Photo of the author by Danielle Levitt.
This stewardess seems pretty and nice and everything, but why are we supposed to sit here and learn what to do when we go careening into the ocean? I already know what to do. Blow up into a thousand pieces and drown. Got it. Do you actually think I believe that we’re going to ditch (that’s what pilots call it) softly on the ocean and the inflatable ramps will come out and I’ll take off my high heels and slide down to the not-freeze-me-to-death water? I guess I’ll just use my seat cushion as a flotation device while the Coast Guard comes to take me to my destination (hope my luggage doesn’t get wet). BUUUUULLLLSHIIIIIIT. My dad’s a pilot, and guess what he said. “You’re right, Donna. It is total bullshit. Small planes and helicopters ditch all the time, but there has never been a single ditching by a US flag commercial airline.” I fucking knew it! Those oxygen things that fall down, the inflatable life jackets, the little cards that tell you how to crash: all bullshit.
Thanks, Dad. I can almost forgive you for drinking your way out of me and Mom’s life. In fact, that little familial affirmation has given me the confidence to call bullshit on a lot of things. I call bullshit on…
Hey, Craig, stop calling pot “Al Green” and coke “Barry White” when you talk to me on the phone. The FBI are not listening. What kind of budget do you think they have? You’d need three hundred million people to monitor three hundred million people that closely. Is there another America in another dimension that’s keeping tabs on us?
Oh, and like a bomb is going to get you. Yeah, right.
If you were in the most dangerous city in America on the morning of September 11, the odds of you being killed were about .0125 percent. (There’s 20 million people on the island and only 2,500 got hit, so that’s one in 8,000.) We lost 80 times that many people to cigarettes and car accidents last year. All right, we should definitely fight to stop terrorism and it’s really bad and everything, but as far as anything happening to you—fegeddaboudit. I call bullshit on terrorism.
SURVIVING ANIMAL ATTACKS
Have you heard what you’re supposed to do when pit bulls attack? You’re supposed to collapse under them, and as they jump up on you to bite your face, you’re supposed to grab them by the neck and strangle them. Sure, I can do that. Of course, I’ll have to practice it ten thousand times so it’s a natural reflex, but yeah, I can strangle flying pit bulls, no problem. I’m a female ninja.
Dogs smelling fear, punching sharks in the nose, covering a crocodile’s eyes, playing dead when bears are around—bullshit. Bears can rip off your head the same way we hit a T-ball off that little post. Like I’m going to lie there and play dead while he sticks his wet nose in my ear and starts sniffing.
Shit my pants and start crying—that I can do.
What guy insists his girlfriend cums every time? Andrew Dice Clay? An in-the-closet fag? I’m sorry, but that is bullshit. The majority of women always cum from being eaten out and occasionally cum from getting fucked. Guys know that. What, do you pretend to faint from ecstasy and roll your eyes back in your head like you’re having a seizure, too? Outside of Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, I call bullshit on women faking orgasms.
I know a masseur (the degree is as hard to get as anesthesiology, but it pays about as much as a dishwasher), and he says most of his clients are middle-aged divorcées. Sorry, guy, but those are also the least touched people in the world. That can’t be a coincidence. I’m going to have to call bullshit on your whole job. It’s just a tenderness substitute. Like ugly girls with pets.
And chiropractors? BUUULLLSHIIIIIT. You move around some muscle and all of a sudden my bones are aligned? Yeah, right. Forty-five years of my mom sitting in a shitty chair can be outdone by a few tugs of her skin? Why don’t you realign the bones in your bullshit and try to make it less of a huge pile?
Come to think of it, I call bullshit on all medicine. Everything from acupuncture to chemotherapy is total fucking bullshit. Like that New York Times Magazine special Medicine and Its Myths (March 16, 2003). Doctors have no fucking clue what they’re doing. It’s one big gigantic placebo. Chris Rock said it best: “They’ve been working on blindness for how long? And they still can’t do shit for Stevie Wonder. Can we not get Stevie one peek? Just one peek!”
Oh yeah, and that whole thing where doctors say the antibiotics don’t work if you drink. Hey doc, did you test that theory out? No, you didn’t. You just say that because drinking is bad for you (which is another thing I call bullshit on) and you think that it’s PROBABLY kind of bad to drink on antibiotics.
Go back to leeches and bloodletting, you fucking frauds. I call bullshit on you. This is fun. What else do I call bullshit on?
You heard me. I know things are bad for prostitutes in Southeast Asia and everything, but me and my sister Kate have had nothing but a gay old time here in North America since day one. And we grew up dadless in a shitty part of New York. If anyone in our family can complain about sexism it would have to be my little brother, Carl. He wants to be a fireman, but girls wrecked it. Used to be you had to lift 180 pounds to get the job, but women couldn’t do that so they lowered it to 100 pounds. What the fuck? Why don’t they lower the requirements for urinals so women can use those too? Now you have these 180-pound firemen scared shitless of going into a burning building with their female partner because they know she can’t carry him out.
Maybe I’m just ignorant, but once you take all the bonuses of being a chick into account, whining about sexism sounds like total bullshit to me.
Did you ever read Dan Clowes’ Art School Confidential comic? He’s making it into a movie. Basically, it calls bullshit on art school and points out that anything they teach you that isn’t a specific technical skill or art history is totally subjective and a complete waste of time. Don’t believe me? Ask an art-school graduate. It’s a scam. Come to think of it, art is a fucking scam. Some Japanese millionaire gives you $400,000 to mount three hundred taps on a wall that exude hot rubber? Wow. You can come up with weird ideas and hire carpenters and engineers to spend three weeks carrying them out. Fuck artists. None of them can even draw hands. You know who does valid art? All those taxidermists that make walruses and wolves and cougars look real at the natural science museum. They may not wear leather jackets with one sleeve and fuck the Hilton sisters, but at least they are actually talented.
AMERICA IS RICH
BUUUULLLLSHIIIIIT. I am flat broke and so is America. Sure, Bangladesh still uses mopeds from the 60s and we have twenty million SUVs, but that’s still only 6 percent of the population. And how many of those people can actually afford to be driving them? The point is, most Americans’ lives are like Roseanne. The average American owes $7,000 on his credit card. That’s a lot of money when the median annual salary is $38,000 a year. Everyone thinks we are the richest people in the world and everyone else is starving, but that’s bullshit. We only have the sixth-highest standard of living in the world. We’re not just below all those hippie European places like Belgium, Norway, and Sweden; we’re also below fucking Australia. According to the UN, it’s Canada that everyone is tripping over themselves trying to get to. The only ones pushing down our doors are Mexicans that are dying of starvation. I call bullshit on us being so rich.
I call bullshit on those things. Unless you’re a total slut in a bad neighborhood, you don’t really need condoms. Especially in high school, when everyone is too inexperienced to have STDs. Oh, and AIDS (or should I say “SHMAIDS”). I call a huge fucking gigantic bullshit on that stupid disease. Sorry, but middle-class kids who don’t have gay sex and never use needles (i.e. 80 percent of North America) DON’T GET AIDS. I know hundreds of people, even some who died of AIDS, but they were either gay or junkies. Do you know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who isn’t gay or a needle user but got AIDS anyway? No, you don’t.
And STDs? Big whup. The worst ones I’ve ever heard of anyone getting are herpes and venereal warts. Herpes tends to go away after the first two outbreaks, and venereal warts are taken care of with a few blasts of liquid nitrogen. I know that technically the virus is with you forever, but talk to someone who got herpes or VWs more than three years ago. They’ve probably forgotten about them. As for the clap and gonorrhea and the other bullshit STDs, they can be cured in an afternoon. Seriously. Doctors have us scared so shitless of sex that we won’t let any guy come within a light-year of our pussies. I’m sorry. I like guys and I like doing it with guys and the guys I do it with are really cool to me. As far as my boyfriend not wanting to “wrap it”? Come on in, Craig! The only guys I ever made wear a condom were the ones who were too stupid to pull out. I haven’t seen a condom since I called bullshit on those types of guys years ago.
As The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus said in the New York Times, April 10, 2002: “The overwhelming majority of the sexual abuse cases involve adult men having sex with teenage boys and young men, and by ordinary English usage we call that a homosexual relationship.”
Pedophile priests!? Um, I think the proper term is “horny gay dudes.” Why doesn’t anyone acknowledge the fact that 90 percent of the cases are homosexual priests hitting on post-pubescent boys, like they’re supposed to. Shit, I would if I were them. Fifteen-year-old boys are hot! But everyone was so happy to find a cool bad guy that they made it a problem with Catholicism and celibacy and the church and blah, blah, blah. Look, gays in the clergy seemed like a great idea. It wasn’t. Gays are too horny for that job. Next!
Transgendered, transvestite, drag queen, whatever. You’re a woman trapped in a man’s body and you need to reverse it? What? Let me tell you something: If you think being a woman is something you can buy off a shelf, you don’t think much of women. You think throwing on a pair of earrings and wearing some brown nylons makes you the same as me? Don’t talk to me like you know me. You don’t even know me. You think turning your penis inside out makes you a woman? Bullshit. It’s called “being able to reproduce,” you fucking lunatic. That’s being a woman. Listen closely, what you’re saying is EXACTLY the same as saying, “I am a bird trapped in a human’s body.” You can put all the feathers on your body that you want. You can even glue a beak to your face. But sorry, as they say in Britain, “you can’t become a bird.”
One hundred floors of hard-working people that are generating tons of revenue for the company working 50 hours a week? Sure they are. How can you possibly monitor the work of all those Dilberts sitting in those little cubicles with their little Garfield posters and Monday jokes? Especially when the company’s going through a boom and nobody cares. No wonder Enron got away with murder. You could probably surf internet porn and IM all your old high-school buddies for the rest of your life without being noticed. Big, huge companies are just a fancy word for welfare. Shit, I’m writing this thing at my job right now and I have a HUGE FUCKING PILE of purchase orders sitting next to me. I call bullshit on those, too.
THE WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE
Speaking of make-work projects, how long have they been working on that fucking bridge? Thirty years? I know it’s a little New York-specific for an international magazine, but c’mon. You probably have one in your town, too. You know how it goes: First they fix one side, then they fix the other. Back and forth and back and forth for decades. Shit, it only took seven years to build. Why didn’t you just demolish it and start again? It would have been cheaper and faster. Oh, I know why. It’s a make-work project. The city figures it’s cheaper to have them working there than to have them at home on welfare. That means they are on welfare. That means whenever the construction workers catcall me, I yell, “You are all on weeeeellllfaaaarre!”
“This is Carl Keegan reporting for CNN. Back to you, Barry.”
“Thanks Carl. Coming up next, Bill Donaldson is going to tell us about Mondays.”
Fuck reporters. All they do is read cue cards and we’re supposed to care about them? Their job is as hard as being a celebrity guest on Saturday Night Live (but without the opening monologue). Why do they make us listen to their names all the time? We don’t give a fuck who they are. “America’s most trusted newsman”? What the fuck? What’s he going to do, ignore the cue cards and start making shit up? This isn’t War of the fucking Worlds, you know. I call bullshit on those guys and I call bullshit on them saying their names all the time. I’d also like to lump photography, acting, modeling, singing, styling, interior decorating, directing, and fashion designing in there under “easy-as-shit jobs that get way too much credit.”
OK, you’ve had your taste—is it spoiled? No? Then fucking nod at the waiter and let’s get this shitty date over with. Jesus Christ. The wine is either spoiled or it’s not, and the odds of it being spoiled are incredibly low. Most restaurants I’ve worked at had about two or three spoiled bottles a year. It’s like milk, you fucking moron—either it’s gone bad or it hasn’t. Stop looking at the waiter like it’s OK but you’ve had better batches.
While we’re on the subject, I call bullshit on wine. At the Marseilles Wine Festival last year they did a blindfold test with France’s top wine-tasters. The majority refused the test (I wonder why), but the ones that were foolish enough to accept ended up looking like total assholes. Less than a third of them could tell the cheap shit from the good stuff. So stop looking at the wine menu. Like you’ve heard of any of those wines before in your life, you bullshitter.
HORROR MOVIES NOT BEING SCARY
I call the mother of all bullshits on people who say The Others and What Lies Beneath weren’t scary. What is your problem, you cynical piece of shit? Of course you weren’t literally scared of the monsters jumping out of the TV and biting you. It’s called suspension of disbelief, OK? Participate in life a little more, for chrissakes. You’re invited.
If you weren’t scared of The Omen, I call bullshit on you. You’re not even trying.
SUFFOCATING SOMEONE WITH A PILLOW
Have you ever tried this? Maybe if it’s your dying granddad and he’s on life-support and he’s basically in a coma. Maybe. But suffocating a healthy dude with a pillow? It is so easy to pull your chin into your neck and create a breathing space, there’s no way you could suffocate. If someone was trying to smother me with a pillow I’d bend my mouth down towards my neck and then wriggle around like I was choking. Then I’d go all limp and hold my breath like I was dead (sucker).
PEOPLE WHO CALL BULLSHIT ON EVERYTHING
I lost my temper when my Mom was watching Taxicab Confessions with me and said, “That’s not real.” Of course it’s fucking real, you big fat crazy British bitch! Truth is stranger than fiction. I am sick of everyone thinking everything is staged. America’s Funniest Home Videos is real. Sorry if your life is so boring that zany things seem impossible. The only reality things that are fake are a few Springer segments (it’s really obvious when they’re lying, by the way, so that doesn’t count) and dating shows. The reason I know the latter is fake is because they tried to have the same show in New York and Toronto, but because these cities aren’t filled with people trying to get on TV and get ANY kind of reel together to show producers, nobody applied.
OK? Everything else is real. And I will do a hell of a lot more than call bullshit on you if I hear you calling real things bullshit around my house.
Ahhh, that felt really good.