I like to make nicknames, or make neologisms and words that only I understand. A ‘faker’ is probably one of the terms which seem to correlate to what others may comply with in their understanding and their observation.

I was listening to a Paramore album, in my attempt to stay culturally relevant to the mainstream and not to be completely isolated and out of the way of poppy things (that’s a story for another post), and the singer, whom I would prefer to look at than listen to; says something like ‘get out those horns’.

For the uninformed, she was referring to the Il Cornito or ‘devil horns’ which has long standing links to a darker side of NWOBHM heavy metal, and then later, underground metal, and now it seems to have diluted, like a cheap rum, into outright mainstream and AOR music. At that point, I felt something has soured; the search for authenticity is extremely difficult.

Fakers are the ‘joiners’ of a youth culture, or any kind of movement. They are the people who join for the sake of joining, or those who, although probably not to their own admission, commit to a movement in a cult-like fashion, without regard for ideology or deeper meaning, but the obviousness of a particular movement. In what does ‘obvious’ consist becomes blurred by the diffuse and shallow commitment of the faker.

I was watching a neat documentary on organic food, Penn and Teller’s Bullshit is a staple programme for me. Penn Jillette is often outspoken (a contrast to Teller’s silence routine) libertarian and an anti-bullshit activist. Many people can have critical things to say about him and I can’t always say that I agree with all of the views he puts forward (but they always challenge me).

This episode was a diatribe against proponents of organic food. Some of the following points were addressed:

1. Whether organic food is better than non-organic food is a matter of fact
2. The constitutents where which (1.) may be judged include:
i. Viability (sustainability)
ii. Corporate interests

i. Regarding viability, a fully organic infrastructure of producing food would provide enough for (sic) 4 billion.
ii. Regarding corporate interests: most organic producers are not small farmers, but large-scale interests, some of which comes from overseas

3. The issue of ‘taste’ is a moot one. This is more an observer prejudice to believe that organic food tastes better.

It was quite sad how the proponents of all-organic produce were quite tenuous in their beliefs. Two of the proponents were a married couple, living in a tepee, yet also living in a house. Their ideal of living off the land made little sense in the light of the fact that they had factory produced T-shirts with pithy environmental slogans (irony lost on such unintelligent people), or the fact that they used a piano, an instrument which robs ivory of animals.

The programme had a moral. It was not so much about the issue of organic food ,as there are side-tracked issues which are important (sustainability and carbon impact are distinct albeit relevant issues). To say ‘I believe’ and argue for a point does not cut the mustard. One really needs to rely on either or both: steady argumentation and empirically grounded facts.

Straw person tactics in very important issues like the environment demonise and undermine the importance of the cause. Furthermore, those who argue very badly put more than themselves into disrepute, but the institutions by which they represent.


One thought on “Fakers

  1. Just a few thoughts…

    In characterising those who adopt specific cultural identities in an effort to meet their membership needs as ‘fakers’ you show a common prejudice (one that I myself have been guilty of) – in Temperament Theory, this is Rational prejudice against Guardian. You are at risk here of dictating how one conducts a search for an authentic life and ruling out that the first step might be to “try on” an identity and see if it fits. I don’t have time to expand on this point, but I hope you can see what I’m gesturing at. 🙂

    In respect of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, I personally find that this show epitomises the Rational temperament (the dominance of the orbito-frontal cortex) in expressing prejudice against any other means of reasoning. While I originally could enjoy the show, I now find it intolerable. The sheer volume of unstated, unacknowledged but apparently fundamental assumptions that underlie the way the arguments are constructed shocks me. It’s entertaining television – if one also expresses Rational temperament – but it’s as far from the goals of philosophy I can imagine, falling constantly into biased polemic. Of course, this is what renders it as entertaining, but I see the effect of this show as reinforcing the Rationally-minded individual’s personal prejudices.

    I suppose I’m being unfair – Penn and Teller are not journalists or philosophers, and the show is essentially positioned as polemic, so to criticise it for being slanted seems pointless.

    Well, I’m out of time.

    Take care!

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