A Tsunami of B.S.

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Robert Ringer


Are you ever irritated by what people say and do? By things you see and hear on television? By unpleasant situations you have to put up with on a daily basis? Guess what? You have lots of company. In fact, a number of books have been written on the subject.

Two of my favorite examples of B.S. are when Bill Clinton looked into the camera and spewed out those now classic zingers, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” and “That depends upon what the meaning of is is.”

But let’s be fair and balanced here. Remember Richard Nixon looking into the camera and saying, “I’m no crook”? What a refreshing revelation to hear from the president of the United States. I’ve never been able to figure out why he chose to use the very word that everyone was already thinking.

He should have put it in a more positive light and said something like, “I’m an honorable man.” Which still would have been B.S., but if you’re going to B.S., why not do it in a positive way?

But B.S. is certainly not restricted to politicians. In fact, most of what you see on TV is B.S. Take Oprah, for example — please, take her! To say anything negative about Oprah is considered heresy … even unpatriotic. Oprah gives new meaning to the term sacred cow.

How about Kim Kardashian, who has become rich and famous for no discernable reason? Or O. J. Simpson’s phony acquittal back in 1995? Or the droning, politically laced acceptance speeches at the Oscars? Or the “Hands up, don’t shoot” tall tales that are fed to us month after month?

But it’s the B.S. that we see and hear in our own little worlds that is the most annoying and most difficult to ignore. For example, I’ve personally had dealings with three people over the years who used the title “Dr.” in front of their names, yet none of them ever graduated from college. In fact, two of them never even attended college at all!

One died at the age of eighty-five, before the general public discovered that the doctorate he had carried through life was nothing more than B.S. Another was found out only as a result of his multimillion-dollar company’s bankruptcy. Amazingly, he was never even indicted, let alone convicted.

The third “Dr.,” however, wins the prize. After nearly forty years, not only is he still “practicing,” he is esteemed as a world-renowned psychologist. In fact, as incredible as it may sound, from time to time he still appears on radio and television shows to offer his “expert” opinion on psychological matters.

The reason I know for a fact that this charlatan has never received a degree in psychology is because many years ago I had a business reason for having him thoroughly checked out. A short summary of the report that came back was that his doctorate degree, his reputation for being on the cutting edge of great breakthroughs in the field of psychology, and his fame were all pure, unadulterated B.S.

And what about the mundane, day-in-day-out B.S. that we all have to put up with — airport security personnel who grope us … six kids behind an ice cream counter, gabbing with each other while ignoring a line of twenty-five customers who are growing increasingly irate … the voice mail runaround that large companies put you through while telling you that “your call is very important to us.”

Then there’s the business world. I hear enough B.S. from people I come in contact with every week to last a lifetime. Most of the people you deal with promise short and deliver long. They overstate their figures. They spin the facts.

But perhaps the biggest B.S. of all is the guy who finally gets around to calling you back three weeks (or months!) after you’ve left two messages for him, and opens by saying, “I apologize for not returning your call sooner, but I’ve been up to my ears in work.”

He’s so mesmerized by his own B.S. that he doesn’t realize that his words are an insult to you. Why? Because they imply that he doesn’t believe that you’re just as busy as he is, and that you therefore have nothing better to do than lounge around and wait for his call.

So, the question is, what can you do to protect yourself from drowning in the tsunami of B.S. that relentlessly comes at you each day?

First and foremost is to make a sincere and ongoing effort to curb your own B.S. Knowingly or unknowingly, we’re all guilty of slinging a bit of B.S. at times, but that doesn’t mean we have to make a religion out of it.

Second, always do your best to steer clear of those who demonstrate they have mastered the art of B.S. And to accomplish that, you have to pay more attention to what people do and less attention to what they say.

Sycophants, in particular, are people who excel at B.S. Simple observation makes it fairly easy to discover that there is often a wide disparity between a sycophant’s flowery words and his anemic follow-through.

Above all, learn to translate. In Hollywood, for example, people love to say things like, “Let’s do lunch.” Which usually means, “Don’t call me; I’ll call you.”

Or the seller who tells a real estate broker, “Trust me. I’ll take care of you.”

Or the attorney who assures you, “I’m not one of those deal-killing attorneys, so you can relax.” To borrow from Mario Puzo, this is your cue to go in with a gun and a mask to make certain that you get what you’re owed.

Finally, of course, there’s the B.S. line that has become part of the lexicon of the comedic world: “Your check is in the mail.” All too often this means, “I’m going to mail your check today.” Worse, it may just be the person’s way of saying, “Get lost.”

Above all, if you really want to protect yourself from the ravaging effects of the B.S. tsunami that perpetually threatens to drown you, depend on no one — and on no one particular deal. The best way to accomplish this is to strive to become as independent as possible.

Recognize that the best answer to your problems is in the mirror. Which means taking matters into your own hands and not expecting anything of anyone. And the only way that can happen is if you refuse to allow the guy in the mirror to B.S. you.

One last word of caution: As you walk away from your mirror, be very careful not to accidentally step in anything.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

48 responses to “A Tsunami of B.S.”

  1. Laura Ryan says:

    Think I'll look in the mirror this morning. Thanks!

  2. greggsan says:

    Loved your article, Robert… (if you don't mind a little flattering B.S.) :-)

    One of my best B.S. killers is to remember a simple fact that triples my efficiency with e-mail: Your In-Box mostly contains somebody else's agenda. 😉 Probably, it's also somebody else's B.S., too.

    Happy 4th!

    • Jim Hallett says:

      How true! I get so annoyed by the flood of emails every day, most of which I have little to NO interest in reading, and NO ONE on my list is someone I want to hear from EVERY single day!!

    • Rock Roach says:

      Hopefully we will here from Robert before the 4th.Something like the bs polling that has been going onfrom companies like Reuters that is using like 20 percent more democrats in their polls. Lol

  3. Scott theczech says:

    It (BS that is..) is an infectious thing. Your article is inoculation though and reminds me to be on high alert for this malady. Thank you Robert!

  4. Laurene says:

    I'm laughing at the examples which are all too true. Plus I just watched the president on TV acting like a 3 year old having a temper tantrum. BS with a side order of BS.

  5. Leedees111@hotmail.com Lee says:

    Sacred Cow. Haha! That's so funny and contains a great depth of truth. Good on you RJR.

  6. Patrick says:

    The moment I suspect getting a BS, that person had better explain himself. Otherwise he's going to get verbal diarrhoea from me which also meant he loose my business and friendship. No point keeping such people.

  7. Richard Lee Van DV says:

    Back in 1968 I was invited by one Department Head of English to come study for a Ph.D. When I got there, another pack had taken over, and they did not like "my kind", an experienced teacher, a fairly well publisd poet, and not the subservient type. I've just finished writing a novel about "how that kind is". Lots of BS! They did throw me the M.A. in Poetry Writing, but, their precious Ph.D., I was told, was only for "solid scholars", "literary researchers", etc, and never ever for a mere "creative writer". The literature they considered valid ended during 18th and 19th Centuries. And, at that time, as they well knew, the better positions went to only those holding, or to get soon, the Ph.D. And they refused to transfer considerable work from other universities I had attended while I was trying to work my way up. So I ended up with a mere M.A. and enough course work and credits for 2 1/2 Ph.D.s .When one or more Profs in a Dept make certain someone, no matter what he/she does, gets screwed, seems to me they should also be subject to Court Action, but I've never heard ot that. From my experience, certain Gin-Heads will stoop pretty low to disallow even highly qualified Grad students to get the Big Degree. I wasn't the only one. But I toughed it out for two years. Several others when they got the message left the Program early. But I fought them. And lost. Interesting experience, though. When years later I got a special letter from a Chairman of a top small college that I was his pick for a permanent poat as writer and poet in residence, he also told me that they had moved to a "Hiring Committee", and they decided to hire a "minority member" that included anything other than a white male. After four, 4! temporary jobs in the field working my way up, I said, That's It! I'm finished! 1975. Best thing I ever did! It took two years to adjust and fit myself for what came after, but after I did, I was A FREE MAN and made more money and did more good than I ever had as a controled professor. So, after wading through all the B.S. came my "blessing in disguise". I assume many of your readers will be able to relate.

  8. larajf says:

    There is so much manure being spread around and people are treating it like gospel. We need to raise our children with better BS detectors. My daughter doesn't trust anything, thankfully :-)

    • Jim Hallett says:

      Good for her, and this is especially true with regard to criminal politicians and lying presstitutes in the lamestream media, who should NEVER be trusted!!!!!!

  9. Harold says:

    This is the first time that I have read an article in its entirety in a long time. I know…its not something that I'm proud of, but after a few lines, the B.S. gets too deep. But you Robert, your wordflow is so smooth and flawless that it carried me from beginning, middle, and end before I realized that I had read a very good article. Thanks Robert.

  10. Linda says:

    I can recognize the bs, what I have problems dealing with is the growing sense of depression from watching the bs be spread and absorbed and spread further.

  11. vietnamvet1971 says:

    I hate BS & BS people for a Prime Example look in Washington, DC at ALL the BS flowing around there.

    • Marte says:

      It seems to me that DC is nothing BUT BS. The only truth we've heard from BO is "My Muslim faith," and our media and leftists refused to believe it!

  12. Paul says:

    "Above all, if you really want to protect yourself from the ravaging effects of the B.S. tsunami that perpetually threatens to drown you, depend on no one — and on no one particular deal. The best way to accomplish this is to strive to become as independent as possible." Whew, I wrote this on my shirt cuff, right next to your "Theory of Reality".
    Thanks Robert

    • Gary Waltrip says:

      I second that! An excellent quote that neatly summarizes the Ringer Philosophy.

  13. Marte says:

    Slinging BS – a polite way of saying "Lying."

    Yes, it's all around us – which is one reason I delete much of my email and seldom look at the TV.

  14. J Man Jack says:

    Awesome! Best article I've read in a while, thanks!

  15. Mark Preston says:

    Mr. R. I do not like either or any Clinton. However, I wish to point out that, at least in California, the (idiot) law states that words in the present tense imply the future tense. According to the Cal. Code of Civil Procedure (Preliminary) "14. Words used in this code in the present tense include the future
    as well as the present; . . . " It is likely that Arkansas has similar statutory language and Clinton, the first pothead, pot-house President relied on that for his infamous response "definition of is is." At least the Bar yanked his law license.

  16. Jim D says:

    <<“I apologize for not returning your call sooner, but I’ve been up to my ears in work.”>>

    … by which they mean that they are much more important / higher priority than you…

  17. Michael Ponzani says:

    "Dr." Phil is it.?

    • Donna Ping says:

      Funny,that's exactly what I was wondering too.

    • Jean says:

      Actually I think it was a "Dr" who is well-known (and whose books and products were given ample exposure on PBS) – and who sued his own company in 2010 because he almost died taking one of the supplements he promotes.

  18. Paul Herring says:

    While it's true that much lying and exaggeration has become mainstream there are still some genuine people out there. Of that I'm convinced.

    If we were to think everyone is unreal, has an agenda, or is on the make, our relationships with others would break down. What an unhappy world that would leave us in.

    Certainly we need to be cautious but surely not sceptical or cynical of everything or everyone.

  19. Bert says:

    It appears to me that everyone here is on the right. No problem. I am on the left. However, a good article is a good article. Period!

    Thanks Robert, I really enjoyed reading your post.

  20. JOSEPH says:

    For the most part, I agree with your article, but there are times when we have to depend on people and we do the best to scrutinize them but sometimes we end up dealing with someone who happens to be good bull sh____. What do we there?

    But, I do know what you mean. I recently had sent en a-mil to someone I am doing business with in another country and and it was very important and I didn't get a response for 18 consecutive days, and finally I had to write to them again. That is unreal. So, you know we do our best, but unfortunately there is going to be some BS in our life whether we like it or not. I think we can only keep it as small as possible by making smart choices in who we deal with.

    You failed to mention people we encounter in public, total strangers that are just plain rude. I recently had someone come up to me out of nowhere in a mall and say to me, "Why are you staring at my table? My girlfriend is getting creeped out." I never seen this person in my life, I never saw what table this person was sitting at, I never saw their girlfriend, I do not know who in the hell this person was, and I certainly was not staring at anyone, and I thought what a total idiotic person to walk up to a total stranger to say something like that which had no basis in reality, and I looked at them like they were from outer space. It was plain rude and it had to be the most stupid thing I had ever seen. This person was just a total moron. So far in my adult life, that had be the dumbest thing I have ever seen. So, strangers in public can cause us a bunch of BS too. I simply looked at the man like he was out of his mind and simply walked away.

  21. Sylvia Bailey says:

    My best friend died this month. His family did'nt even recognize me as a person! Heartbreaking text messages of putting the blame on me…BS real bad and hurtful…I was the one to call to check on his welfare…Butting in others business when your not there to know the story…I am truthfully hurt to the core.

    • Richard Lee Van DV says:

      We cannot control the reactions/responses of other people. I regard that as a (sometimes painful) fact. Painful as it is, we have to let it go. Trying to argue for your understanding ot the situation may only be more frustrating.

  22. TNRay says:

    Excellent article, and well summarized. Depend on yourself. If you want promotion in business. If you want protection from violent criminals, or, from the everyday scams of unscrupulous con artists. If you want a real education. Whatever. Government isn't going to be there when you need them. It's up to you to promote yourself, protect yourself and defend your sanity against government's endless supply of BS. I realize Robert didn't specify government BS as the sole source of irritation, but, I find that in the day to day interaction with people in general that most interactions are value for value and respectful of one another's rights. Not so with governing authorities in general.

  23. Johnny Twosheds says:

    Rather than a Tsunami of BS, I like to think of it as a very deep, very thick mudslide – the consistency is much the same. Most people can no longer distinguish BS from reality anymore…either that, or they've really begun to enjoy the flavor! All we can do is walk around on stilts and try to avoid people who willingly or unknowingly coat themselves in the stuff. Its as if the American symbol needs to be changes from the Bald Eagle to a stool sample!

  24. david says:

    That was a load of BS. What a waste of time reading that!

  25. Reality Seeker says:

    Speaking of bullshit: imagine if Obama ( aka the Duplicitous Bullshitter) announced today that he's stepping down and resigning the presidency. Well, that is what David Cameron ( Obama's equal) just did. So, sometimes the bullshitters get shit on by the people. That's what happen last night when the British people voted to "Leave" the EU. "See EU Later".

    So, the people gave the middle finger to the collectivist, EU Bullshitters. Good? Right? Well it all depends on how you look at it, because the elites are going to take a shit right back on the people. In fact, the bullshit is already hitting the fan. I've been warning about this for months ever since people of whom I trust gave me a heads up on the "Leave" side would win. Moreover, the Google search algorithms ( aka electronic Stasi algos) predicted a landslide for the Brexit.

    When the overwhelming majority of the people vote for something, it's almost impossible to commit the massive voting fraud necessary to thwart the majority. That's what just happened in Britain, and not all of the Crown's bullshit and all the crowns men, could keep the the people from kicking Humpty Dumpty off from his perch.

    Humpty Dumpty ( aka the EU) is on his way down. This is going to be painful and historic event. And if the EU elites decide to punish their subjects ( aka the Serfs) then this situation could turn into economic ( and perhaps literal) bloodbath.

    Let's all keep our fingers crossed and hope the bullshit doesn't hit the American fan too hard. On the other hand, it sure would be nice to see Obama get covered in shit.

  26. Jay says:

    What the Bullshitters fail to understand is that it is hard to fool another Bullshitter and those who deal in reality.
    Back in the day when cell phone charges were 45 cents a minute I wrote a memo to my employees that to save money on cell phone charges, please pick your BS excuses from the provided list of common excuses numbered from 1-25 when phoning them in. I had one employee who asked for a day off in January to celebrate his mother's birthday. In July the same employee asked for the day off to celebrate the same mother's birthday. Hence, I developed the numbered list. They did get a kick out of it. And realized that I saw through the BS…

  27. Robby Bonfire says:

    To litmus test who the congenital liars are, apply this criteria…. Everyone in the world wants more: 1. Money; 2. Power; 3. Sex; 4. Sumptuous food and drink; 5. Personal freedom; 6. An across the board tax cut; 7. More pay for less work, shorter hours and easier working conditions; 8. To live in an exclusive neighborhood. 9. To be famous for something through acting, athletic prowess, political hegemony, inventing the tech version of the wheel, etc; 10. To look handsome or beautiful; 11. To enjoy perpetual youth; 12. To feel safe and secure from physical threat; 13. To control and dominate other people, etc.

    Now then, ~whenever~ someone on TV, or speaking directly to you makes a comment which contradicts any of the above basic values, that person is lying through his false teeth.

    The best way to elicit the truth from someone is to make that person mad at you. If the person is conciliatory, you have a genuine friend. If the person tries to hurt you physically or financially, or via slander and defamation, well, you don't deal with or socialize with people like that, under any circumstances.

  28. Raoul in Colorado says:

    When the whole paradigm of our culture is BS ie. political correctness, globalism, diversity etc., the result is pervasive living environment of BS….its the air we breath, it becomes the bedrock of our psyche…..a sane person’s strategy must be to identify and embrace exceptions to BS….spending time identifying BS is like counting grains of sand on the beach…

    • Les says:

      Agreed. The great philosopher Karl Popper, in his 1945 book The Open Society and Its Enemies, wrote about the extreme dangers of "social engineering," as proposed by Plato's utopian political ideas. The rise and fall of communism – the ultimate social engineering concept – has shown how humans will not forever suffer such irrational and counter-intuitive government interference. One can only wonder how history will regard the current BS that governments are engineering on societies worldwide.

  29. Phil says:

    Great point. We are really reaching a point where the B.S. saturation index nears 100%.

  30. Roberto Ribb says:

    Good article piece. I certainly love this site . Keep writing!

  31. ◄Dave► says:

    Jim, Harry Browne's masterpiece is my all-time favorite book. I have reread it at least once a year since 1979, just to keep me grounded and free. ◄Dave►

  32. Jim Hallett says:

    Glad to hear there is another fan of such a fine book. I got to meet him once at a Howard Ruff Conference, which was a real pleasure. He lived in Vancouver, BC then (had been in LA), so did not frequent that many investor conferences. He and Murray Rothbard are my Go To reading retreats for grounded thinking and to escape the b.s. (also the reason why I never miss any of RR's essays either).

  33. ◄Dave► says:

    I got to meet him at a small Libertarian Party political event in '96, when he was running for President. While it was a true pleasure, I still busted his balls over the cognitive dissonance I was experiencing, regarding someone of his principles actually running for office. :)

    I certainly concur with including Ringer in the same class with Browne and Rothbard. Speaking of essays, have you ever read Browne's provocative 4-part 9/11 essay? Reading it now, with 15 years of hindsight, is remarkably sobering. While like most, I too was thirsting for revenge at the time, Browne's warning regarding Liberty lost, without accomplishing anything significantly constructive, was spot on prescient. ◄Dave►

  34. Robby Bonfire says:

    I saw Harry Browne often, never met him, but we both often attended films open to the public at Melnitz Theater on the UCLA campus. Developing an appreciation for the classics, including film arts, is a great way for authors to expand their exposure to and knowledge base of the social and cultural values of olden times.

  35. Jim Hallett says:

    Thanks for the link, Dave, as I have NOT read it, but am sure it be a wise take, especially with the advantage of 15 years of hindsight and all the lost freedoms like the Patriot Act, TSA, and other goon squads as part of the govt. overreach. And, you are right, it was a bit hypocritical for Browne to run for office, even if it was with a Libertarian agenda. I loved his plan to sell off ALL federal lands & buildings, and eliminate (now, it would be just reduce) the debt with the proceeds.