Friday, December 21, 2007

'Bullshit' artist

The following was excerpted from an essay called 'Silly Bullshit' in 'Strong Enough? Thoughts from Thirty Years of Barbell Training,' by Mark Rippetoe:

What is it that drives the dissemination of silly bullshit? The drive comes from the commercial interest (obviously) and ego (amazing!). Donna Smith could use the money; so can I, so I appreciate the motivation. The magazine people want you to keep buying them, and to buy from their advertisers, and if they make sure to hire writers that have ‘CSCS’ beside their names, they have covered their asses. The fine folks who bring you HipHop Abs, the Ab Roller, and Cortislim are counting on the fact that you will probably fail to do your homework. On the other hand, Dr. Mirkin probably isn’t in a jam for cash, so he just likes the idea of being a Fitness Expert in addition to a doctor (and, for all I know, maybe a very good one in his actual specialty). The orthopod who tells you that full squats are bad for the knees and they’ll stunt your growth, and that you need to just do lighter weights and use higher reps because “they do the same thing,” doesn’t expect you to pay him for this advice; he’s throwing it in for free. He knows he’s qualified because after all he is a doctor. The exercise science people have qualified themselves. And the media don’t care who’s qualified; they just need to fill 45 seconds.

The problem is simple. It is incumbent on you, yes You, to educate yourself to a sufficient extent that you are in a position to evaluate information issued from a position of authority. You are supposed to be able to recognize silly bullshit when you hear it. And I’m sorry if it’s hard to have to think all the time but the consequences of placing your responsibility to do so in the hands of others can result in a closet full of Thigh Masters, which will make it necessary to find somewhere else to hang your shirts – like on your Bowflex.