Mar 032017
 

by Kim Pederson…….

The day after President Trump’s first state of the union address that for some reason they don’t call the SUA for a first timer, it seems appropriate to bring up the concept of deepity (thanks, Randy!). Deepity is a word not coined but adopted by philosopher Daniel Dennett. According to Wikipedia,

Dennett used “deepity” for a statement that is apparently profound, but is actually trivial on one level and meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has two (or more) meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound and would be important if true, but is actually false or meaningless. Examples are “Que sera sera!” and “Beauty is only skin deep!”

If only it were true.*

Now that you know that, here, for your consideration, are a few phrases from President Trump’s address to Congress:

  • A new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.
  • We will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.
  • I am going to bring back millions of jobs.
  • The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding.
  • The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do.
  • Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed.

One author who picked up on Bennett’s deepity idea is Stephen Law, who coined a term of his own: “pseudo-profundity.” He defines it this way: “Pseudo-profundity is the art of sounding profound while talking tosh. Unlike the art of actually being profound, the art of sounding profound is not particularly difficult to master.” One of the numerous ways to achieve pseudo-profundity, Law points out, is to spout deepities.

I’m guessing that many people, I among them, would be pleased as punch should the president’s promises to make our lives better, safer, and more affordable become reality. If that happens, I will be first in line at the crow deli for a big sandwich. If not, I see two choices. The first is to buy a gazillion copies of Law’s book Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole and start passing them out to everyone. The second is to order several pairs of hip waders to prepare for what’s coming. The first choice would take buckets of cash and a long-term commitment. The second would arrive in two days with free shipping from Amazon. Seems an easy choice, don’t you think?

* Hitchcock movie that introduced “Que Sera Sera” sung by Doris Day. Copyrighted by Paramount Pictures, Inc.. Artists(s) not known. – http://www.impawards.com/1956/man_who_knew_too_much.html, Public Domain,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25318674

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Visit Kim Pederson’s blog RatBlurt: Mostly Random Short-Attention-Span Musings.

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Kim Pederson
Kim Pederson has been a freelance writer and editor since 1996. Prior to that, he was Senior Editor with Charles River Associates, an international economics consulting firm. Kim earned a B.A. in English (Honors) from the University of Montana and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop. His plays have won awards and been produced in Seattle and other locations; his screenplays have won awards and been optioned, and he has done work-for-hire scripts for film production companies. Kim lives in Key West with his wife Kalo and two Maine coon cats, VeuDeu and Pazuzu.
 March 3, 2017  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #208, Kim Pederson  Add comments

  One Response to “Deepity Doodoo”

  1. President Trump and his team are sacrificing their lives to address and attempt to solve long standing problems in America that previous Presidents allowed to fester because of their lack of guts and will.

    It is only natural that some are shocked that this administration is taking a head-on approach to eliminate the status quo of: Inner city problems, a failing education system, an out-of-control immigration crisis, a military that has a shortage of 1,500 fighter pilots and huge waste, etc., a health care system on the verge of collapse and on-and-on.

    It is incredibly perplexing why many do not see the big picture, but part of the bottom line is that if President Trump and his team are correct, then that means that those who oppose them are wrong. That can be too much to handle or accept.