the bathroom sink after she had brushed her teeth. Sophie’s words stung Bill. He instantly felt better when he resolved to leave his own mouth garbage in the sink the next time he brushed his teeth. Too sensitive, my ass. He’ll show her. He laughed out loud at the thought.
Sophie not only dismissed Bill’s concerns, but she dis-tracted him away from her own insensitivity by pointing out something wrong with him. Being called sensitive hit one of Bill’s hot buttons. Rather than ruminate, however, Bill vowed to get back at Sophie.
Bill believed that being too sensitive was a character defect. He bought into Sophie’s cover-up. He enabled her to be shit. By plotting revenge, Bill was on his way to becoming one himself.
Unkind Deeds and Cover-Ups
While differing in their details, these scenarios have much in common. In each of them, someone committed an un-kind deed and then tried to cover up through humor, minimization, dismissiveness, and deflection of blame. In the vice president’s case, a spokesperson covered up for him.
In each case, recipients bought into the cover-ups. Harry Whittington may have only given the appearance of buy-in, but he spoke the words of one who enables getting away with unkind deeds.
On Being a Shit is about such unkind deeds and cover-ups. Instances of being a shit abound in families, in neighbor-hoods, at work, and on the highway. The potential for being a shit exists wherever two or more people congregate. Getting others to believe unkind deeds are their fault is the crowning achievement of being a shit.
Unkind deeds and cover-ups extend into politics, busi-ness, sports, academic life, and even world affairs. Richard Nixon’s cover-up of the Watergate break-in is one of the most famous political cover-ups in the last fifty years. Floyd Landis’s alleged doping during the 2006 Tour de France bicycle race and his apparent cover-ups have made headlines through-out the world ever since the doping came to light.
For more than twenty-five years, I did research on se-rious violence, such as rape, child molestation, and murder. In their own words, perpetrators described multiple and ingenious ways they evaded responsibility for their behaviors and, when-ever possible, blamed others for their own terrible deeds.
As I became familiar with criminal acts and cover-ups, I began to notice variations of them operating in everyday life among persons who had committed relatively minor unkind deeds and who sought to cover them up through evasion, distor-tion, and blame.
When I read Harry Frankfurt’s best-selling book On Bullshit, I found a name for the unkind deeds and cover-ups that I had noticed for so many years. I termed these everyday acts being a shit and decided to write a book about them.
Frankfurt, a philopher, fittingly wrote a philosophical es-say. I am a researcher, and this present book is a report on research I conducted.
I chose the impolite being a shit over other more re-spectable terms such as being insufficiently accountable and the evasion of responsibility because the term being a shit fits how we intuitively understand and experience unkind deeds and their cover-ups in everyday life. When someone dumps on us and then tries to cover it up, a typical response is “You shit!”
I wrote this book to let others know what I have learned from years of research and in so doing to help them avoid being trapped in the machinations that are now so familiar to me. With this level of awareness, I freely admit that I have been a recipient of unkind deeds and cover-ups and have expertise in enabling these behaviors. I am much better at being a recipient than an enactor, although I have some talent in that regard as well.
I also wrote this book in the hope that those who enact being shits will enjoy reading about themselves, until, of course, it dawns on them that that I have found them out. Then, I cannot predict what they will do, perhaps ridicule the book so they can carry on. A few may see the light and change their ways.
My fondest hope is that On Being a Shit will clue re-cipients about their parts in the cycle of shitty behaviors, and they will opt out of cooperating with the sometimes clever and not-so-clever strategies of cover-up that hook them into believ-ing that false representations are true.
Theory-Testing Throught Deductive Qualitative Analysis
In this book, I developed and tested a theory of being a shit. To do so, I applied the scientific method called deductive qualitative analysis (DQA). This approach to theory testing is based upon the work of Karl Popper, a philosopher of science, who wrote that science is based upon conjectures, refutations, and reformulations.
The purpose of DQA is theory development. The pre-liminary theory is a conjecture that is assumed to have strong points but also some inadequacies. Through testing the theory on a series of cases, researchers change the theory to fit the cases while they keep the ideas that could not be refuted. The principles and procedures of DQA are fundamental to science.
Deductive qualitative analysis involves several steps. The first is to write down everything researchers already know about the phenomena of interest. The next is to review what others have written about the phenomena. Based on what re-searchers learn from these two steps, researchers formulate a preliminary theory. Then they test the preliminary theory and change it when there is evidence to do so. The final product is a revised theory that fits the cases on which it was tested.
Researchers typically do DQA in order to come up with a better, more accurate and trustworthy theory. That was my purpose in developing and testing a theory of being a shit. De-tails on method are in the Appendix.
Steps Involved in the Present Investigation
I followed the procedures of DQA to the letter. I first wrote out my own assumptions about this human condition, based upon my own research, my professional experience as a social worker, and years of observation of everyday life. The results of this effort compose Chapters One and Two. Next, I reviewed scholarly writings, both on the meanings of the word shit and scholarship and research on related conditions, such as humbug, bullshit, and lying. These reviews are in Chapters Three and Four.
Thus informed, I developed a preliminary theory of be-ing a shit, which composes Chapter Five. I then tested the theory on a series of cases. The testing is reported in Chapters Six through Nineteen. .
In Chapters Twenty through Twenty-Four, I applied the theory to cases where enactors voluntarily mended their ways or recipients successfully refused buy-in. Chapter Twenty-Six shows what not to do when enactor blow back at recipient who refuse buy-in. Chapter Twenty-Five and the final chapters discuss the results of testing the theory.
The final chapters include a revised and tested theory of being a shit and a discussion of the implications of the revised theory. Included in the discussion are lessons learned on how to resist the sometimes clever and not-so-clever tactics that enactor use to cover up their unkind deeds.
The cases are stories about people from many walks of life and who covered up a wide variety of unkind deeds. I wanted a diverse sample because I want the theory to be as use-ful as possible to a wide variety of situations.
I found that the theory fit most cases well. The theory also helped me to see aspects of the stories I might not other-wise have noticed. Thus, the theory served a sensitizing purpose; that is, it gave me a set of ideas that helped in the analysis of the cases.
As is true for most preliminary theories, the theory was lacking in some aspects because, as I compared the theory to the stories, I noticed dimensions of being a shit that the theory did not anticipate. Thus, though the theory guided analysis of sto-ries, I found evidence that helped me to reformulate the original theory so that it fit the cases I tested it on.
No theory can be accounted as reliable and trustworthy until researchers have tested it exhaustively and deliberately in a systematic way and compared the theory with facts of each case. Researchers reformulate the theory until it satisfactorily sheds light on human phenomena. At that point, the theory becomes both reliable and trustworthy. The present theory of being a shit underwent such testing. It holds great promise to enlighten a pervasive human condition.
This book spoofs social science theory-building, while also having a serious side. Who ever heard of testing a theory of being a shit? On the other hand, being a shit happens so of-ten that it warrants close scientific scrutiny. Furthermore, this book provides a model of how to do theory testing using quali-tative data, something that is of interest to many social scientists.
I hope readers enjoy reading the book as much as I en-joyed writing it and that its contents enlighten them as much as they have enlightened me.